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This conclusion draws together the central themes of the book, laying out how George and the Irish Land War helped to further drive liberals, conservatives, and socialists towards an organicist utilitarian politics. It also offers a brief summary of the subsequent trajectory of the land question and some of its orientating politics in Ireland, Britain, and the Unitec States. The conclusion discusses why the late nineteenth century remains such a critical moment for contemporary discussion of liberalism and democracy.
During the past quarter century of neoliberal social, economic and political upheaval in Poland, the structure of workplaces has changed, and so have changes in worker attitudes to workplace and social solidarity. This article explores the links between changes to organisational and employment structures and shifts in worker attitudes, focusing on the implications of attitudinal shifts for the capacity for organised workplace resistance. It documents a loss of collective identity and a growth of individualism and social distrust. The analysis is based on publicly available economic and social statistics and the author’s own qualitative and quantitative research, drawn in part from computer-aided interviews in de-industrialising Lower Silesia. Evidence is provided that the extent and intensity of attitudinal shifts have varied according to changed workplace structures, based on privatisation and organisational size, and especially on the accompanying changes in workplace culture and climate. Increased individualism, based on formal decollectivisation, has been accompanied by attitudinal individualism and distrust of other people and social institutions. As a result, declining capacity for workplace resistance and an increased sense of powerlessness have increased workers’ susceptibility to right-wing propaganda.
We compared South Koreans with Australians in order to characterize cultural differences in attitudes and choices regarding risk, at both the individual and group levels. Our results showed that Australians, when assessed individually, consistently self-reported higher preference for risk than South Koreans, regardless of gender. The data revealed that South Koreans, regardless of gender composition, were willing to take greater risks when making decisions in group decision-making situations than when they were alone. This is a different pattern from that seen in the Australian sample, in which a risky shift was noted only among males. This difference was attributed to the influence of various cultural orientations (independent vs. interdependent relationship styles). This study also provides a discussion of the implications of these results in terms of cultural differences in attitudes and decisions regarding risk.
The introduction presents some general reflections on what characterises Heidegger’s fundamental ontology and what makes his thought a particularly promising point of departure for doing social ontology. I first introduce Heidegger’s holistic conceptions of Dasein and being-in-the-world by way of contrast to Cartesian atomism. I then go on to show that Heidegger conceives of intersubjectivity as a triangular relation between self, world, and other rather than a dyadic relation between two independent subjects. My claim is that Heidegger’s social ontology is found directly in his conception of the shared world and that his more well-known accounts of the Anyone and solicitude should be understood within this general framework. I also reflect on the relation between Heidegger’s social ontology and his politics and provide an outline of the book.
The origin of the modern liberal conception of human rights has been traced to the concept of natural rights that has its source in natural law thought, leading some to draw a connection between Thomistic natural law and human rights. However, the Thomistic understanding of natural law is embedded in a religious framework, raising the relevance and possible relation of religious traditions to the contemporary concept of human rights. This chapter explores this relation in the context of Hinduism, which espouses a version of natural law in the idea of Dharma, and gives primacy to duty rather than rights. Can the fundamental tenets, principles and concepts of Hinduism help to develop conceptual groundwork for human rights without subscribing to the Western liberal conception of rights? Exploring this question, the chapter argues for human moral obligations as the link between natural law and human rights. It concludes that human moral obligations serve the same purpose as human rights without being embroiled in controversies that vitiate the Western liberal conception of human rights.
Chapter 10 reconstructs Durkheim's conception of sociology as a science of morality, which includes three tasks: orienting our conduct via an account of a morally healthy society; illuminating the connection between social functioning and morality (explaining why moral and social health are the same; and explaining why the moral ideals animating a given society do so and how they vary with changing social conditions. Durkheim's science of morality is similar to Marx's historical materialist account of morality, although the former leaves the moral authority of the rules it explains largely intact. While Durkheim's accounts of specific pathologies imply a critique of certain social rules, they do not discredit the fundamental norms at work in the societies he studies. The chapter concludes that Durkheim does not adequately explain how historically specific moral systems can claim a moral authority irreducible to the narrowly functional value they have for social reproduction.
Kierkegaard is well-known as a philosopher who stresses the meaning of individual human existence. However, in The Sickness unto Death he argues that the human self exists as “spirit,” and spiritual life is essentially relational life. The significance of this is sometimes missed because readers assume that the “other” to which humans must relate is God, and a God-relation does not seem genuinely social. This view is doubly mistaken, and this can be seen if the relationship between the two parts of the book are understood. First, it is not true that Kierkegaard thinks that God is the only “other” by which the self can be defined. Human beings continually seek to ground their identity in many “others” and human persons and groups are the major way this happens. Kierkegaard believes this is the source of numerous pathological forms of selfhood; far from being impossible, grounding the self in something other than God is ubiquitous. Second, the relation to God is for Kierkegaard a genuinely social relation, since God is viewed as one who has the authority to give human lives meaning by assigning meaningful vocations to humans and holding them accountable for fulfilling those vocations.
The issue of cultural relativism has been a major one for theorists of human rights. Arguments about cultural difference represent perhaps the strongest criticisms of the idea of human rights, and for many they are the most difficult to deal with (Brown 1999, 2020). This is especially true for social workers from Western traditions, who are generally aware of the role of the West in colonising other world-views and who wish to value cultural diversity. This results in Western social workers (among many others) feeling somewhat guilty about supporting something called ‘human rights’ and being particularly susceptible to the criticisms of human rights as a Western concept and therefore somehow not to be trusted. The aim of this chapter is to explore this difficult area, with a view to developing an approach to human rights that overcomes these dilemmas. Herein lies the key to dealing with cultural difference: the capacity to look critically at all cultural traditions is contextualised differently in different cultures, and to see that human rights violations and the struggle for human rights occur in all cultural contexts.
Individualist normative theories appear inadequate for the complex moral challenges of climate change. In climate ethics, this is especially notable with the relative marginalization of Kant. I argue that Kant’s philosophy, understood through its historical and cosmopolitan dimensions, has untapped potential for the climate crisis. First, I situate Kant in climate ethics and evaluate his marginalization due to perceived individualism, interiority and anthropocentrism. Then, I explore aspects of Kant’s historical and cosmopolitan writings, which present a global, future-orientated picture of humanity. Ultimately, Kant’s philosophy offers a unique take on the climate deadlock capable of sustaining the individual in the collective.
Many thinkers have alleged that free markets are inimical to a sense of community. According to critics such as Robert Putnam, commercial societies tend to dissociate people from one another and to undermine the basis of civil society. Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America seems to present a challenge to this view insofar as he regards the Americans as both exceptionally commercial and uniquely associational. If markets and associations are in tension with one another, how can they coexist in the United States? As Rachael K. Behr and Virgil Henry Storr argue in this chapter, a closer attention to Democracy in America suggests several ways in which commercial society and the spirit of association are mutually supportive. Markets foster a complex division of labor that requires mutual cooperation. Markets encourage a sense of enlightened self-interest that teaches citizens how they might engage with one another in mutually beneficial ways. Further, markets facilitate innovations in communication that make it easier for citizens to coordinate and freely associate for political change. Rather than giving rise to Tocqueville’s dreaded pathology of “individualism,” as critics have alleged, markets are instead conducive to active civic engagement and the free association of democratic citizens.
This chapter explores the relationship between democracy and Christianity through the lens of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. As Tocqueville noted, unlike the European nations of his own day where the forces of democracy and proponents of religion were at odds, the United States in the 1830s is characterized by a harmony between religion and democracy. Tocqueville sees a number of ways in which these two forces may be mutually supportive. First and most importantly, Tocqueville regards Christianity and its affirmation of the equality of all human beings as an important source for democracy. He also finds American religion to be supportive of democratic government in the sense that it counters democratic tendencies toward cultural mediocrity, the tyranny of the majority, the pathologies of individualism, and secular materialism. Not only is Christianity necessary for the formation of democratic governments, in Tocqueville’s view, but their long-term flourishing requires a certain moderation on the part of religious believers. While it might seem that Christianity is the only religion capable of preserving democracy, a closer reading of Democracy in America would suggest otherwise.
In this chapter, Aurelian Craiutu documents key elements of Tocqueville’s political thought that are either anticipated or shared by the so-called Generation of 1820. Like Tocqueville, this cohort came of age in France during the time of the Bourbon Restoration. It included figures such as Théodore Jouffroy, Charles de Rémusat, Félicité Robert de Lamennais, and others who struggled like Tocqueville to make sense of the dawning tide of democratic equality. Their writings also reckon with problems of individualism, skepticism, and the loss of authority that all regarded as characteristic of the democratic age. Most importantly, however, Craiutu suggests in this chapter that many of Tocqueville’s insights – including his interest in the United States – may be explained by the influence of his kinsman François-René de Chateaubriand, whose earlier visit to America and subsequent writings shared much with Tocqueville’s vision.
This chapter introduces the jurisprudence of Ronald Dworkin. It outlines the various components of his liberal individualistic theory and how this conceptualises group phenomena including religion. It notes how English law is largely based on this model, highlights its deficiencies as regards the regulation of religion, and traces its declining influence from 2016. It argues that liberal individualism is a suboptimal model on which to base the law of religion because it takes insufficient account of groups and civil society.
Previous research has demonstrated that unique names increased in Japan, which shows a rise in uniqueness-seeking and individualism. To increase the validity of the prior findings, it is important to confirm the robustness of their results. Therefore, this study examined another indicator of historical changes in names in Japan. Specifically, I investigated whether the rates of common names decreased in Japan between 2004 and 2018. The dataset used in the previous study was analyzed. The results consistently showed that the rates of common names decreased for both boys and girls for the period. These results were consistent with the previous research, which further increases the validity of the finding that Japanese culture became more individualistic.
This article analyzes the complex processes of modernization and individualization, as well as how the church has structurally fostered individualization despite its public criticism. First, the article demonstrates how modernization and individualization have gradually restructured human self-understanding into an economic image of humanity: the human person as homo oeconomicus. Second, this article examines the church's relation to modernity, and specifically its critiques of liberalism and economic individualism. However, the church has often generated the conditions and structures for individualization, and by extension the processes of acceleration and economization of the life-world that it criticizes. Three areas in intra-ecclesial discourse that foster individualization are examined: the interiorization of faith, ecclesial centralization and clerical bureaucracy, and the promotion of corporatism and digital immediacy. The article concludes by examining recent papal efforts at structural reform and the degree to which they address previously entrenched problems and point toward a renewed, non-economic anthropology.
We analyze the prevalence and framing of references to equality and inequality in presidential state of the union addresses (SOTUs) delivered between 1960 and 2018. Despite rising income inequality and increased attention among political elites to structural inequalities of race and gender in recent years, we find very few direct or indirect references to inequality as a social problem and surprisingly few references even to the ostensibly consensual and primary values of equal opportunity and political equality. References to racial inequality have been few and far between since the height of the civil rights era. By contrast, another primary value in the American political tradition—economic individualism are a major focus in these SOTUs. We trace the scant presence of equality talk in these speeches to the ambiguous scope of egalitarian goals and principles and their close tie-in with race in America. We rely on automated text analysis and systematic hand-coding of these speeches to identify broad thematic emphases as well as on close reading to interpret the patterns that these techniques reveal.
To say that human beings are creatures is to say that they are finite, fallible, and defined by their need of others to nurture and support them. It is to understand that people must learn to receive and then share again the life that they have been given. This places people in positions of vulnerability that are often hard to bear. This chapter explores the contours of creatureliness, and examines the character of our interdependence while also describing the communal conditions that are necessary if the vulnerability of people is to be honored rather than violated. Put another way, to live into our creaturely condition it is important for people to exercise forms of power that are modelled on the love of God made incarnate in Jesus. Characterized this way, creatureliness is humanity’s way of participating in the divine love that creates and sustains all of life.
This chapter continues the discussion of pragmatism and truth from the first chapter by further investigating pluralism about truth in the context of the philosophy of religion, particularly focusing on the debates on religious diversity. Arguing that pragmatism should firmly side with religious inclusivism instead of exclusivism, the chapter compares Jamesian pragmatic pluralism and individualism to Hannah Arendt's more politically framed conception of natality, i.e., human beings' capacity of spontaneously creating novelties into the world, of beginning something anew. This Jamesian-Arendtian entanglement of individuality and novelty can, the chapter proposes, be illuminated by means of holistic pragmatism (indebted to Morton White). The chapter also contains a critical discussion of Naoko Saito's views on what she calls "philosophy as translation" offering a distinctive perspective on pragmatist views on acknowledging diversity, pluralism, and otherness. A defense of Jamesian meliorism, as distinguished from Saito's Cavell-inspired "perfectionism", is also included.
Mailer’s philosophy of the Hipster is one of his most provocative: Outlined most clearly in “The White Negro,” “Reflections on Hip,” and “Hip, Hell, and the Navigator,” his figuration of the Hipster is an existentialist rebel, an “urban frontiersman” who lives in “the undercurrents and underworlds of American life” amongst “the defeated, the isolated, the violent, the tortured, and the warped.” Mailer’s characterization of the Hipster is the foundation for more than one of his later characters, and is reflective of his place on the periphery of countercultural groups like the Beats.