A Taxonomy of Artifactual (Cultural) Kinds

In previous posts, I made a broad distinction between the two “families” of cultural kinds. This distinction was based on the way they fundamentally interact with people. Some cultural kinds do their work because they can be learned or internalized by people. Other cultural kinds do their work not because …

Thick and Thin Belief

Knowledge and Belief A (propositional) knowledge (that) ascription logically entails a belief ascription, right? I mean if I think that Sam knows that Joe Biden is the president of the United States, I don’t need to do further research into Sam’s state of mind or behavioral manifestations to conclude that they …

Varieties of Implicitness in Cultural-Cognitive Kinds

In a previous post, I addressed some issues in applying the property of “implicitness” to cultural kinds. There I made two points; first, unlike other ontological properties considered (e.g., concerning location or constitution), implicitness is a relational property. That is, when we say a cultural kind is implicit, we presume that there is …

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 …

Durkheimian Sociology and its Discontents, Part II: Why Culture, Social Psychology, & Emotions Matter to Suicide

In a previous post, I argued that despite its importance and “classical” status, sociologists have not contributed to the study of suicide as much as they could. While Anna Mueller and I have yet to posit a general or formal theoretical statement on suicide, in this post, I attempt to …

Durkheimian Sociology and its Discontents: Why its Time for a New Sociology of Suicide

Since Durkheim showed that certain social structural factors, external to the individual, had a strong positive relationship to variation in suicide rates, sociologists have maintained the argument that suicide is caused by social forces and, therefore, is a phenomenon squarely in the domain of sociology. Yet, western medical professionals (Marsh …

To Feel or Not to Feel? That is No Longer the Question

It is highly likely that most readers recall learning about Phineas Gage, a railroad worker who, in 1848, had the misfortune of having a 3.5 inch, 13+ lb. metal rod (with a diameter of 1 ¼ inches) impale him. The rod went through his open mouth, behind his left eye, …

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