Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory


"Siegwart Lindenberg"

Titel: Social Rationality, Semi-Modularity and Goal-Framing: What Is It All About?
Autor: Siegwart Lindenberg
Seite: 669-687

’Our ability to selectively engage and disengage our moral standards [...] helps explain how people can be barbarically cruel in one moment and compassionate the next.’ (Albert Bandura)

Abstract: Human beings are not general problem solvers. Their mental architecture is modular and the microfoundations for the social sciences have to take that into consideration. Modularity means that there are hardwired and softwired functionally specific subroutines, such as face recognition and habits that make the individual particularly sensitive to a narrow range of information from both inside and outside. Goals are the most important creators of modules that contain both hard- and softwired submodules. Goals determine what we attend to, what information we are sensitive to, what information we neglect, what chunks of knowledge and what concepts are being activated at a given moment, what we like and dislike, what criteria for goal achievement are being applied, etc. Overarching goals govern large classes of submodules, and therefore the social sciences have to deal especially with these overarching goals. Three such overarching goals are identified: hedonic, gain, and normative goals. At every given moment one of them is focal (a goal-frame) and self-regulation is the process by which humans balance the dominance of goal-frames. In turn, self-regulation (here seen as the heart of ’social rationality’), depends much on social circumstances that are open to sociological investigation.

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