Advertisement

Social Pathologies: Tradition and Conceptualization

  • Gustavo Pereira
Chapter
Part of the Philosophy and Politics - Critical Explorations book series (PPCE, volume 9)

Abstract

This chapter summarises the tradition of the concept of social pathologies, by taking the concept of alienation as the first antecedent, differentiated between the tradition of social alienation (Marx, Hegel, Rousseau) and of personal alienation (Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger). These conceptualisations partially coincide with what is understood as social pathologies especially in Weber’s formulations, the first generation of the Critical Theory in the cases of Adorno and Horkheimer, and the perspectives of Lukács, Habermas and Honneth. After evaluating the different ways of understanding this type of phenomena, I propose a sufficiently comprehensive conceptualization so as to include the contributions of tradition and to integrate an innovative explanation in terms of microfoundations (Elster). Social pathologies are thus conceptualized as: anonymous social processes that impose a kind of practical rationality, especially that of means to ends, on a practical context regulated by another type of practical rationality. This is due to the undermining of the individuals’ practical imagination, which leads to (a) the non-fully conscious modification of the beliefs and preferences that guide their action, which in turn allows for (b) the institutionalization of a semi-conscious regulated practice that takes over the action of the transformed context, and generates, in turn, (c) a logic masking these social processes.

Keywords

Alienation Microfoundations Anonymity Masking processes 

References

  1. Barber, Benjamin. 2007. Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  2. Cooke, Maeve. 1997. Language and Reason: A Study of Habermas’s Pragmatics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Dewey, John. 2015. Lectures in social and political philosophy. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 7 (2): 7–44.Google Scholar
  4. Elster, Jon. 1983. Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality. Paris/Cambridge: Maison des Sciences de l’Homme/Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. ———. 1985. Making Sense of Marx. Paris/Cambridge: Maison des Scienes del Homme/Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 2007. Explaining Social Behavior: More Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Forst, Rainer. 2002. Contexts of Justice: Political Philosophy Beyond Liberalism and Communitarianism. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2012. The Right to Justification: Elements of a Constructivist Theory of Justice. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Freyenhagen, Fabian. 2013. Adorno’s Practical Philosophy: Living Less Wrongly. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 2015. Honneth on Social Pathologies: A Critique. Critical Horizons 16 (2): 131–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Habermas, Jürgen. 1987. The Theory of Communicative Action. Vol. 2. Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason. Trans. Thomas McCarthy. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  12. ———. 1993. On the Pragmatic, the Ethical, and the Moral Employments of Practical Reason. In Justification and Application: Remarks on Discourse Ethics. Trans. Ciaran P. Cronin, 1–18. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hegel, Georg W.F. 2008. Outlines of the Philosophy of Right. Trans. Thomas M. Knox. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Honneth, Axel. 1991. Habermas’ Theory of Society: A Transformation of the Dialectic of Enlightenment in Light of the Theory of Communication. In The Critique of Power, 278–303. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2007. The Social Dynamics of Disrespect: On the Location of Critical Theory Today. In Disrespect: The Normative Foundations of Critical Theory. Trans. John Farrel, 63–79. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2014. Freedom’s Right: The Social Foundations of Democratic Life. Trans. Joseph Ganahl. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Horkheimer, Max. 2002. Traditional and Critical Theory. In Critical Theory: Selected Essays, 188–243. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2012. Critic of Instrumental Reason. Trans. Matthew J. O’Connell. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  19. Horkheimer, Max, and Theodor W. Adorno. 2002. Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Jaeggi, Rahel. 2009. Rethinking Ideology. In New Waves in Political Philosophy, ed. Boudewijn De Bruin and Christopher Zurn, 63–86. Houdmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. ———. 2014. Alienation. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kahneman, Daniel. 2011. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  23. Kahneman, Daniel, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky, eds. 1982. Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristic and Biases. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Kierkegaard, Soren. 1941. Concluding Unscientific Postscript. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Machiavelli, Niccolò. 1996. Discourses on Livy. Trans. Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. Marx, Karl. 1975. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. In Marx/Engels Collected Works, Volume 3 Marx and Engels 1843–1844, 229–349. London: Lawrence & Wishart.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 1976. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. 1. Trans. Ben Fowkes. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  28. Pereira, Gustavo. 2013. Elements of a Critical Theory of Justice. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rousseau, Jean Jacques. 1997. Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men. In The Discourses and Other political Writings. Trans. Victor Gourevich, 111–246. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Särkellä, Arvi. 2017. Degeneration of Associated Life: Dewey’s Naturalism About Social Criticism. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 53 (1): 107–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schmitt, Richard. 2003. Alienation and Freedom. Cambridge, MA: Westview.Google Scholar
  32. Smith, Adam. 1977. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Rep. Edwin Cannan’s 1904 edition. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Stanovich, Keith E. 2004. The Robot’s Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Age of Darwin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. ———. 2011. Rationality and the Reflective Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Stanovich, Keith E., and Richard F. West. 1999. Discrepancies Between Normative and Descriptive Models of Decision Making and the Understanding/Acceptance Principle. Cognitive Psychology 38 (3): 349–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Taylor, Charles. 2004. Modern Social Imaginaries. London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Veraza, Jorge. 2007. Leer El capital hoy. Pasajes selectos y problemas decisivos. México: Itaca.Google Scholar
  38. ———. 2008. Subsunción real del consumo al capital. Dominación fisiológica y psicológica en la sociedad contemporánea. México: Itaca.Google Scholar
  39. Weber, Max. 1978. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  40. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 2009. Philosophical Investigations. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  41. Zurn, Christopher F. 2011. Social Pathologies as Second Order Disorders. In Axel Honneth: Critical Essays. With a Reply by Axel Honneth, ed. Danielle Petherbridge, 345–370. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gustavo Pereira
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of HumanitiesUniversidad de la RepúblicaMontevideoUruguay

Personalised recommendations