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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

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Observations on Modernity (Writing Science)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This collection of five essays by Germanys most prominent and influential social thinker both links Luhmanns social theory to the question “What is modern about modernity?” and shows the origins and context of his theory.

In the introductory essay, “Modernity in Contemporary Society,” Luhmann develops the thesis that the modern epistemological situation can be seen as the consequence of a radical change in social macrostructures that he calls “social differentiation,” thereby designating the juxtaposition of and interaction between a growing number of social subsystems without any hierarchical structure. “European Rationality” defines rationality as the capacity to see the difference between systems and their environment as a unity. Luhmann argues that, in a world characterized by contingency, rationality tends to become coextensive with imagination, a view that challenges their classical binary opposition and opens up the possibility of seeing modern rationality as a paradox.

In the third essay, “Contingency as Modern Societys Defining Attribute,” Luhmann develops a further and probably even more important paradox: that the generalization of contingency or cognitive uncertainty is precisely what provides stability within modern societies. In the process, he argues that medieval and early modern theology can be seen as a “preadaptive advance” through which Western thinking prepared itself for the modern epistemological situation. In “Describing the Future,” Luhmann claims that neither the traditional hope of learning from history nor the complementary hope of cognitively anticipating the future can be maintained, and that the classical concept of the future should be replaced by the notion of risk, defined as juxtaposing the expectation of realizing certain projects and the awareness that such projects might fail. The book concludes with “The Ecology of Ignorance,” in which Luhmann outlines prospective research areas “for sponsors who have yet to be identified.”

Synopsis:

This volume by Germany's most prominent and influential social thinker provides an introduction to his social theory, and then puts it into the context of the question, 'What is modern about modernity'.

Synopsis:

Essays by Germany's most prominent and influential social thinker link his social theory to the question "What is modern about modernity?" and shows the origins and context of his theory.

Synopsis:

This collection of five essays by Germany's most prominent and influential social thinker both links Luhmann's social theory to the question 'What is modern about modernity?' and shows the origins and context of his theory. In the introductory essay, 'Modernity in contemporary society', Luhmann develops the thesis that the modern epistemological situation can be seen as the consequence of a radical change in social macrostructures that he calls 'social differentiation'. 'European rationality' argues that, in a world characterized by contingency, rationality tends to become coextensive with imagination, a view that opens up the possibility of seeing modern rationality as a paradox. In 'Contingency as modern society's defining attribute', Luhmann develops a further and probably even more important paradox: that the generalization of contingency or cognitive uncertainty is precisely what provides stability within modern societies. In 'Describing the future', Luhmann claims that neither the traditional hope of learning from history nor the complementary hope of cognitively anticipating the future can be maintained, and that the classical concept of the future should be replaced by the notion of risk. The book concludes with 'The ecology of ignorance', in which Luhmann outlines prospective research areas 'for sponsors who have yet to be identified'.

Synopsis:

A volume by Germany's most prominent and influential social thinker.

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Modernity in contemporary society; 2. European rationality; 3. Contingency as modern society's defining attribute; 4. Describing the future; 5. The ecology of ignorance; Notes.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780804732352
Translator:
Whobrey, William
Author:
Whobrey, William
Author:
Lenoir, Timothy
Author:
Luhmann, Niklas
Author:
Gumbrecht, Hans Ulrich
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
Location:
Stanford, CA :
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Sociology
Subject:
Sociology - Social Theory
Subject:
Postmodernism -- Social aspects.
Subject:
General Social Science
Edition Number:
1
Edition Description:
1
Series:
Writing Science (Paperback)
Publication Date:
19980731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » Literary and Cultural Studies

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Product details 160 pages Stanford University Press - English 9780804732352 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , This volume by Germany's most prominent and influential social thinker provides an introduction to his social theory, and then puts it into the context of the question, 'What is modern about modernity'.
"Synopsis" by ,
Essays by Germany's most prominent and influential social thinker link his social theory to the question "What is modern about modernity?" and shows the origins and context of his theory.
"Synopsis" by , This collection of five essays by Germany's most prominent and influential social thinker both links Luhmann's social theory to the question 'What is modern about modernity?' and shows the origins and context of his theory. In the introductory essay, 'Modernity in contemporary society', Luhmann develops the thesis that the modern epistemological situation can be seen as the consequence of a radical change in social macrostructures that he calls 'social differentiation'. 'European rationality' argues that, in a world characterized by contingency, rationality tends to become coextensive with imagination, a view that opens up the possibility of seeing modern rationality as a paradox. In 'Contingency as modern society's defining attribute', Luhmann develops a further and probably even more important paradox: that the generalization of contingency or cognitive uncertainty is precisely what provides stability within modern societies. In 'Describing the future', Luhmann claims that neither the traditional hope of learning from history nor the complementary hope of cognitively anticipating the future can be maintained, and that the classical concept of the future should be replaced by the notion of risk. The book concludes with 'The ecology of ignorance', in which Luhmann outlines prospective research areas 'for sponsors who have yet to be identified'.
"Synopsis" by , A volume by Germany's most prominent and influential social thinker.
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