Sociological Theory and Philosophical Analysis by Dorothy Mary Emmet, Alasdair MacIntyre

By Dorothy Mary Emmet, Alasdair MacIntyre

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It refers to the socially distributed constructs of patterns of typical motives, goals, attitudes, personalities, which are supposed to be invariant and are then interpreted as the function or structure of the social system itself. The more these interlocked behaviour patterns are standardised and institutionalised, that is, the more their typicality is socially approved by laws, folkways, mores, and habits, the greater is their usefulness in commonsense and scientific thinking as a scheme of interpretation of human behaviour.

It 12 can be further shown that at least one aspect of the biographically and situationally determined systems of interest and relevances is subjectively experienced in the thinking of everyday life as systems of motives for action, of choices to be made, of projects to be carried out, of goals to be reached. It is this insight of the actor into the dependencies of the motives and goals of his actions upon his biographically determined situation which social scientists have in view when speaking of the subjective meaning which the actor 'bestows upon' or 'connects with' his action.

Again, a social scientific naturalist like NageI,s who identifies the thesis of the unity of the natural and social sciences primarily with the one that the criteria for the acceptance of theories as worthy of belief are the same in the natural and social sciences, and may be characterised as a methodological naturalist, doubts whether anyone can definitively specify the aims for the social sciences. Conversely, a canonical social scientific naturalist need not accept all theses which have been labelled naturalistic and in particular need not accept structural naturalistic theses which attempt to specify the content of social scientific theories.

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