Re: Durkheim (resend)

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sat 02 Apr 2005 - 00:41:04 GMT

  • Next message: Bill Spight: "Re: Durkheim (resend)"

    --- Scott Chase <> wrote:

    > --- Kate Distin <> wrote:
    > [KD] "The question thus arises of the source of
    > social
    > facts, and another problem for Durkheim's thesis is
    > that it is only one generation deep. He claims that
    > an
    > individual will inherit and be coerced by social
    > facts
    > about a previous generation, but makes no attempt to
    > explain how those facts came into existence. Yet in
    > order to be inherited, they must be inherited from
    > somewhere." [KD]
    > My reply:
    > Yet I seem to remember how impressed I was when I
    > detected in Durkheim a subtle delineation between
    > historic origin and current utility. See my previous
    > (long ago) post on this on the list archives:
    > Anyone familar with Gould's harping on this topic
    > wrt
    > exaptations and spandrels might read the quote of
    > Durkheim I proviided in that post and wonder about
    > where he was going with this too. If he was smart
    > enough to see that historic origin should be se
    > apart
    > from current utility, then his views on socifacts
    > are
    > quite sophisticated when we ask from where socifacts
    > have sprung. Current function might not give us a
    > clue
    > as to what previous functions of a socifact may have
    > been or what antecedents provided the structure that
    > was co-opted into a new use. There could be the
    > possibility of functional shifts, such as been seen
    > with the evolution of the mammalian ear ossicles
    > from
    > precursors that were used for jaw articulation in
    > ancestors. Durkheim's views might not have been this
    > sophisticated, but I'll give him some props (hiphop
    > lingo) nonetheless.
    And in this post I considered Durkheim as having recognized the possibility of functional shifts, which itself implies that the evolution of a social fact must have taken many generations to have passed through various functional states:

    I overstated the case for Durkheim's appreciation for nonaptive features and made this correction:

    I didn't particularly care for where he's taking us in that quote, but the others were pretty def (hiphop lingo).

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