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Hans Joas is one of the foremost social theorists in Germany today. Based on Joas’s celebrated study of George Herbert Mead, this work reevaluates the contribution of American pragmatism and European philosophical anthropology to theories of action in the social sciences. Joas also establishes direct ties between Mead’s work and approaches drawn from German traditions of philosophical anthropology.
Joas argues for adding a third model of action to the two predominant models of rational and normative action—one that emphasizes the creative character of human action. This model encompasses the other two, allowing for a more comprehensive theory of action. Joas elaborates some implications of his model for theories of social movements and social change and for the status of action theory in sociology in the face of competition from theories advanced by Luhmann and Habermas.
The problem of action is of crucial importance in both sociology and philosophy, and this book—already widely debated in Germany—will add fresh impetus to the lively discussions current in the English-speaking world.
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Hans Joas is one of the foremost social theorists in Germany today. In this outstanding book he outlines the fundamentals of a new theory of action, drawing on philosophical pragmatism. The work is based upon Joas's celebrated study of George Herbert Mead, but also establishes direct ties between Mead's work and approaches drawn from German traditions of philosophical anthropology.
A major feature of Joas's theory is an emphasis on the creative character of human action. Human activity is not coincidentally, but in a fundamental sense, creative. The work contains new discussions of the nature of human intentions, the embodied character of human action and the character of intersubjectivity.
About the Author:
The problem of action is of crucial importance in both sociology and philosophy, and this book adds fresh impetus to the lively discussions current in the English-speaking world.
Hans Joas is the Ernst Troeltsch Professor for the Sociology of Religion at the Humboldt University of Berlin and professor of sociology and social thought at the University of Chicago.
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