Posts Tagged ‘Social’

Social norms and the inevitable drive towards stabilization

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Even though shared intentionality does not presuppose any kind of social norms, there is always and inevitably a drive towards normative stabilization involved in any kind of social activity. Let us consider an example. Imagine you and me regularly meeting for a walk on Sunday afternoons. At first, we just happened to run into each other, we discovered that we had individually together planned to walk the same way, and so it came that we took our walk .
Without there being any kind of agreement between us, the same happened again on the following Sunday. We met at the same time at the same place. Nevertheless, there was still no social normativity involved in our shared intentional activity at that point. No one felt obliged to come again on the next Sunday, or on any of the following Sundays, and no one felt entitled to an explanation from the part of the other if the other did not show up. There was no social normativity involved in our shared intentional activity whatsoever.
Yet on the third or fourth Sunday at the latest depending on circumstances such as the cultural environment and the personality of the participants the situation will have started to change. Under normal circumstances, I will feel obliged to tell you other if I know that I cannot do my part to our shared Sunday afternoon walk, and I will feel entitled to an explanation if all of a sudden, you do not show up at the usual place and time.
Now the shared intentional activity socially normative practice.

The clou of this whole story is the following: Social normativity arises out of shared intentionality. Social normativity does not originally come from some reciprocal ascription of obligations and entitlements, but simply from shared intentionality.

From some old notes
(no original source has been recorded)

Adorno and Sartre on subjectivity and social history

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Contrary to Sartre, Adorno refuses to consider the subject in abstraction from its concrete sociohistorical situation, for him consciousness and social history are irreducible elements of subjectivity.

Sartre claims:
‘I believe that a man can always make something out of what is made of him. This is the limit I would today accord to freedom: the small movement which makes of a totally conditioned social being someone who doesn’t render back completely what his conditioning has given him.’

Adorno claims:
‘The antinomy between the determination of the individual and the social responsibility that contradicts this determination is not due to a misuse of concepts. It is a reality, the moral indication that the universal and particular are unreconciled….there is no available model of freedom saved one: That consciousness , as it intervenes in the social constitution, will through that constitution intervene in the complexion of the individual’.

D. Sherman – Sartre and Adorno. The Dialectics of Subjectivity (2007) pp. 8,9.

Sartre on Hegel and Social Consciousness

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

There is in Hegel a fundamental form of optimism. It may be called an ontological optimism. For Hegel indeed truth is truth of the Whole. And he places himself at the vantage point of truth – i.e. of the Whole – to consider the problem of the Other….individual consciousnesses are moments in the whole, moments which by themselves are unselbständig (dependent), and the whole is a mediator between consciousnesses. Hence is derived an ontological optimism parallel to the epistemological optimism: plurality can and must be surpassed towards the totality (BN p.243).

[But] no logical or epistemological optimism can cover the scandal of the plurality of consciousnesses. If Hegel believed that it could, this is because he never grasped the nature of that particular dimension of being which is self-consciousness….so long as consciousnesses exist, the separation and conflict of consciousnesses will remain;…(BN p.244)

István Mészáros, The Work of Sratre – Search For Freedom and The Challenge of History (1979)