‘Purposive’ Social Formations

Edited by Bruce Caldwell

in Studies on the Abuse and Decline of Reason

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780226321097
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226321127 | DOI:
‘Purposive’ Social Formations

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  • History of Economic Thought


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This chapter considers certain practical attitudes that spring from the theoretical views regarding social phenomena. Their most characteristic common feature is a direct result of the inability, caused by the lack of a compositive theory of social phenomena, to grasp how the independent action of many men can produce coherent wholes, persistent structures of relationships that serve important human purposes without having been designed for that end. This produces a “pragmatic” interpretation of social institutions that treats all social structures which serve human purposes as the result of deliberate design, and which denies the possibility of an orderly or purposeful arrangement in anything that is not thus constructed.

Keywords: social formation; social phenomena; objectivism; scientistic approach; social science; social interactions; positivists; social behavior; human behavior; economic planning

Chapter.  3563 words. 

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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