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From Act to Fact

The Transformation of Suicide in Western Thought

Daniel Gordon

Abstract

The article is about the moral debate over suicide, from Augustine to the present. It assesses critically the transformation of a humanistic debate into a scientific one. Among the figures who receive detailed attention are Augustine, Montaigne, Donne, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Durkheim.

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The Voice of History within Sociology

Robert Nisbet on Structure, Change, and Autonomy

Daniel Gordon

The conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet developed a theory that history is needed to supplement sociology. According to Nisbet, the chiefagents of historical change are the state and war. Sociologists tend to exaggerate the importance of internal or"endogenous" factors when explaining change. The article highlights the relationships between key topics— such as conservatism, medievalism, community, universities, the state, and war—in Nisbet's thought.

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Daniel Gordon

Using a comparative method, this article explores the reasons for the absence of a legal ban on Muslim headscarves in the United States. Study of France reveals a culture that values "public space" and "citizenship." The United States places more value on the generic concept of "religion" as the unifying bond among individuals, even of different religious groupings. Cross-religious sympathy is a distinctive feature of American culture and reflected in legal briefs to the Supreme Court. The article suggests that legal concepts are not merely reflections of social institutions but are important social facts in themselves.