When Viruses Spread Social Contagion: What Covid-19 Teaches Us About Social Life

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought much grief and anxiety to the world. As deaths from the coronavirus mount and the invisible foe brings wealthy, technologically advanced societies to their knees, the world has learned not to underestimate the shocks viruses can deliver. The present outbreak’s implications are far-reaching to say the least—the …

An Argument for False Consciousness

Philosophers generally discuss belief-formation in one of two ways: internalist and externalist. Both arguments are concerned with the justification of the beliefs that a given agent purports to have. Internalists and externalists dispute the kinds of justification that can be given to a belief, in order to lend or detract …

Habitus and Learning to Learn: Part III

Language, Habitus, and Cultural Cognition The recasting of habitus as a neuro-cognitive structure conducive to learning opens up promising avenues otherwise foreclosed in traditional cultural theory (see here and here for previous discussion). However, it also opens up some analytical difficulties, especially when it comes to the role of language …

Practice Theory versus Problem-Solving

In 2009, Neil Gross argued that the critique of action as a calculation of means to ends, which had been ongoing for at least the prior thirty years, had been successful. Not only that, the insistence that “action-theoretical assumptions necessarily factor into every account of social order and change and …

On the Nature of Habit

Recently, however, some philosophers have begun to pay attention to habits. An example is a series of papers by Bill Pollard starting in the mid-aughts (Pollard, 2006a, 2006b), and more recently Steve Matthews (2017). Pollard tackles some fundamental issues arguing (positively) for habit-based explanations of action as a useful addendum (if …

Folk Psychology and Legal Responsibility

If folk psychology is false, is legal responsibility dead? If legal responsibility is dead, is everything permitted? Maybe not, but such questions have received growing attention in the legal field, as the field confronts the prospect of an emergent “neuro-law.” Neuroscience challenges the unacknowledged background of commitments to theories of …

Making Ontology Practical

Questions of ontology have gathered an audience in sociology over the past decade, particularly as galvanized (pro or con) by the critical realist movement (Gorski 2013). Such an influence is to be welcomed: ontology constitutes an improvement in the way that traditional issues are discussed and debated in the field. …

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