Donald Black

in Moral Time

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199737147
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199944002 | DOI:

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This chapter considers a theory of why conflict occurs, and why some conflicts are worse than others. It also explains what is wrong, whether according to law, ethics, etiquette, or other rules. Central to the theory is a new concept of social time—a distinctively and purely sociological form of time: Social time is the dynamic dimension of social space. Social space constantly fluctuates, and every fluctuation is a movement of social time. These fluctuations cause clashes of right and wrong. Conflict occurs throughout the social universe. It is inevitable and inescapable. People consider conflict a problem, and try to minimize it as much as possible. However, conflict is ubiquitous because the movement of social time is ubiquitous, and it is inevitable because the movement of social time is inevitable. Every conflict is itself a movement of social time, and conflict therefore causes more conflict. Social time is moral time.

Keywords: conflict; law; ethics; etiquette; social time; social space; moral time

Chapter.  6139 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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