The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique
Titus Stahl
stahl@em.uni-frankfurt.de

Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universit¨t Frankfurt a. M., Germany a

Colloquium Philosophy and the Social Sciences Prague, May 14-18, 2008

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

Types of social criticism

Types of social criticism 1 Internal criticism: explicitly acknowledged norms 2 External criticism 3 Immanent criticism: norms, not explicitly acknowledged, but implicit in practice But what does it exactly mean that norms are implicit in social practice?

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

Possible candidates for grounding implicit norms

Unsuccessful candidates for sources of implicit normativity Explicit beliefs Regularities of behavior Dispositions Conclusion: No facts about individuals are sufficient to ground implicit normativity. Better idea: Norms are implicit in social interactions ⇒ Social pragmatism

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

Social pragmatism I

“The basic idea of social pragmatism is to look for the existence of normativity not in the raw behavior of individuals, but in the normative reactions they exhibit towards each other’s behavior, in their second-order behavior. In normative reactions we can not only see what kind of behavior a community exhibits, but also what kind of behavior it takes itself to exhibit, and therefore, how people classify their behavior.”

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

Social pragmatism II

What a community takes its norms to be can consequently be discovered by how it treats its normative behavior, that is, by looking at the normative reactions to normative reactions. ⇒ Conceiving social norms as web of reinforcing normative attitudes allows to explain historical development of normative structures.

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

Social pragmatism III: Three problems of social pragmatism

Three problems of simple social pragmatism: Individualist bias Conformist bias Does not account for reflexive structure of normativity

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

Introducing collective attitudes I

The individualist bias can be solved by understanding sanctions as expression of a collective attitude A collective attitude should be understood as mutual normative commitment to a shared standard Notion of recognition

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

Introducing collective attitudes II
Recognition Recognition is a mutual ascription of default (but not absolute) authority of evaluation between members of a community by virtue of which they can exhibit collective attitudes A recognition theory of immanent normativity can also integrate 1 problem of conformism (→ default-and-challenge structure) 2 problem of reflexivity (→ discursive practices)

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

The method of immanent critique I

If immanent norms are constituted by recognition, immanent norms are the second-level norms which show up in social attitudes towards normative behaviour such attitudes express what people practically take their norms to be immanent norms can be sociologically discovered and studied

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

The method of immanent critique II

Types of immanent critique 1 simple disagreement between immanent and explicit norms: critic makes immanent norms explicit 2 conflicting or inconsistent immanent normative attitudes: critic must look for social source of deformation and engage in dialogue

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

The method of immanent critique III

This model can also be used to justify demands for the realization of the material presuppositions of normativity criticism of reified forms of normative practice in any community which takes itself to be a normative community.

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

The social ontological foundations of immanent critique

stahl@em.uni-frankfurt.de

Titus Stahl

JWG-Universit¨t Frankfurt a

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