Who Is Ill When a Society Is Ill?
Hirvonen, O. (2021). Who Is Ill When a Society Is Ill?. In N. Harris (Ed.), Pathology Diagnosis and Social Research : New Applications and Explorations (pp. 141-162). Palgrave Macmillan. Political Philosophy and Public Purpose. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-70582-4_6
Published inPolitical Philosophy and Public Purpose
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This chapter gives an overview of four different approaches to social pathologies, which are present in contemporary critical social theory, and analyses their social-ontological commitments. The different approaches can be divided into two camps. The ‘thin sense’ of social pathology focuses on social wrongs, and the socially caused and pervasive suffering of individuals. The ‘thick sense’ of social pathology, in turn, claims that society is its own entity, or a whole, which can be ill. This chapter discloses the ontological commitments behind different conceptions of social pathology in order to highlight what difference these commitments make in relation to the critical potential of social theory. The chapter finishes with an outline of a critical social ontology.
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