Action and the Question of the Categories

A Critique of Rawls

in Durkheimian Studies
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  • 1 British Centre for Durkheimian Studies suestedman@googlemail.com

Durkheim's account of the categories is re-examined, in a critique of the fundamentally mistaken and philosophically uninformed interpretation put forward in Rawls's Epistemology and Practice (2004). This converts Durkheim into a pragmatist, even a behaviourist, more or less reducing conscience to an epiphenomenon of sounds, movements, and socially generated raw emotions. She bypasses the key role of representations and symbols, while her emphasis on collective 'forces' ignores Durkheim's concern with power as puissance and with the creativity of an effervescent fusion of energies. Thus action is central to his account of the categories, but not in the terms offered by Rawls. For action involves the full range of the functions of conscience. And these come into play through the power of representations and symbols, as an integral part of a whole creative fusion of energies and consciences in the 'dynamogenics' of collective action.

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Durkheimian Studies

Études Durkheimiennes

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