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From Ideas to Ideals

Effervescence as the Key to Understanding Morality

Raquel Weiss

Keywords: Durkheim; effervescence; ideal; formes elementaires; morality; the sacred

My main aim is to show that Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse is a crucial work for understanding Durkheim's moral theory. A fundamental point is that he locates the 'ideal' at the core of morality. Accordingly, explaining the genesis of morality depends on establishing how he conceptualizes the ideal and traces its origins. Searching for the deepest roots of the ideal - basically understood as a sacred idea - takes us to the work's key concern with effervescence, and to issues it raises in the case of the modern world.

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