• book

From the Publisher

What is a person? This fundamental question is a perennial concern of philosophers and theologians. But, Christian Smith here argues, it also lies at the center of the social scientist’s quest to interpret and explain social life. In this ambitious book, Smith presents a new model for social theory that does justice to the best of our humanistic visions of people, life, and society.

Finding much current thinking on personhood to be confusing or misleading, Smith finds inspiration in critical realism and personalism. Drawing on these ideas, he constructs a theory of personhood that forges a middle path between the extremes of positivist science and relativism. Smith then builds on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens, and William Sewell to demonstrate the importance of personhood to our understanding of social structures. From there he broadens his scope to consider how we can know what is good in personal and social life and what sociology can tell us about human rights and dignity.

Innovative, critical, and constructive, What Is a Person? offers an inspiring vision of a social science committed to pursuing causal explanations, interpretive understanding, and general knowledge in the service of truth and the moral good.

Published: University of Chicago Press an imprint of UChicagoPress on
ISBN: 9780226765938
List price: $33.00
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for What Is a Person? by Christian Smith
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.

Related Articles

The Atlantic
1 min read
Religion & Spirituality

A Graphic Novel About 17th-Century Philosophy

Dark spots across the sun, men burned at the stake, an all-powerful church that brooks no idea outside its dogma—there is no subject so imbued with drama, intrigue, and fast-paced action as 17th-century Western philosophy. And thus no medium does it justice like the graphic novel. No, really. Heretics!, a graphic novel by Steven and Ben Nadler, introduces readers to what is arguably the most interesting, important, and consequential period in the history of Western philosophy. While respecting recent scholarship on 17th-century thought, the Nadlers sought to make these stories and ideas as ac
Futurity
3 min read
Science

Liberals And Conservatives Read Different Science Books

Our preferences for liberal or conservative political books also attract us to different types of science books, according to a new study. The result supports observations that the divisiveness of politics in the United States has spread to scientific communication as well. While readers on the political left and right exhibited shared level of interest in science books, an analysis led by the University of Chicago’s Knowledge Lab and the Social Dynamics Lab at Cornell University determined that these groups are largely drawn to different subjects. Liberals prefer basic sciences, such as physi
Nautilus
1 min read
Science

Graphing Human Uniqueness

Throughout this issue, we’ve explored the question of whether humans are unique, and if so, in what ways. In one interactive piece, “The Vocabulary of Our Uniqueness,” we asked readers which words best described what makes us special. And here are the results. Readers cast 1,234 votes for 56 different terms, which we have grouped together thematically (and subjectively). This is obviously not a rigorously precise survey, but it’s enough to give a general snapshot of how people think of the question. The number one choice turned out to be “science,” which also included the terms “math” and “ast