Objectivity and Social Meaning

Michael Walzer

in The Quality of Life

Published in print March 1993 | ISBN: 9780198287971
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596704 | DOI:

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

 Objectivity and Social Meaning

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Walzer defends a qualified form of relativism in which much attention is paid to the various forms of criticism and discontent that may arise in society. However inarticulate these dissenting voices may be, argues Walzer, they are to be taken as important data in understanding what a good life would be for society as a whole. Walzer stresses that even if no particular meaning was objectively true or right or necessary, it would still be the case that the construction of meaning is a real process, and ‘objectivity’ is tenable only to the extent that it hangs on the accommodation of the object or social meaning by a knowing, inquiring subject.

Keywords: construction of meaning; discontent; objectivity; perspective; relativism; social meaning; subject

Chapter.  7037 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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