Alexander Pavlov 1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

The Parallaxes of the Fox: Towards Definition of the Subject and Status of Social Philosophy

2018, vol. 17, No. 3, pp. 149–172 [issue contents]
The author of this article tries to reconsider the subject field of social-philosophical knowledge. He considers the principal difference of social philosophy from theoretical sociology, historical sociology, and political philosophy. On the basis of this differentiation, it is stated that social philosophy is a separate and coherent discipline. The author then considers several possible approaches to the study of society that could be characterized as “weak programs” of social philosophy. On such a basis, it is claimed that a “strong program” of social philosophy could be formed. This program must organically combine the following assumptions: the methodology of neo-Marxism, including the orientation towards the traditional for these current intellectual objects of analysis, and accurate and thorough studies, as well as a firmness and conceptual coherence, i.e., a level of analysis beyond the immediate empirical material. The author then considers one of the main challenges that social philosophy faces or must face in the nearest future. Social philosophy has to fulfill an important task: to say something sensible about the times we are living in, to determine changes in culture and economy, as well as to give an answer to the question of what comes instead of postmodernity, if such a thing ever existed. On the basis of the above-mentioned points, the following working definition of social philosophy is given: multiple (although not always) philosophical conceptualizations of social problems, phenomena, and complex notions, as well as theoretical attempts at interpreting our or/and another epoch, which, in the interpretation, first of all assumes a normative dimension, and secondly, is based on rich empirical material. This approach can also be explained through the notion of “the parallax of the fox”, which assumes that social philosophy deals with many things, but at the same time, tries to give a new look at existing problems and to determine its heuristic potential.
Citation: Pavlov A. (2018) Parallaksy lisy: k opredeleniyu predmeta i granits sotsial'noy filosofii [The Parallaxes of the Fox: Towards Definition of the Subject and Status of Social Philosophy]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 17, no 3, pp. 149-172 (in Russian)
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