Morphogenesis and Human Flourishing

Part of the series Social Morphogenesis pp 29-43


Human Flourishing and Human Morphogenesis: A Critical Realist Interpretation and Critique

  • Philip GorskiAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, Yale University Email author 

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Critical Realists have long argued that social science has an axiological concern with “human flourishing.” But they have rarely spelt out what they mean by this term. It is urgent that they do so, in order to respond effectively to the post-humanist movement’s appropriation of the flourishing concept. This article sketches a theory of human flourishing that is: (1) rooted in the Aristotelian tradition that underlies most versions of CR; (2) compatible with central tenets of CR such as “emergence”, “ontological stratification”, “actualism” and “transcendence”; and (3) allows for a critical assessment of the posthumanist vision. The conclusion reflects on the implications of human morphogenesis for social morphogenesis and social theory.


Aristotelianism Eudaimonia Posthumanism Reflexive modernity Metaethics