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Sociology Course 160
The Culture of Sociology
We will try, in this course to view the phenomenon of culture through the lens of sociology. But we might start by reminding ourselves that sociology itself is the product of a distinct culture. So the perspective it has on the question of culture is not neutral. In what follows, I'd like to go over the historical circumstances within which culture emerged as an object of study within western culture. There are three aspects of that historical situation that began in Europe in the seventeenth century that we will discuss this week. 1. The creation of nature during the scientific revolution 2. Universalistic theories of human nature and of the foundation of social order that were developed during the European Enlightenment in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
The emergence of a planetary mode of production as the result of colonialism and imperialism, which forced disparate and previously isolated cultures and civilizations into ongoing interactions with each other.
We will discuss point 1 and 3 in lecture. As to point 1, we will be discussing the issues raised below in the section on cultural changes that accompanied the transition from traditional to modern society. For an interesting example of point 3, take a look at Bougainville's description of the eighteenth century encounter of a French ship with the Tahitians and Diderot's fictitious "supplement" to Bougainville's account in the recommended readings. It gives an interesting case of culture shock in the early modern era. In what follows, we will address point 2. What is striking about Enlightenment thought is the radical nature of the break with the European cultural tradition that it represents. We will reflect on the nature of that break with the past that established the contours of modern culture by 1) briefly outlining the major institutional changes, e.g. political, economic, social, cultural, that Europe was undergoing from the fourteenth century to the present and then 2) describing the major intellectual reflections on those changes that characterized Enlightenment thought. For it is within these philosophies of human nature and society that many of the leading questions of modern social science, especially sociology, were formed.
Historical Background of Sociology
Sociology did not arise in an historical vacuum. The concept of society as a distinct object of investigation emerged during the intense period of social change that took place in Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This process of change was reflected in the intellectual life of the time through the rise of a variety of philosophies, political ideologies and cultural institutions which, taken together, are referred to as the Enlightenment. Enlightenment philosophers attempted to understand this process of social change and to develop a world-view that reflected the transition in Europe from various forms of traditional culture to what we now call modern culture. Sociology, as a science of society arose during the period that went from the middle of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. But the rise of
sociology as a science involved a continued discussion of many of the themes of the Enlightenment, in particular its speculations about human nature, the foundations of society and the process of social change. So in order to understand how the central problems of sociology developed, it is important to understand both the social changes that had preceded and accompanied its rise and the philosophical debates that took place in that historical context. What are the characteristic features of this process of historical change? We can see the general elements of this change when we consider the central institutions of social life
Transition from Traditional to Modern Society
From hereditary status to economic class. During the Middle Ages in Europe, people were born into their position in society. Society consisted of a hierarchy of fixed statuses that determined the destiny of each individual. The distinction between the nobles and commoners was a product of birth, not achievement. While the clergy and commercial life offered some opportunities for social mobility, political forces, economic property forms and cultural values restricted these opportunities. From the fifteenth century onward, developments in the economic and political spheres increasingly undermined the stability of fixed hereditary social status. An individual's position in society was more and more defined by their economically defined class position. Class position, unlike fixed status, could vary dramatically, both within the life of the individual, as people went from poverty to wealth and from wealth to poverty, and between generations as the sons of peasants entered the domain of market-regulated labor.
Economic Changes From feudal property to individual private property From agricultural to industrial economy The rise of the self-regulating market
Underlying the fixed social status that characterized feudal society was hereditary property. The dominant (although not the only) form of property in traditional Europe was feudal property. The aristocracy inherited land and the serfs who worked on it and who were tied to it, from their ancestors. Birth entitled them to property and property, in the form of the feudal estate or domain, contained the agricultural resources and the labor resources necessary to sustain them. Serfs both sustained themselves and produced for the aristocracy. While they were not slaves in the sense that they could be bought and sold, they were, nonetheless, the subjects of the particular member of the aristocracy on whose estate they were born. Custom and tradition determined the amount of work they owed the lord. From the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries on, the role of merchants and of markets increased in the European economy. Stimulated by long-distance trade, the discovery of the Americas by Europeans and new opportunities for commercial wealth, individual private property began to replace feudal property as the dominant regulator of the modern economy. Furthermore, from the late eighteenth throughout the nineteenth centuries, the dominant form of economic activity shifted from agriculture to industry as technological
changes, inspired in part by the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, began to be applied to the manufacturing and agricultural production process. As private property became a more powerful determinant of economic activity, the self-regulating market, which coordinated the exchange of private property, became the most important force in economic life, both in terms of regulating consumer exchanges of goods and services and of allocating capital resources (such as land, labor and factories). Production and consumption were no longer determined by custom, habit and tradition, but by the movements of supply and demand.
Political Changes From monarchy to democracy and despotism
The feudal social system of hereditary aristocracy culminated in the political institution of hereditary monarchy. Kingdoms consisted of associations of estates and domains. In principle, the aristocracy received their domains through a grant from the king in return for military service in the defense of the kingdom. Some kings were relatively weak in governing their nobility while others were strong and powerful. Kings, like nobles, inherited their right to rule. One was born a king. One couldn't earn that privilege. And while there were often conflicts over just who was in line to inherit the role of king, no one disputed that the principle of kingship was birth. The rule of kings was part of the structure of the world. In the medieval world-view, God had established a fixed hierarchy of beings that rose from inorganic matter to plants to animals to humans up to angels and God himself. Within that God-ordained hierarchy, humans too had a prescribed place. Peasants, nobles and kings were the human component of the great chain of being that linked the lower to the higher orders of the world. Beginning in the seventeenth century, this doctrine (sometimes referred to as "the divine right of kings") was challenged as parliaments, which were originally constituted to assist kings in the process of governing, began to assert their rights to equal power with the king. Furthermore, parliaments gradually came to represent groups in society other than the aristocracy. The principle of representation gradually became the sole legitimating principle of political life. Modern governments (with a few exceptions) no longer claim to rule by virtue of the will of God, but rather, by the will of the people. Of course, in many, if not most cases, of modern political institutions, one can be skeptical of the truth of this claim. But the principle of governing by consent of the governed has almost completely replaced divine right as the legitimating principle of modern political life, even in authoritarian despotisms such as nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.
Cultural Changes The rise of secular culture and modern science Rejection of metaphysics, theology and tradition Emphasis on empirical study of the world of nature and of humanity
The medieval worldview mentioned above, which saw the world as a hierarchicallystructured, God-ordained order, was based on the Bible and the writings of classical Greek and Roman philosophers. The universe was seen as the creation of a divine being and as permeated by spiritual forces. Explanations of human and natural events often took the form of interpretation of God's will. In the course of the seventeenth century a new form of explanation of natural and human events began to gain credibility. Through the work of such researchers as Galileo, Copernicus and others and in the writings of philosophers such as Francis Bacon, the sci3
entific worldview emerged. While not questioning the existence and power of God, these new thinkers claimed that worldly phenomena were subject to worldly and not spiritual explanations. Therefore, careful observation of empirical reality, the testing of experimental hypotheses and the analysis of events in terms of their component variables came to be seen as the only valid way of understanding the world. Explanation in terms of cause and effect replaced interpretation of divine will as the basis of human understanding. Under the influence of the scientific method, European intellectuals began to see the world as a gigantic mechanism driven by physical forces that could only be explained by empirical study not theological interpretation. As modern science undermined the authority of the church and scripture as the sole source of truth, a non-religious, secular culture emerged in Europe that sought to explain both nature and society through the exercise of human reason rather than religious faith. Sociology, as a modern social science, is grounded in this view of the world.
The European Enlightenment of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century
As you can see from the sketch above about the historical changes that preceded the Enlightenment, in almost every area of social life there was a serious questioning of established forms of authority and established ways of thinking. From the end of the seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth century, this process continued. The philosophical systems that arose during this period posed many of the important questions that have pre-occupied sociology since its formation toward the end of the nineteenth century. The account that I've just given is itself already sociological. In examining changes in the economic, political, cultural and social areas of human life, I've implied that European society was a unified entity that contained institutional divisions, each of which was separate from and yet related to the others. In fact, one of the main features of modem times is the institutional differentiation between various spheres of human life and action that has emerged. What I mean by this is that where political, religious, economic and cultural authorities were combined in traditional society, they have separated out in modem society. The feudal lord was both the political administrator of his estate and the economic manager. The King of England was both the political leader of England and the head of the Church of England. The separation of economic and political institutions and religious and political institutions are part of the changing structure in European society itself as it entered modernity. Furthermore, questions of how authority in any institution is legitimated and how that legitimation changes over time are central questions in sociology. It is these questions that preoccupied many Enlightenment philosophers. And in attempting to address the problem of authority, their works represent early attempts to solve inherently sociological problems. As diverse as Enlightenment philosophers were, there were common themes that were present in their writings that reflected the central social issues of their time. Enlightenment philosophers questioned, even attacked tradition. Whether it was dogmatic religion or common superstitions or customs or unexamined habits of thought and action, the thinkers of the Enlightenment called for a re-examination of outworn beliefs and practices. This re-examination was to be conducted using the faculty of Reason. The emphasis on the importance of Reason was the guiding theme of the Enlightenment. Reason was viewed as the most important human attribute. The power of the individual to use his or her reason in the examination of evidence and the exercise of logic gave each of us the ability to call into question the doctrines and superstitions of the past. Furthermore, it gave the individual the power to criticize established authority in the name of truth and justice,
both of which the individual could determine for himself or herself using the faculty of Reason. We have already discussed the role of science in questioning dogmatic belief. Enlightenment philosophers went further. They asked themselves questions about how we come to understand anything. How does the human mind perceive the difference between truth and falsehood? What are the mechanisms that underlie the acquisition of knowledge? These reflections would eventually lead to a science of psychology and to contemporary theories of cognitive development. But these philosophies also reflect an important feature of Enlightenment thought. It was reflexive. That means it focused not just on the outer world, but also on the inner world of the knowing subject. Enlightenment philosophy was not just a way of thinking. It was a way of thinking about thinking. Among the philosophical systems that flourished at this time, the ones that influenced the development of sociology had at least two important elements in common, a theory of human nature and a theory of society. Theories of human nature: The problem of human nature is essentially the question of what is natural about humans. That is, what kinds of biological aptitudes and inclinations do individuals bring into to world with them. What is the raw material, so to speak, that culture shapes and directs in the process of incorporating individuals into social life. Theories of human nature often have two crucial components, theories of knowledge and theories of motivation. Theories of knowledge ask questions about how we gain our understanding of the world around us. How do we distinguish true from false knowledge? We already saw some of these issues arise in our discussion of the rise of modern science and its critiques of traditional forms of belief and in our discussion of the role of Reason in Enlightenment philosophy. While Enlightenment philosophers all tended to stress the priority of reason over faith and tradition in discovering the truth, there were conflicting theories among them about the role of reason in that process. The empiricist philosophers, like Hobbes and Locke, claimed that truth is the correspondence of the ideas in our heads with the processes that occurred around us. Truth is obtained from reason's ability to generalize from sensory data. The idealist philosophers, like Kant and Hegel, on the other hand, claimed that reason was a mental faculty that processed our experiences according to its own inner logic and that truth was therefore not necessarily a correspondence between the ideas in our minds and the external world. In this view, the world we experience is much more the product of the activities of our own mind than we might suspect. These questions about the basis of human understanding, the problem of how we arrive at the truth, are part of an ongoing debate that continues to this day about the value of scientific ideas in comparison to other approaches to knowledge, the problem of mediating conflicting cultural perspectives about the world, and about the possibility or impossibility of universally valid ideas. Theories of motivation ask questions about the basic drives, instincts and impulses that are part of our natural endowments, drives and instincts that either promote or inhibit our ability to become moral beings. Depending on how we think about these questions of human abilities and dispositions, we form different ideas about the foundations and dynamics of social life, or theories of society. And depending on what we think the ideal society is, we will form different views about the strengths and weaknesses of actually existing society and its ability to live up to or ever realize our moral ideals. This tendency on the part of Enlightenment philosophies to subject existing society to the critiques of Reason, led to an extremely important idea in Western culture, an idea which continues to operate not only in intellectual culture, but in everyday life; the idea of progress. The notion that human history is a movement from a lower to a higher stage,
from an inferior to a superior condition, is a fairly recent idea. Before the modern age, in Western culture, Christian doctrine had taught that the world was heading for the Day of Judgment, the end of the world. But between now and then, it saw no particular advantage of one era over the next. The world was filled with sin and temptation, and it was the business of the good Christian to hold out against both until the end. But since the Enlightenment, there has been an almost nave assumption that things are getting better from generation to generation. And while even in the Enlightenment there were thinkers who saw the rise of civilization as a corruption of human nature and a loss of innocence, the widespread belief in progress, bolstered by scientifically-driven technological change, has been far more persistent and is only recently encountering widespread doubt. Of the rich diversity of schools of thought that arose during the Enlightenment, there are two that had the strongest impact on the formation of social science in general and sociology in particular. And while both were critical traditional of forms of belief and sentiment, both of them have become modern traditions in their own right and continue to influence both intellectual life and the thinking of people at all levels of modem culture. I will call them the Liberal Enlightenment Tradition and the Radical Enlightenment Tradition.
The Liberal Enlightenment Tradition
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Theory of human nature: Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were the leading thinkers of the liberal Enlightenment tradition. Hobbes wrote in the midst of the English Civil War jn the middle of the seventeenth century. During this period, parliament and the king were at war over the basis of sovereign power. The king claimed, citing divine right that the monarch was the sole legitimate sovereign and that Parliament was subordinate in authority to the king. Members of Parliament saw things the other way around, basing their claim on the rights of subjects and the interests of the people. Hobbes attempted to address the question about the basis of government by considering the basic forces that drive human nature and by asking what kind of association could form the foundation of a stable social life for creatures such as humans. He suggested that the basic drives of human nature were pleasure and pain. All of our actions are in one way or another aimed at obtaining the former and avoiding the latter. This means that even our higher ideals and moral values are merely disguised forms of selfishness. Furthermore, it meant that our selfishness was basically physical in nature. It is our bodies with their capacity for pleasure and pain that supply the ultimate motives for all human actions. Theory of society: Given that humans were basically driven by essentially selfish motives, one couldn't expect social order to be based on either a social instinct or any kind of concern for others. However, Hobbes suggested that the faculty of Reason, that all humans possess, enables us to curtail our more aggressive desires and to enter into a hypothetical social contract. Under the terms of this implicit agreement which all members of society knowingly or unknowingly accept, each of us agrees to obey the law and to submit ourselves to a sovereign power in whatever form, either kings or parliaments. In so doing we create conditions in which the unlimited desires which we all possess do not lead to a constant "war of every man against every man." In giving up our short-term interest in satisfying our need for pleasure, we gain a long-term security, which enhances our overall en-
joyment of life. So society becomes an arrangement of solitary, self-seeking individuals. The purpose of society is to serve the long-term interest of the individual and societies based on reason recognize and accept this fundamental feature of human nature.
John Locke (1632-1704)
John Locke essentially agreed with Hobbes about the basis of human nature and the purpose of government. However, Locke was inclined to think that we are not all out to get each other in the way that Hobbes suggested. From Locke's perspective, as long as we're taking care of our bodily needs through labor, we're inclined to leave each other alone. But, after "mankind found out the use, of money", Locke suggested that the industriousness of the few and the laziness of the many would lead to a situation where the legitimately unequal distribution of property that result from trade would lead to conflict. Therefore, government and with it, legitimate power, was necessary to protect property. The function of government, Locke suggested was to protect "life, liberty and property." (Jefferson borrowed and modified this phrase when he wrote the Declaration of Independence.) Theory of knowledge: Locke also developed a theory of knowledge that was similar to Hobbes' but played a larger role in his philosophy. According to Locke, all true knowledge of the world comes to us through our senses and is based upon experience. The mind at birth is, according to Locke a "blank slate" (tabula rasa is the Latin phrase that he used.) It is by comparing and contrasting our experiences that we build up a body of generalizations that constitutes the basis of true knowledge. This theory of knowledge, known as empiricism, was influenced by the scientific revolution and the discoveries that were being made by experimental forms of empirical research into the mechanism of nature, It opposed the idea that true knowledge comes to us through Scripture and divine revelation or through the unquestioned, inherited wisdom of our ancestors.
The Radical Enlightenment Tradition
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
Theory of human nature: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, writing in France in the middle of the eighteenth century, disagreed with both Hobbes and Locke on the question of human nature and the foundations of social order. Rousseau acknowledged that we are born with certain physical appetites that that are linked to our bodies, hunger, thirst, etc. But he denied that these appetites would automatically lead us into conflict with one another. Speaking of the natural condition of humanity he said, "Natural man after he has dined is at peace with the world and a friend to all his fellows." It is from the corruptions of society and civilization that we acquire false and artificial desires which get us into to trouble with each other. Furthermore, Rousseau believed that, in addition to our selfish inclinations, most people are born with a capacity he called "pity" by that he meant "a feeling of distress at the suffering of a being like ourselves." Pity is a natural reaction, a sentiment that is a part of our original nature. Theory of society: Rousseau believed that as we pass from childhood to adulthood, our nature changes. It's our social environment, not our biological nature, that can
turn us into corrupt, vain, out-for-ourselves creatures that Hobbes and Locke describe. But, under the influence of a proper moral education, our natural impulse of pity can be developed into a genuine interest in the well being of others and of the moral community of which we are members. Pity can be turned with the guidance of Reason into virtue. And virtue is the basis of all stable social orders. The social order that Hobbes and Locke see as the only possible form of association ignores a moral potential that is built into human nature, a potential that is there even though it is not always developed. Rousseau suggests that virtue is the basis of the only legitimate form of society, a democratic republic. Hobbes and Locke, think of a democracy as a form of government in which the respect for individual rights ensures that everyone will leave everyone else alone. Rousseau sees democracy as a form of moral association held together by a sense of public responsibility where citizens act together on behalf of the common good and are involved in each other's lives. While both of these traditions of thought are forms of Enlightenment philosophy, there are fundamental differences in them regarding human nature that lead to radically different ideas about social order.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Theory of knowledge: Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who was strongly influenced by Rousseau's philosophy in his ideas on morality. But Kant is also known for his startling and brilliant theories of knowledge. Kant opposed the lockean theory of knowledge and its radical empiricism. Kant's philosophy, subjective idealism pointed out that the human mind is far from a blank slate. On the contrary, human reason and logic appear to be a precondition for the acquisition of knowledge and not a consequence of that process. Kant suggested that the knowing subject's mind is like a computer in the sense that, for it to function at all it need a program. The program is what processes the data of experience. The program itself is not changed by the experience. Kant called this pre-existing logical structure of the human mind the a priori categories of experience (a priori means they are prior to and not the result of empirical experience). What is startling about Kant's ideas is that they suggest that there is no necessary correspondence between our ideas about the world and the world in itself. The world that we know is always the result of the process of knowing which is determined by both experience and the pre-existing structures of our mind. If that structure was different the world would be different or at least our knowledge of it. Kant insisted that we can never know what the world in itself is like, only what the world appears to be to us. However Kant insisted that since all humans are equipped with the same categories of the understanding, which he called pure reason, then the world would appear the same to all rational beings. This insight into the nature of our knowledge of reality is important when thinking about the variety of human cultures and the ways in which culture can provide us with a whole set of categories that condition our experience in the world. It is not as self-evident today, as it was to Kant that what we call "reason" is the same in every culture. We will come back to Kant when we consider the role of culture in constituting our worldview.
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
Mary Wollstonecraft was a political activist and member of a progressive English literary group. She is famous for her defense of the French Revolution against the attacks of English conservatives such as Edmund Burke and for her treatise "A Vindication of the Rights of Women." Wollstonecraft shared the Enlightenment view of the centrality of Reason in human life and of the ability of the individual to use his or her reason to question established authority, beliefs and practices. She went further than many Enlightenment philosophers, such as Rousseau, in applying the principles of critiques and reason to human institutions, especially to gender relations. Many Enlightenment philosophers, such as Rousseau, stopped short of their own principles when it came to women. Wollstonecraft insisted that the rights and responsibilities that characterized the male citizen were equally valid for females. Wollstonecraft was one of the first to suggest that strong gender biases operated within what claimed to be universalistic philosophies. She also suggested that gender and the ideas that promoted it involved a complex interrelationship between power and knowledge and that the claim to a superior capacity for knowledge on the part of men served to reinforce their superior social status relative to women. But Wollstonecraft also suggested that women had ways of getting even and could use the demeaning attitudes that men had towards them to their own advantage. In her attention to the differences in male and female education, she made us aware of the process of socialization and the many ways in which it operates to both perpetuate and undermine the values and norms of society. The problem of the relationship between power and knowledge and the complex forms that human inequality take were to become central themes of sociology. The Enlightenment's goal of liberating humanity from ignorance, blind dogma and unjust power led in many ways to new and more oppressive forms of domination. Wollstonecraft, while ardently promoting the ideals of human liberation, was nonetheless aware of the subtle, often hidden forms that power assumes and of the difficulties of overcoming unjust power in everyday life.
Georg Wilhelm Friederich Hegel (1770-1831)
The Philosophy of the German philosopher Hegel in many ways represented the pinnacle of Enlightenment thought. Hegel developed a theory of the relationship between spirit and nature which attempted to overcome the tension between the traditional doctrine of faith and the Enlightenment emphasis on reason. This involved a theory of ultimate reality. The JudeoChristian tradition viewed the world as the creation of a spiritual being, God. God and spirituality in general was the ultimate power that governed the world. Nature, the product of God's creation, was merely a transient phenomenon, destined to disappear in the Christian tradition with the Second Coming of Christ. Science, on the other hand, beginning in the seventeenth century, challenged this view of reality. From the scientific point of view, spirituality and the belief in spiritual forces, was a form of superstition. The only reality which science recognized was the causal reality of matter and motion which governed the scientific view of nature. Theory of ultimate reality: Hegel's rethinking of the relationship between spirit and nature involved seeing them as two aspects of human experience. Rather than seeing spirit or God, as separate from nature, as religious tradition claimed, Hegel claimed that spirit and nature, mind and matter, were intertwined with each other in a state of dynamic
or, as Hegel would put it, dialectical tension. The dialectic of spirit and nature operated both within us, in the inner relationship between our mental or spiritual life and the causal, biological forces of our bodies and outside of us in the relationship between the forces of external nature on the one hand and the spiritual reality of human culture on the other. History of human nature and of society: Furthermore, this relationship between spirit and nature has a history. There is the history of our own maturation as individual, finite spirits as w gain increasing insight, through the use of our reason, into the spiritual truth of our own nature. An there is the history of human culture that evolves from lower, more primitive forms of understanding of the relationship of spirit to nature to the higher forms of philosophical insight that characterized the Enlightenment in Europe. Hegel incorporated the Enlightenment ideal of progress into his philosophy by describing the variety of human cultures as stages in the emergence of Infinite Spirit in the world. So human society, like the human individual, can be seen as a dynamic whole in which the forces of appetite and aversion, pleasure and power which the liberal materialists saw as the determining powers of collective life, were intermixed with moral, spiritual forces such as freedom, justice and truth. For Hegel, the unity of society comprehended three distinct, but unified spheres of human action, 1) the family where the individual was connected to others through emotional ties of affection and blind obedience to the moral authority of tradition, 2) civil society, the sphere outside of the family of economic activity, self-seeking individualism and competitive enterprise regulated by abstract principles such as money and the forces of the market, and 3) the state, the sphere of political authority that ties the other two spheres together in a' spiritual unity in which moral freedom and social justice overcomes the local interests of the family and the selfish interests of the individual. What the sociological tradition owes to Hegel is the effort to think comprehensively about the nature of society and the meaning of human history. In addition, his theory of history involves an important attempt to understand the role of culture in the lives of individuals and societies.
Freedom, Equality and Domination in Hegel's Philosophy The Dialectic of the Lord and Bondsman
As an Enlightenment thinker, Hegel accepted the proposition that the goal of human history was the increase of moral freedom and individual moral equality in society. But he also attempted to account for the existence of human inequality as a stage of the unfolding of Spirit in the world. He sees the drive to inequality as a misguided, but inevitable stage of both our individual, psychological development and of cultural development in general. He postulates a need which individuals and cultures have to confirm the truth of their view of the world by having that truth recognized by beings like themselves, i.e., other humans and other cultures. This can lead to a struggle for recognition in which one culture conquers and dominates another and groups of individuals within society force other individuals to recognize their authority and accept their view of reality. Domination and human inequality therefore emerge out of a need we have as spiritual beings to achieve the recognition of our fellows and to impose that recognition, if necessary, on others. The paradox in all this is that only an equal can give us the recognition and confirmation that we desire. Therefore, when the lord and bondsman, the dominator and dominated, mutually-recognize each other's humanity and move beyond inequality, only then can each receive what they were looking for but could not find in the relationship of domination. Domination, therefore is a necessary, but transient stage of historical evolution. For Hegel, history is a process which moves from a society in which "one is free" (the Emper10
or, Pharaoh, etc.) to a society in which "all are free" (the modern state). Hegel therefore saw the overcoming of inequality as part of the unfolding of Spirit in nature. We move toward freedom and equality when our consciousness attains, in the course of our individual and collective history, a sufficient stage of enlightenment. The dialectic of domination and the view of history as evolving toward social equality were powerful influences on the thought of Karl Marx, the first social theorist we will consider.
The thinkers described above all reflected on the foundations of social life and social structure as part of an effort to comprehend the deep and extensive social changes that were occurring in their time. The demand for rational clarity and both theoretical and empirical evidence in their philosophies would eventually lead to the effort to establish a more systematic science of society and human nature toward the end of the nineteenth century. The most prominent thinkers in this effort were Karl Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim. But all of these sociologists were deeply influenced by the Enlightenment thinkers described above. And much of their efforts to establish sociology as a science were addressed to resolving many of the questions raised in the two Enlightenment traditions that began in the eighteenth century. It is also important to point out that these philosophies were not just a part of intellectual or academic culture. They were reflections of the institutional and cultural changes that were taking place at the time. We can see the traces of these philosophies in some of the readings we have already encountered. For instance, in the selections from Habits of the Heart, what Bellah, et. al. describe as the utilitarian individualist world view, is the everyday descendent of the moral principles found in Locke and Hobbes' philosophies. And the civic republican tradition owes much to Rousseau's theories of human nature. The theological tradition can, in many ways, be seen as an ongoing reaction (continuing to this day) against the Enlightenment idea that reason, rather than faith, should guide our actions.
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