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 …

Rethinking Cultural Depth

The issue of whether some culture is “deep” versus “shallow” has been a thorny one in both classical and contemporary theory. The basic argument is that for some piece of culture to have the requisite effects (e.g., direct action) then it must be incorporated at some requisite level of depth. …

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 …

A Typology of Cultural Practices

In a post-Bourdieu world, it is quite uncontroversial to think of practices as bona fide cultural kinds, with some analysts speaking unabashedly of “cultural practices” as possibly the most important type of cultural phenomenon in the social and human sciences (e.g., Reckwitz 2002; Sewell 2005; Swidler 2001). This means that …

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 …

Image Schemas: The Physics of Cultural Knowledge?

Recent posts by Omar (see here and here) discuss the importance of specifying underlying philosophical claims when conceptualizing culture. The first post distinguishes ontic philosophical claims (about the nature of an entity/process) from epistemic philosophical claims (about the best way to gain knowledge about an entity/process), noting that “a lot …

Hierarchical versus dimensional taxonomies of cultural kinds

Hierarchies versus Dimensions: Let them Fight! A new collection of essays on autobiographical memory (Organization and Structure of Autobiographical Memory, edited by John Mace), provides a state of the art overview of the most recent work on this form of memory. Chapters range across the board, including contributions from a …

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