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Volume 38, 2021
Thirty Years of ProtoSociology

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1. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Gerhard Preyer, Georg Peter, Reuss-Markus Krausse

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philosophy acquaintance, phenomenal intentionality, pre-reflective consciousness

2. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Joseph Levine

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Phenomenal consciousness comprises both qualitative character and subjectivity. The former provides the proprietary contents of conscious experiences – determining what they are like – and the latter is that feature that renders those contents “for the subject”, so there is something it is like at all. I have developed a theory of consciousness as “acquaintance” which I dub the “Cartesian Theater” model, on which there is a fundamental psycho-physical law that takes the output of cognitive and perceptual systems as input and yields overall conscious experience as output. This model entails epiphenomenalism regarding phenomenal properties, which, I argue, presents a specific problem regarding our epistemic position with respect to this very theory. I develop a line of thought that seeks to disarm this challenge, relying to a large extent on a certain way of understanding both subjectivity itself and also cognitive phenomenology.
3. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
David Henderson, Terry Horgan, Matjaž Potrč, Vojko Strahovnik

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We argue that introspection reveals a ubiquitous aspect of conscious experience that hitherto has been largely unappreciated in philosophy of mind and in cognitive science: conscious appreciation of a large body of background information, and of the holistic relevance of this information to a cognitive task that is being consciously undertaken, without that information being represented by any conscious, occurrent, intentional mental state. We call this phenomenon chromatic illumination. We begin with a phenomenological case study, involving an experience of joke-understanding in which the conscious aspect of chromatic illumination is especially vivid. Then we offer an account of the prototypical causal role of conscious intentional states (mental states that consciously represent their intentional contents), and we offer a contrasting account of the somewhat different prototypical causal role of conscious chromatic-illumination features of conscious intentional states. Finally, we describe the specific kind of physical-to-mental supervenience situation that needs to obtain in order for a chromatically illuminated conscious intentional state to figure as a supervenient mental cause that exerts both kinds of prototypical, content-appropriate, reasons-guidance vis-a-vis one’s cognition and behavior.
4. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Stefan Lang

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In recent years, interest in pre-reflective self-consciousness (inner awareness) has increased significantly. One of the central points of inquiry is whether pre-reflective self-consciousness ubiquitously accompanies phenomenal consciousness. This paper explores a phenomenological justification for the thesis that pre-reflective self-consciousness ubiquitously accompanies phenomenal consciousness (ubiquity thesis). Allegedly, the ubiquity of pre-reflective self-consciousness can be proved on the basis of phenomenological description. The aim of this paper is to develop a new objection against this justification of the ubiquity thesis.

reference of names, semantic values, speaker intention, practical sentences

5. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Una Stojnić, Ernie Lepore

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Our focus is in this paper is in answering the question what is required of interlocutors in order for them to pick up a word, and use/apply it successfully. Putting our cards on the table, our answer will be not much.
6. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Jeffrey C. King

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Lots of contextually sensitive expressions appear to have context invariant meanings that do not by themselves suffice to secure semantic values for those expressions in context. For example, suppose I say 1. She is smart. where I do not demonstrate any female, I don’t intend that some female is the semantic value of my use of ‘she’, no female is uniquely salient in the context of utterance, and no female has been under discussion. It would appear in such a case that the context invariant meaning of ‘she’ does not secure a semantic value in context for my use of ‘she’, resulting in infelicity. After all, what would that semantic value in context be? This appears to show that the context invariant meaning of ‘she’ does not by itself secure semantic values in context for it. The class of expressions that are like ‘she’ in this respect is quite large. It arguably includes simple and complex demonstratives, tense, expressions taking implicit arguments (‘Molly is ready.’), gradable adjectives, quantifiers, ‘only’, possessives, conditionals, modals and more. I call these expressions supplementives to highlight the fact that their context invariant meanings need to be supplemented in context for them to secure semantic values in context. I claim that supplementives differ from each other in the following two ways: 1. The degree to which normal speakers are explicitly aware that the expression is contextually sensitive. 2. The degree to which ordinary speakers are explicitly aware of what sort of semantic value in context the expression takes. I hold the view that semantic values in context for supplementives are fixed by recognizable speaker intentions. However, I argue that given the differences between supplementives with respect to 1 and 2, the intentions fixing the semantic values in context of supplementives that differ with respect to 1 and 2 will themselves be different, while still all being speaker intentions that some entity o be the semantic value of the use of the supplementive in context.
7. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Gerhard Seel

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Following Richard M. Hare1 I think that we use practical sentences as decision criteria. We understand their meaning if we know what decision to take according to them. But it is not clear, how exactly decision criteria are related to decisions and how they function as criteria. To fully understand this role, we need a formal semantics of practical sentences. For this I have to introduce a formal language and give an interpretation of it. This language has to be constructed in such a way that a translation into ordinary language is always possible in principle. Thus, we make sure that our semantics and logic will have an impact on the solution of concrete practical problems. According to this program I will first introduce the formal language ‘LP1’. To give an interpretation of it I will then clarify what a decision is and show how practical sentences function as decision criteria. On this basis I give an interpretation of the primitive two-place operator ‘PT p,q’ and the one-place operator ‘VTp’. I further argue that we make meta-decisions concerning the application of first-order decision-criteria. This allows me to introduce a new concept of practical validity, which differs radically from the concept of truth. Using this concept, I then give an interpretation of the deontic operators ‘OTp’, ‘FTp’, ‘ATp’ and ‘ITp’. The concept of practical validity makes it also possible to introduce practical logical connectors and mixed logical connectors on the basis of practical or mixed value tables. These connectors are used – among others – in bridge-principles, which play an important role in ethical and juridical theories. Finally, I shortly explain the semantics of the main kinds of practical sentences, i.e. value judgments, imperatives, norms and intentions, and I argue that we need a deontic logic in order to use practical sentences in a correct way.

sociology, multiple modernities, and concepts of globalization

8. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Judit Bokser Liwerant

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The diverse and paradoxical nature of globalization processes has given rise to new social constellations that shape transnational, national and local spaces. The historicity of identities, their past and present conditions, the changes they went through, the ways they influence the feeling of full membership in a community and the differentiation derived from cultural diversity and pluralism underscore the need for revisiting theoretical explorations. This paper addresses past and present social, cultural and religious processes in an era of transformations derived from the complexity of today’s interconnected world and on the light of historical encounters. The need for revising the singularity of social and cultural trajectories and the religious trends gravitating in society is approached through snapshots of a twofold historical encounter: between Modernity and Latin America, and between Judaism and Modernity. Both express entrenched dilemmas of the binaries periphery-center and universal-particular. While one of them raised the issue of the dominant program of Modernity as a Western project, the other was entailed in the assumptions of one hegemonic religious constellation.
9. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Roland Robertson

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Set in the immediate context of the recent UN conference on climate change (COP 2021) in Glasgow and the sudden emergence of the variant, Omicron, this paper involves discussion of the present state of discourse concerning globalization in the broadest sense. It begins by contrasting the approaches and substance of two specific books: Globalization Matters by Manfred Steger and Paul James and Grave New World by Stephen King. The difference between the two books is brought into sharp relief by the economism of the book by King and the multidimensionality of the volume by Steger and James. More generally, these recent books are chosen because they are almost complete opposites, the central difference being the adamant optimism about globalization in Globalization Matters and the extreme pessimism and negativity in Grave New World. It is also very important to emphasize the wide ranging and penetrative character of Globalization Matters compared with the latter. Also invoked is recent and very significant work by Dipesh Chakrabarty. Two themes are claimed here to be neglected, namely global history and the concept of glocalization. Attention is also drawn to the crucial omission of the fact that much of globalization talk began in the fields of religious study and theology. The disparity between these two latter fields of study and mainstream social science and conventional history is given attention. The contributions of other crucial commentators to the overall debate, Lovelock and Latour, are also invoked. The focus by Steger and James, on the one hand, and Chakrabarty on the other, on the Anthropocene is given attention. Overall, the article concludes by placing the global-local problematic at the centre of what is called here globalization discourse.
10. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Barrie Axford

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In this essay I preface a discussion of “indifferent” globality, as seen in the agency of microbes and smart machines, and populism as an exemplar of tensions in local-global entanglements, with a brief excursus on the what exercises current scholarship on the global. The whole is written with Protosociology’s 30 year engagement with hard questions in social theory in mind.

studies about contemporary societies

11. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Jan Nederveen Pieterse

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Covid data show that wealth is not health. What then are the major variables that affect public health in the Covid–19 pandemic? Based on onsite research in 26 countries across the world this paper singles out three variables – knowledge, state capability and social cooperation. If one of these is dysfunctional or absent Covid–19 performance suffers. The variables work best in combination. Under consideration are three phases of Covid–19 – virus control, vaccines, and the race with variants. Which types of society best combine these variables? Comparing varieties of market economies – liberal, coordinated and state-led market economies (with four variants), Covid–19 data indicate that coordinated and developmental state-led market economies tend to generate the best combination of variables and public health outcomes, and liberal market economies and rightwing populist countries produce the worst combination. Comparative Covid–19 research points to the limitations of macro theories and methodological nationalism, the importance of the unit of analysis and the database, and how variables interact. At a time when multiple crises interact it leads to reflection on glaring limitations of global governance.
12. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Luis Roniger

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Political and social research on populism has discussed its development in the framework of modern constitutional democracies. Populism thrives as ‘parasitic’ to those democracies by addressing their unfulfilled promises. Citizens’ loss of trust in the system opens the way for varied forms of ‘populist ruptures’, facilitating the construction of the category of ‘the people’, through which leaders and their followings claim to stand for all citizens and embody the common will. This article analyzes how, both discursively and performatively, populism addresses major parameters and antinomies of Liberal democratic citizenship, e.g., by recalibrating representation and mass participation. Analysis indicates that by impacting the contours of collective identity as much as citizen expectations, entitlements and commitments, populism challenges the Liberal conceptions of citizenship that uphold modern constitutional democracies.
13. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Manussos Marangudakis, Theodoros Chadjipadelis

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The essay is a quantitative analysis of a questionnaire distributed to a sample of 775 worshipers immediately after the Sunday Liturgy in a random number of churches in Athens, Thessaloniki and Mytilini. The questions addressed to them try to grasp feelings and thoughts felt during liturgical experience and effervescence as such, as well as reflections concerning the religious and the political self. The findings suggest that the liturgy has profound effects on those who attend service often, but it is not irrelevant even to those who attend service less often. Those who attend service often and feel strongly the liturgical rite tend to identify religion, both doctrinal and vernacular (the ‘little traditions’), with politics, consider themselves to be rightist and hold political beliefs revolving around antinomian egotism and authoritative paternalism. Those who attend service rarely and do not experience any effervescence, as the mirror-image of the former, tend to identify themselves as leftist and hold political beliefs revolving around revolution, defiance and the like, and reject democratic institutions. The study underlines the very close connection of church attendance to ‘magical’ aspects of the Orthodox religion, as well as the very strong presence of icons in the life of the believers irrespective of their frequency of liturgical attendance.

the next society

14. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Vittorio Cotesta

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Preyer and Krausse’s Sociology on Next Society proposes a new perspective on interpreting the global society of the future. In these Notes, the author discusses some of the key points of the volume. The paradigm shift in the sciences is often introduced by the creation of a new language, a new view of the relationship between words and things. The question is whether this semantic and epistemological feature also characterizes the approach proposed by Preyer and Krausse. The sociology of the Next Society – observes the author – is in fact the latest attempt to get rid of the sociology of social systems based on the analogy between society and living organism. This attempt has been underway for at least 50 years and this volume constitutes the final result. In reality, it is a question of freeing sociology (of social systems) from the hegemony of the socio-biological sciences. And it is not an easy task. The author asks whether this attempt has been successful and what the results are in terms of interpreting the new form of the world. On the one hand, the sociology of the Next society places itself in the sphere of the new theories on the world but, on the other, it still adopts a traditional model. In fact, it aims at overcoming the “society of individuals”, typical of the modern-bourgeois western society, with a society based on the membership of social, professional, etc. orders. The ordering of society should be based on the “membership order”. The authors themselves qualify the next society as a neo-feudal society. How prolific is its approach is still an open question. The numerous researches promoted and directly conducted by the authors are an attempt to give an empirical basis to their proposal. Compared to other theories of global society, the sociology of the next society shows its vitality in placing itself at the level of the “global” analysis of the world. Its limits, perhaps, are in not seeing that there are different “projects” or “forms of globality” competing with each other. Each civilization has a claim to universality and a project of hegemony over the world that could be better understood through an approach based on the concept and paradigm of social conflict, both within societies and between societies and civilizations.
15. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Athanasios Gromitsaris

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The book under review treats sociology as a science that identifies and reconceptualizes problems already defined by others. Such definitions are viewed to be dependent on conditions that the book calls “membership orders”. The book argues that the sociological observer should look for and observe from the boundaries that keep “members” and “non-members”, along with their corresponding views of problems, apart. The review essay approaches the book with the dual question, “Who describes the reality in which it is determined that social situations are treated as problematic by those involved?” And “Who determines whose problem is the problem considered relevant in each case?” The essay discusses the answers given by the authors to these questions with the help of their conceptualization, data, and object constitution. Similarities and differences are highlighted in comparison with Luhmann’s theory. For illustration purposes, the authors’ theory is applied to law.
16. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38
Eliezer Ben-Rafael

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The formation and evolution of multiculturalism and hybridization (Nederveen Pieterse, 1995; 2016) belong today to the leading research priorities of social sciences. These developments assumedly forward a kind of new or next society features of which seemingly emerge and may be captured in processes taking place in given partial structures. We think especially of subsystems that, at the origin, concretized utopic orientations that were abandoned over time to leave room to new ambitions. One such subsystem consists of the kibbutz that was for long viewed as one of the most successful utopia that was both rigorous and performing, and which illustrates today an appropriate example of next-society emergence. The general validity of this assumption resides in this setting’s multigenerational survival through far reaching structural, cultural and ideological changes. A model of communitarian collectivity at its start that now is best defined by the oxymoron of “individualistic community”.

17. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38

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18. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38

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19. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38

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20. ProtoSociology: Volume > 38

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