Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture

Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture

by Christian Smith
     
 

ISBN-10: 0199731977

ISBN-13: 9780199731978

Pub. Date: 08/26/2009

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

"Smith suggests that human beings have a peculiar set of capacities and proclivities that distinguishes them significantly from other animals on this planet. Despite the vast differences in humanity between cultures and across history, no matter how differently people narrate their lives and histories, there remains an underlying structure of human personhood that…  See more details below

Overview

"Smith suggests that human beings have a peculiar set of capacities and proclivities that distinguishes them significantly from other animals on this planet. Despite the vast differences in humanity between cultures and across history, no matter how differently people narrate their lives and histories, there remains an underlying structure of human personhood that helps to order human culture, history, and narration. Drawing on important recent insights in moral philosophy, epistemology, and narrative studies, Smith argues that humans are animals with an inescapable moral and spiritual dimension. They cannot avoid a fundamental moral orientation in life, and this, says Smith, has profound consequences for how sociology must study human beings. Similarly, humans cannot escape living by one or another sacred narrative, and this too has important implications for sociology. Along the way, Smith advances a sustained critique of rational choice theory, sociobiology, and other accounts of human social life drawn from the naturalistic, antimentalist, noncultural tradition of Western social theory as badly misunderstanding the character of the human animal. By contrast, this work argues that all people are at bottom believers whose lives, actions, and institutions are constituted, motivated, and governed by narrative traditions and moral orders on which they inescapably depend." This approach - which has profound consequences for how we think about knowledge, culture, social action, institutions, religion, and the task of the social sciences - will be of interest to scholars in sociology, social theory, religious and cultural studies, psychology, and anthropology.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199731978
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
08/26/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
172
Sales rank:
402,593
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

1Introduction3
2Human Culture(s) as Moral Order(s)7
3Believing Animals45
4Living Narratives63
5On Religion95
6The Return of Culture?125
7Conclusion147
Index159

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