Viktor Kaploun   1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 16 Soyuza Pechatnikov Str., Saint Petersburg, 190008, Russian Federation

Durkheim’s Myth: What Wittgenstein and Ryle Might Have to Say About the Validity of the Basic Concepts of the Social Sciences

2023, vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 29–49 [issue contents]
This paper uses some of the conceptual tools developed by the primary authors of the Oxford-Cambridge tradition in the philosophy of language (especially G. Ryle and L. Wittgenstein) to analyze the “grammar” (in the specific Wittgensteinian sense of the word) of some basic concepts of social sciences such as “reality”, “action”, “consciousness”, etc., having mainly emerged in the language of E. Durkheim’s tradition in social theory. The focus of the paper is the concept of “institution”, which still occupies a privileged place in the language of contemporary social sciences. The paper highlights some conceptual problems, logical nonsenses, and philosophical myths embedded in the language of classical social theory coming from the philosophical language of the 19th century that, in turn, had inherited them from the centuries-old tradition of European metaphysics. Due to the specific metaphorical use of concepts, this language may undermine the clarification of reality and hide the real mechanisms of the functioning of institutions and real power relations in certain contexts. The paper also examines the grammar of the concept of “habitus” as introduced by M. Mauss, and argues that some traditional concepts in social theory can be effectively re-interpreted in the methodological perspective of the pragmatic turn in the social sciences (“theory of practices”).
Citation: Kaploun V. (2023) Mif Dyurkgeyma: chto Vitgenshteyn i Rayl mogli by skazat' o prigodnosti osnovnykh ponyatiy sotsial'nykh nauk [Durkheim’s myth: what Wittgenstein and Ryle might have to say about the validity of the basic concepts of the social sciences]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 22, no 2, pp. 29-49 (in Russian)
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