Pragmatism and Social Theory

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University of Chicago Press, Mar 15, 1993 - Philosophy - 272 pages
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Rising concerns among scholars about the intellectual and cultural foundations of democracy have led to a revival of interest in the American philosophical tradition of pragmatism. In this book, Hans Joas shows how pragmatism can link divergent intellectual efforts to understand the social contexts of human knowledge, individual freedom, and democratic culture.

Along with pragmatism's impact on American sociology and social research from 1895 to the 1940s, Joas traces its reception by French and German traditions during this century. He explores the influences of pragmatism—often misunderstood—on Emile Durkheim's sociology of knowledge, and on German thought, with particularly enlightening references to its appropriation by Nazism and its rejection by neo-Marxism. He also explores new currents of social theory in the work of Habermas, Castoriadis, Giddens, and Alexander, fashioning a bridge between Continental thought, American philosophy, and contemporary sociology; he shows how the misapprehension and neglect of pragmatism has led to systematic deficiencies in contemporary social theory.

From this skillful historical and theoretical analysis, Joas creates a powerful case for the enduring legacy of Peirce, James, Dewey, and Mead for social theorists today.
 

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Contents

Steps toward a Pragmatist Theory of Action
1
Pragmatism in American Sociology
14
PRAGMATISM AND CLASSICAL EUROPEAN SOCIAL THEORY
53
Durkheim and Pragmatism The Psychology of Consciousness and the Social Constitution of Categories
55
An Underestimated Alternative America and the Limits of Critical Theory
79
American Pragmatism and German Thought A History of Misunderstandings
94
PRAGMATISM AND CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL THEORY
123
The Unhappy Marriage of Hermeneutics and Functionalism Jurgen Habermass Theory of Communicative Action
125
Institutionalization as a Creative Process The Sociological Importance of Cornelius Castoriadiss Political Philosophy
154
A Sociological Transformation of the Philosophy of Praxis Anthony Giddenss Theory of Structuration
172
The Antinomies of Neofunctionalism A Critical Essay on Jeffrey Alexander
188
Role Theories and Socialization Research
214
The Creativity of Action and the Intersubjectivity of ReasonMeads Pragmatism and Social Theory
238
Index
263
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About the author (1993)

Hans Joas is professor of sociology at the Free University of Berlin.


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