The Logic of Society

The Logic of Society: A Philosophical Study

LAIRD ADDIS
Copyright Date: 1975
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 236
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttt6g2
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  • Book Info
    The Logic of Society
    Book Description:

    The Logic of Society was first published in 1975. In recent years challenges have arisen from various quarters, even within analytic philosophy itself, to the positivist conception of science, especially in its application to history and other social sciences. From a neo-positivist viewpoint Professor Addis attempts to meet some of these challenges. Underlying his work are the beliefs that every even that occurs, including human choices and actions, is capable of being given an explanation of the hypothetico-deductive sort, that the task of all the sciences therefore is the search for knowledge of a lawful kind, and that this knowledge is to be had only by methods which are similar throughout the sciences. The author’s neo-positivism is qualified in various ways: among others by an insistence on the necessity of a metaphysical basis for the philosophy of history and other social sciences and the contention that none of the social sciences, at least as their limits of investigation are usually conceived, can expect ever to have theories of the scope and reliability of the most highly developed sciences. The chapters deal with several traditional and contemporary issues in the philosophy of history and social sciences. Among them are the nature of social reality, the possibility of reducing sociological explanations to psychological explanations, the limits and possibilities of social theory, historical explanation, and historicism and the laws of historical development. Thinker whose ideas are given substantial treatment are Durkheim, Marx, Ortega y Gasset, Popper, Plamenatz, and MacIntyre. Other theorists who are discussed critically include Sartre, Lenin, Hook, Brodbeck, and Donagan.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5509-0
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-2)
  3. I Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    In recent years there have arisen from several quarters, even within analytic philosophy itself, various challenges to the “positivist” conception of science, especially in its application to history and the social sciences. With several qualifications, the present essay may be described as a positivist’s attempt to meet some of those challenges. Some of my reservations will be indicated in the first section of this chapter,general frame of reference. Then I shall outline in a few paragraphs thethemes of the essay.This introductory chapter is, finally, the appropriate place to take care ofsome matters of ontology.

    One recent...

  4. II Philosophy of Science
    (pp. 11-22)

    An adequate philosophy of society presupposes an adequate philosophy of science. Yet it does not require a treatise on the subject or anything like an exhaustive treatment of it, whatever that would be. Some of the subject's most common themes, such as axiomatization, the “theoretical” entities of quantum physics, and the so-called problem of induction, can be ignored altogether. Other matters, such as the notion of statistical laws, the nature of dispositions, and the structure of scientific theories, require some consideration but not of the sort one might expect to find in a book on the philosophy of science. These...

  5. III Minds, Beliefs, and Actions
    (pp. 23-37)

    In the next chapter it will be argued that all social objects including society itself are nothing but certain properties of and relations between and among individual human beings (and perhaps other “individual” objects). Even for one who disagrees it may still be maintained that a philosophical theory of certain aspects of human beings, primarily those deriving from the fact that we have minds, is both a constituent of and in part preliminary to an adequate philosophy of society. I need only mention the issues of the extent to which we can shape our destinies and of the nature of...

  6. IV Reduction — The Nature Social Objects
    (pp. 38-54)

    Although the issue of reduction has received much attention in the literature in recent years, it is, nevertheless, one which, at least in the case of the social sciences, no one has taken apart thoroughly.¹ In this and the next chapter I propose to approximate that undertaking, limited here by the merely pedantic, there by the extent of actual empirical knowledge, and elsewhere, no doubt, by my own imagination. The first section of this chapter gives a systematic reason, in addition to that of convenience of format, for breaking the material into two chapters. In this chapter our main concern,...

  7. V Reduction — The Nature of Social Explanations
    (pp. 55-74)

    Descriptive individualism entails reduction in the weak sense. This we saw in the last chapter. But those who speak of reducing sociology to psychology typically have something more ambitious in mind than “mere” definitional reduction. Roughly what is conceived is that the “new” laws of psychology — those “former” laws of sociology to which, so to speak, definitional reduction has been applied — should be deducible from the “old” laws of psychology. This is the idea of explanatory reduction or reduction in the strong sense. What are the conditions which must obtain for this deduction to take place? I shall attempt to...

  8. VI History and Social Laws
    (pp. 75-93)

    This chapter may, in some respects, be considered the most important of this book. For one thing, it spells out in detail my commitment to the deterministic frame of reference and the idea of lawful explanations of human affairs. For another, it indicates, in light of what shall have gone before, what kinds of lawful knowledge of society are possible and likely to be discovered. I have found it useful to pursue these matters, at least initially, in the context of an issue which has received a good deal of attention in recent years — that of the nature of historical...

  9. VII Laws of Historical Development
    (pp. 94-111)

    The problem of the possible existence and status of what I shall call laws of historical development continues to intrigue philosophical analysts as well as political thinkers and actors. One recent attempt to provide an analysis of such laws is Mandelbaum’s “Societal Laws.”¹ I mention that article because this chapter in large measure has it as its starting point and in order to acknowledge my debt to it once and for all. More exactly what I shall do in this chapter is to introduce my topic properly by presenting ageneral characterization of laws of historical developmentalong with a...

  10. VIII Monistic Theories of Society
    (pp. 112-136)

    There are several ways in which one might approach a discussion of monistic theories of society, but I propose to do it as follows. After some briefintroductory comments,I shall undertake a logical analysis ofmonistic theories abstractly considered. That will involve listing the possible meanings and implications of the statement that from a given set of variables, one of them is the sole determining or most important one, whatever the empirical content of the variables may be. Next I shall apply this analysis to social theory under the heading ofmonistic social theories,for there are, as one...

  11. IX Ideas and Society
    (pp. 137-158)

    To a certain extent both this and the next chapter are concerned with the relation of a person to society. But whereas the next chapter takes up the issue of the specific and possibly unique influence a single person might have on history, this chapter is concerned with the somewhat narrower issue of the relation of ideas to society. Even so there will be some overlap. For the points I wish to make, I have found it most useful, though admittedly a bit strange, to organize the sections of this chapter under the following headings:ideas as reflections’, ideas and...

  12. X The Individual, Freedom, and Purpose in History
    (pp. 159-177)

    Whereas the preceding chapter dealt primarily with how ideas considered as something mental and intentional have their effects in history, the present one is concerned for the most part with how in general a person does or can affect society. The most important issue I shall take up in this chapter is an old one — the “role of the individual in history.” Actually, as we shall shortly see, it is a set of issues, sometimes confused with one another. But this chapter is also the most appropriate place for me to have my say about the related notions of freedom...

  13. XI Abstract Marxism
    (pp. 178-202)

    Although providing a very convenient way of summarizing most of the main topics of this book, this final chapter nevertheless takes up some new materials in its own right. I have labeled my topic asabstractMarxism, because while it is Marxism I intend to talk about, I shall not discuss the actual empirical content of Marx’s social theories in anything like a systematic manner. Broadly speaking, one might say that I shall concentrate on the “formal” or “structural” characteristics of the theory of society called historical materialism. But it will also be useful to my tasks if I first...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 203-211)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 212-214)
  16. Index
    (pp. 217-226)