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Table of contents. The breadth of his sociological studies and writings was immense, covering such topics as war, suicide, labor, social classes, education, politics, and moral principles. In an article in Sociological Perspectives, Warren Schmaus noted: "For Durkheim, the function of the division of labor is to create the social attachments that constitute organic solidarity.

The book is largely credited with playing a seminal role in the development of sociology as an accepted science. In the book, Durkheim focuses further on his methodological principles as a foundation for sociology, trying to further illustrate a sociological slogan that "social facts explain social facts" as opposed to the belief that the realities of society can be plumbed completely from individual psychology. A contributor to Thinkers of the Twentieth Century wrote: "Social facts have the following characteristics: they exist independently of the subjective awareness of individuals; they are exterior to the individual; they exercise constraint over behavior; and they are general and collective.

Gane commented: "Durkheim's effort, despite its weaknesses, remains one of the most successful attempts to reflect on the methodological requirements of such … [a sociological] aspiration. Another sociological phenomenon that greatly interested Durkheim was suicide.

The book was partially Durkheim's response to those interpretations of religion that saw it as false and unnecessary. Writing in Contemporary Sociology, Lawrence A. Scaff wrote that the author's purpose "was to attack the appeal to innate foundations of knowledge by explaining why certain ideas enjoy credence without needing support from proof. Religion is not a feature of individual behaviour but an essential dimension of collective life.

Durkheim is also considered one of the founding fathers of the sociology of education, with many of his sociological observations in the field of education stemming from his sociological studies of morality in society.


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In L'Education morale, published in English as Moral Education: A Study in the Theory and Application of the Sociology of Education, the author first discusses how morality evolved in the secular world and then turns his attention to how this morality affects the world of a child. Durkheim's wide-ranging views on education and morality are collected in Durkheim: Essays on Morals and Education. Downie wrote in British Book News: "This book performs a valuable service by bringing together many of the scattered writings.

Durkheim's writings have been gathered in several other collections, such as Emile Durkheim on Morality and Society. Broken up into five sections, the book includes twelve selections from various works, including The Division of Labor as well as various essays. American Journal of Sociology contributor Edward A. Tiryakian called the book "a well-conceived, integrated selection of readings. Drawing on selections from Professional Ethics and Civic Morals and from various essays, lectures, and public debates, Durkheim on Politics and the State "displays … [Durkheim's] incisive analysis of the structural basis of moral solidarity," according to a reviewer writing in Ethics.

Tiryakian, review of Emile Durkheim on Morality and Society, pp. Wilson, review of Emile Durkheim on Institutional Analysis, pp.

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British Book News, May, , R. Downie, review of Durkheim: Essays on Morals and Education, p. Canadian Journal of Sociology, winter, , William J. Choice, February, , review of Selected Writings, p. Takla, review of Durkheim on Religion, pp. Philip H. Nasir Ad-Din Tusi. Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. But even at the level of application, discourse cannot always include all the affected parties e.

Habermas's discourse ethics thus implies that for many, if not most, of our moral rules and choices, the best we can achieve are partial justifications: arguments that are not conclusively convincing for all, but also are not conclusively defeated, in limited discourses with interlocutors we regard as reasonable cf. Rehg , Habermas has also attempted to give discourse ethics some empirical foothold by looking to moral psychology and social anthropology a, — The psychological line of argument draws on the theory of communicative action to reconstruct theories of moral development such as Lawrence Kohlberg's.

According to Habermas, moral maturation involves the growing ability to integrate the interpersonal perspectives given with the system of personal pronouns; the endpoint of that process coincides with the capacity to engage in the mutual perspective-taking required by U. The anthropological line of argument focuses on identity formation, drawing on the social psychology of G. In broad agreement with Hegelian models of mutual recognition, Mead understands the individual's development of a stable personal identity as inextricably bound up with processes of socialization that depend on participation in relationships of mutual recognition.

Habermas extends this analysis to respond to feminist and communitarian criticisms of impartialist, justice-based moralities ibid. Such moralities, critics allege, assume an implausibly atomistic view of the self. Thus they fail to appreciate the moral import of particularity and cultural substance: particular relationships between unique individuals, on the one hand, and membership in particular cultural communities or traditions, on the other for feminist critiques, see Benhabib ; Meehan ; for a communitarian argument, see Taylor Mead's analysis shows that the critics are on to an important point: if individuation depends on socialization, then any anthropologically viable system of morality must protect not only the integrity of individuals but also the web of relationships and cultural forms of life on which individuals depend for their moral development.

Discourse ethics, Habermas claims, meets this two-fold demand in virtue of the kind of mutual perspective-taking it requires. If we examine U , we see that it requires participants to attend to the values and interests of each person as a unique individual; conversely, each individual conditions her judgment about the moral import of her values and interests on what all participants can freely accept. Consequently, moral discourse is structured in a way that links moral validity with solidaristic concern for both the concrete individual and the morally formative communities on which her identity depends.

These arguments are certainly ambitious, and they raise as many questions as they answer. It is hardly surprising, then, that many commentators have not been persuaded by discourse ethics as a normative ethics.

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Rather, they regard it as plausible only in the context of democratic politics, or as a model for the critical evaluation of formal dialogues e. Other critics have targeted discourse ethics at a metaethical level. In fact, Habermas first unveiled his moral theory in answer to moral non-cognitivism and skepticism a, 43— In this context, U explicates a moral epistemology: what it means for moral statements to count as justified. If moral statements are justifiable, then they have a cognitive character in the sense that they are correct or not depending on how they fare in reasonable discourse.

However, Habermas proposes U not merely as articulating a consensus model of moral justification, but as an explication of the meaning of rightness itself.

Unlike truth, the rightness of a moral norm does not consist in reference to an independently existing realm of objects, but rather in the worthiness of the norm for intersubjective recognition. Thus rightness, unlike truth, means ideal warranted assertibility b, 93; a, chap. This antirealist interpretation of discourse ethics has been challenged, however, with some critics advocating a realist interpretation of rightness, others a deflationary approach Lafont , chap. Habermas's discourse theory of law and politics.

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The central task of Habermas's democratic theory is to provide a normative account of legitimate law. His deliberative democratic model rests on what is perhaps the most complex argument in his philosophical corpus, found in his Between Facts and Norms b; German ed. Boiled down to its essentials, however, the argument links his discourse theory with an analysis of the demands inherent in modern legal systems, which Habermas understands in light of the history of Western modernization.

The analysis thus begins with a functional explanation of the need for positive law in modern societies. This analysis picks up on points he made in TCA see sec. Societies are stable over the long run only if their members generally perceive them as legitimate: as organized in accordance with what is true, right, and good.

In premodern Europe, legitimacy was grounded in a shared religious worldview that penetrated all spheres of life. As modernization engendered religious pluralism and functional differentiation autonomous market economies, bureaucratic administrations, unconstrained scientific research , the potentials for misunderstanding and conflict about the good and the right increased—just as the shared background resources for the consensual resolution of such conflicts decreased.

When we consider this dynamic simply from the standpoint of the D -principle, the prospects for legitimacy in modern societies appear quite dim. Sociologically, then, one can understand modern law as a functional solution to the conflict potentials inherent in modernization. By opening up legally defined spheres of individual freedom, modern law reduces the burden of questions that require general society-wide discursive consensus.

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Within these legal boundaries, individuals are free to pursue their interests and happiness as they see fit, normally through various modes of association, whether that pursuit is primarily governed by modes of strategic action as in economic markets , by recognized authority or consensual discourse e. Consequently, modern law is fundamentally concerned with the definition, protection, and reconciliation of individual freedoms in their various institutional and organizational contexts. The demands on the legitimation of law change with this functional realignment: to be legitimate, modern law must secure the private autonomy of those subject to it.

The legal guarantee of private autonomy in turn presupposes an established legal code and a legally defined status of equal citizenship in terms of actionable basic rights that secure a space for individual freedom. However, such rights are expressions of freedom only if citizens can also understand themselves as the authors of the laws that interpret their rights—that is, only if the laws that protect private autonomy also issue from citizens' exercise of public autonomy as lawmakers acting through elected representatives.

Thus, the rights that define individual freedom must also include rights of political participation. The exercise of public autonomy in its full sense presupposes participants who understand themselves as individually free privately autonomous , which in turn presupposes that they can shape their individual freedoms through the exercise of public autonomy. This equiprimordial relationship, Habermas believes, enables his discourse theory to combine the best insights of the civic republican and classical liberal traditions of democracy, which found expression in Rousseau and Locke, respectively a, chap.

Habermas b, chap. Because these rights are abstract, each polity must further interpret and flesh them out for its particular historical circumstances, perhaps supplementing them with further welfare and environmental rights. In any case, the system of rights constitutes a minimum set of normative institutional conditions for any legitimate modern political order. The system of rights, in other words, articulates the normative framework for constitutional democracies, within which further institutional mechanisms such as legislatures and other branches of government must operate. The idea of public autonomy means that the legitimacy of ordinary legislation must ultimately be traceable to robust processes of public discourse that influence formal decisionmaking in legislative bodies.

Decisions about laws typically involve a combination of validity claims: not only truth claims about the likely consequences of different legal options, but also claims about their moral rightness or justice , claims about the authenticity of different options in light of the polity's shared values and history, and pragmatic claims about which option is feasible or more efficient. Legitimate laws must pass the different types of discursive tests that come with each of these validity claims.

Habermas also recognizes that many issues involve conflicts among particular interests that cannot be reconciled by discursive agreement on validity but only through fair bargaining processes. This puts his democratic principle in a rather puzzling position. On the one hand, it represents a specification of the discourse principle for a particular kind of discourse legal-political discourse. This makes it analogous to the moral principle U , which specifies D for moral discourse.

As a specific principle of reasonable discourse, the democratic principle seems to have the character of an idealizing presupposition insofar as it presumes the possibility of consensual decisionmaking in politics. For Habermas, reasonable political discourse must at least begin with the supposition that legal questions admit in principle of single right answers c, —95 , or at least a set of discursively valid answers on which a fair compromise, acceptable to all parties, is possible.

This highly cognitive, consensualist presumption has drawn fire even from sympathetic commentators. One difficulty lies in Habermas's assumption that in public discourse over controversial political issues, citizens can separate the moral constraints on acceptable solutions, presumably open to general consensus, from ethical-political and pragmatic considerations, over which reasonable citizens may reasonably disagree.

As various critics have pointed out, this distinction is very hard to maintain in practice, and perhaps in theory as well Bohman ; McCarthy ; Warnke On the other hand, the democratic principle lies at a different level from principles like U , as Habermas himself emphasizes b, The latter specify D for this or that single type of practical discourse, in view of internal cognitive demands on justification, whereas the former pulls together all the forms of practical discourse and sets forth conditions on their external institutionalization.

From this perspective, the democratic principle acts as a bridge that links the cognitive aspects of political discourse as a combination of the different types of idealized discourse with the demands of institutional realization in complex societies. As such, the democratic principle should refer not to consensus, but rather to something like a warranted presumption of reasonableness. In fact, in a number of places Habermas describes democratic legitimacy in just such terms, which we might paraphrase as follows: citizens may regard their laws as legitimate insofar as the democratic process, as it is institutionally organized and conducted, warrants the presumption that outcomes are reasonable products of a sufficiently inclusive deliberative process of opinion- and will-formation , When these arenas work well together, civil society and the public sphere generate a set of considered public opinions that then influence the deliberation of lawmakers In light of the above ambiguity in the status of D , however, one might want to take a more pragmatic approach to democratic deliberation.

Such an approach e. Habermas's discourse theory also has implications for international modes of deliberation—hence for the debate about a potential cosmopolitan political order. To understand his position in this debate, it helps to sketch a typology of the main theories. The current discussion moves along four main axes: political or social, institutional or noninstitutional, democratic or nondemocratic, and transnational or cosmopolitan.

Theories are informed by background assumptions about the scope of cosmopolitanism: whether it is moral to the extent that it is concerned with individuals and their life opportunities, social to the extent that it makes associations and institutions central, or political to the extent that it focuses on specifically legal and political institutions, including citizenship. Habermas's position in this debate is moderate.