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1993 (15) Heft 1

James S. Coleman's Foundations of Social Theory II


Abstracts | Inhalt | Editorial

Peter M. Blau
Putting Coleman's Transition Right-Side Up

Abstract: Coleman states that social phenomena cannot be directly accounted for by their social antecedents without analyzing three intervening steps: what motives the antecedents create, how these affect individual behavior, and the transition from the acts of interdependent individuals to social phenomena. The last is most important. I agree, but Foundations has its causal link upside down. Reanalyzing some of his cases, I try to show that macrostructures are not the product of microfoundations but the existential conditions that circumscribe individuals, choices.

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Raimo Tuomela
Corporate Intention and Corporate Action

Abstract: This paper comments on Coleman's account of group action (or corporate action, in his terminology), and his view is compared with the present author's largely complementary view (e. g. Tuomela 1993). Some criticisms concerning Coleman's linear system of action are presented. One of the main points made is that a viable theory of social action must make use of a notion of joint intention and that Coleman's theory is deficient on this score.

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Andreas Diekmann
Sozialkapital und das Kooperationsproblem in sozialen Dilemmata

Abstract: Coleman's Foundations devotes much attention to the role of 'social capital' in solving problems of cooperation in dilemma situations. In contrast to the human capital approach, however, there is no stringent theory of social capital allowing for the deduction of empirically testable hypotheses from a set of general principles. This article demonstrates by means of various examples that social capital is an important exogenous factor inducing the evolution of cooperation and the stabilization of cooperation in N-person dilemmas. Some preliminary suggestions are made concerning the measurement of social capital and its ,rate of return, as a productive factor contributing to the cooperative solution in dilemma situations.

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Michael Baurmann
Rechte und Normen als soziale Tatsachen

Abstract: The concept of right plays a central role in Coleman's Foundations of Social Theory. It is defined as an empirical concept which refers to rights as social facts. One consequence of this view is according to Coleman that the normative-ethical question of how rights ought to be distributed can have no answer. The following article wants to show that this thesis is not convincing. The main focus of the article is a critical analysis of Coleman's theory of the relationship between rights and norms. It is argued that Coleman's 'right-based' approach to define the concept of norm-existence with the concept of right is not tenable. On the contrary only a 'norm-based' approach is adequate which bases the concept of right on the concept of norm. Some explanatory consequences of this alternative view are discussed and it is shown that on this ground Coleman's attack on normative ethics can be rejected.

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James S. Coleman
Reply to Blau, Tuomela, Diekmann and Baurmann

Abstract: This reply responds to four authors in this issue of ANALYSE & KRITIK. I find disagreements with Peter Blau being of a lesser degree than he sees them, though I emphasize the micro-macro relation through which actions combine to produce systemic outcomes, while he emphasizes the effect of social structure upon individuals. Raimo Tuomela exposites a concept of group action which has some differences from my concept of corporate action, but many similarities. Andreas Diekmann examines in detail the problems of collective action toward provision of a public good. From Foundations he makes use of the concept of social capital, showing how with further development it might prove analytically useful; I encourage this direction of work. Michael Baurmann wants to lay a foundation of norms in place of the rights foundation which I develop. While I reject this shift, I largely accept his critique of my position regarding normative theory.

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Michael Taylor
Cooperation, Norms, and Moral Motivation

Abstract: It has been said that norms can solve collective action problems. To endorse a norm is to hold a normative belief. This article insists that we try to isolate moral motivation - motivation by moral belief - as such, and that its existence cannot be taken for granted. Accepting the Humean view that belief alone cannot motivate, the article rejects the thesis that there is a necessary or conceptual connection between moral belief and motivation; it warns that in looking for motivational powers or effects of normative belief we must take care to rule out the possibility that the motivation is merely derived from existing desires; and it argues that deliberation and evaluation do not produce desires purely out of beliefs. These considerations are among the necessary preliminaries to getting clear about the role of 'social capital' in solving collective action problems.

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Diskussion / Discussion

Tariq Modood
Kymlicka on British Muslims

Abstract: Will Kymlicka has recently (in ANALYSE & KRITIK 14) argued that western liberals are mistaken in assuming that religious pluralism presupposes a commitment to individual rights. He instances the millet system of the Ottoman Empire as a successful form of toleration based on group rather than individual rights. In the course of his argument he makes some remarks about British Muslims and arranged marriages, sexual segregation in education and the Rushdie Affair which are false or highly misleading though typical of the prejudice-cum-ignorance with which British and other intellectuals discuss Muslims.

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Will Kymlicka
Reply to Modood

Abstract: In reply to Dr. Modood, I re-examine two examples where recent British Muslim demands conflict with liberal-democratic norms. Such conflicts are not unique to Muslims, but arise with most religious communities.

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Tariq Modood
Kymlicka on British Muslims: A Rejoinder

Abstract: I accept Kymlicka's admission that his remarks on arranged marriages and sex-segregated education were misleading, and continue to contest his description of British Muslim perspectives on the Rushdie Affair. By not recognising that Muslims are adapting to western legal systems and political culture he contributes to a polarisation and fails to see that liberals do have something to be optimistic about.

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