A Middle Way of Emptying Dualism in Social Theory

  • Chou Ping


A variety of theories in social science, as profound as they may seem, cannot break away from “either-or” dualism. Many of them assume dualistic substantialisms in terms of dichotomies such as methodological individualism versus methodological collectivism; positivistic sociology versus intepretivist sociology; agency versus structure. There is another kind of dualistic dichotomy, that is, universalism versus relativism, or nihilism. Many sociological theories are ensnared in one of these views and cling to it as the only right one. This chapter applies a Buddhist middle-way perspective to the critique of dualism, substantialism, and nihilism in social theory by articulating its core concepts of emptiness, dependent co-arising, and nominal designation. It also looks at three related ways of thinking, non-duality, relationality, and processuality, and thereby their implications for social theory.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chou Ping
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanhua Buddhist UniversityChiayi CountyTaiwan

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