Normativity, Practices, and the Substrate

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In this reply to the commentary in the volume, some intellectual, historical, and biographical context is provided for the writings discussed. This includes a brief account of the trajectory from Sociological Explanation as Translation, and a discussion of the general problem of the substrate of social explanation and the status of social theories as ideal-typical constructions with a problematic relation to this substrate. On this basis, the themes of practices, normativity, and the problem of the meaning of reasons explanations are reconsidered. An outline of a view of norms based on the notion of Jellinek of the normative power of the real is given and related to Russian developmental psychology. This extends and gives a psychological base to the pragmatic account of norms and practical normativity that runs through these texts. The chapter concludes with a discussion of social science, including the problems of the status of economic theory, the objectivity of field work and the problem of underdetermination, and the political significance of Parsons.

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Normativity, Practices, and the Substrate, in C. Adair-Toteff (Ed.), Stephen Turner and the Philosophy of the Social, Brill, p. 243-266