Sunday, May 10, 2009

92 Emile Durkeim

Emile Durkeim, a Frenchman, is reagrded as the father of socioology, but he himself says:" I started with philosophy and I have the inclination to return to it or better, I return to it automatically by the kind of questions, which I encounter in the process."

To get us all on the right track...we dealt with a few contemporary philosophers lately, but Durkheim is the first of the group "The new scientists", so we go back in time for a moment.

Durkheim was born in 1858 and died in 1917 by an heartattack, but before that he had to live with the knowledge that his son was a casualty of war.

In 1893 he published "The Division of Labour in Society", his doctoral dissertation and fundamental statement of the nature of human society and its development. In this work he wants to show that all human societies are kept together by moral rules.

Durkheim observed that the evolution from primitive to modern leads to a detoriation of the collectve consciousness in favor of individual consciousness.

In the tradional society, leaning strongly on religious convictions, there is a remarkable conformity in moral ideas among the individual people.

In the modern societies, which are individualistic, there is a remarkable difference in moral opinions but also a tollerant attitude regarding non-conformistic behavior, just because there are such differences between moral opinions.

Keep in mind, we are listening to somene who was talking in 1893. It was Durkheim , who described the process of individuation: the process in society , where individuals develop their own ethics independent of the ruling moral rules. And this individuation leads to individualism.

Durkheim called it the 'cult of the individual'. The cult of the individual is a new moral code in which equal rights of the individual are emphasized to develop their own talents according to their own standards. Still do't is 1893 here!!

In the modern societies there is no longer a simple economic order, there is a multitude of economic relations, which only can function if there is a diversity of moral standards. But moral standards are the basics to keep a society together.

Hence his 'cult of the individual', a new moral code, which reflects a new socail and economic order. Durkhiem emphasizes that the 'cult of the individual' should not be interpreted as the 'cult of selfinterest'.

A collection of pure egoistic individuals can't make a society at all; there has to be recognition of the interests of others, expressed in a 'moral individualism', in which equality and individual rights is emphasized.

And here I was hit by the actuality of this thinker from 1893: at this moment we face a worldwide financial crisis, caused by those who can not make a society, a bunch of moneymaking egoists. Never was a philosopher so right.

The Discussion

[13:21] Herman Bergson: So much on Durkheim :-)
[13:21] hope63 Shepherd:
[13:21] Herman Bergson: If you have questions or remarks feel free...
[13:21] hope63 Shepherd: never so wrong herman i think..
[13:21] Samuel Okelly: Could the 'cult of the individual' be viewed as being synonymous with moral relativism?
[13:21] Herman Bergson: lol..ok hope explain
[13:22] Herman Bergson: that is an interesting remark Samuel..worth investigating
[13:22] hope63 Shepherd: first: the priviledge of the few became the priviledge of many through revolutions.. and socio-political changes..
[13:22] Herman Bergson: we have observed this tendence towards relativisme since 1900 or so
[13:23] hope63 Shepherd: second: the financial system has made the economies grow.. now what happens now is just like a nero or some other wild crazy 2emperor" who doesn't stick to the " rules"
[13:24] hope63 Shepherd: don't forget the interest of the "financial" is compromises too
[13:24] Mickorod Renard: I see your point hope,,but also the need for cooperation amongst individuals is also a history amongst us
[13:25] Mickorod Renard: we all have a place in society
[13:25] hope63 Shepherd: sure.. but i see too that a ruling class - in the interest of its people can go astray.. my third reich
[13:25] Alarice Beaumont: well only if you go conform with the rest..otherwise you are an outsider
[13:25] Herman Bergson: ok.....let's get back to Durkheim for a moment
[13:25] hope63 Shepherd: ok if you are arian and we win the war.. you will get paradise:)
[13:26] Herman Bergson: What amazed me most was the actuality of his ideas
[13:27] hope63 Shepherd: wasn't it actual throughout history.. in different context..
[13:27] Herman Bergson: I thought that the 'problem' of individualism was an invention of our time...but he already described it
[13:27] hope63 Shepherd: but individualism was that priviledge of the few.. what changed is now it is for the masses..
[13:28] hope63 Shepherd: french revolution..
[13:28] Herman Bergson: you might be right there Hope, and Durkheim was the one who noticed this development
[13:29] Herman Bergson: the move from the few to the masses also says something about the social economical development in those days
[13:29] Herman Bergson: and 1893....dont forget..Marx was around too with his Manifest in 1848
[13:30] hope63 Shepherd: meaning everyone wanted and could get a part of the cake lol
[13:30] arabella Ella: apologies for being late herman :)
[13:30] Mickorod Renard: but those with had to show value to the masses to obtain a workforce
[[13:30] Mickorod Renard: is there any difference, even individualists are being used by others
[13:31] hope63 Shepherd: many years ago my boss told me: the world will be divided between those who know about computers and those who don't mick..
[13:31] Mickorod Renard: no man is an island
[13:33] hope63 Shepherd: meaning: we are all equal.. but some are more equal:)
[13:33] Herman Bergson: Durkheim is interesting because of his ideas sociologically...
[13:33] Mickorod Renard: there will always be a need for consumers
[13:33] hope63 Shepherd: lol.. mick.. ever sincer there is humanity there is consumption..
[13:33] Mickorod Renard: free market makes consumers powerful
[13:34] Osrum Sands: I find it interesting how the sociologists appear to have taken the ground of the philisophers
[13:34] Herman Bergson: I try to find connections with the other ideas of his era...Marx , Darwin....Mill,
[13:34] Osrum Sands: as they appear to be lost in micro meaning of words
[13:34] hope63 Shepherd: herman.. can you tell us more about his social ideas...
[13:34] Herman Bergson: In this case indeed Osrum
[13:35] hope63 Shepherd: and the conection with morals..
[13:35] Mickorod Renard: please explain more Herman
[13:35] Herman Bergson: I think the main point in his ideas was this process of individuation
[13:35] Samuel Okelly: where once society en masse was, regarding ethics, “instructed”, ethical questions have become something to be “discovered” and it sounds like Durkheim saw this
[13:35] Herman Bergson: his observation that man became more and more an individual and no longer a member of a collective, which was mainly religiously defined
[13:36] Herman Bergson: Yes, Samulel
[13:36] Mickorod Renard: but that is egoistic too
[13:36] Herman Bergson: this was because of his inrterest in religion and how it works in society
[13:37] hope63 Shepherd: but isn't the man as individual a basis for all philo. thoughts? who are we is : who am i.....
[[13:37] arabella Ella: humanity Hope not man pls?
[13:37] Herman Bergson: I dont think that is the issue at the moment Hope
[13:38] Herman Bergson: what is interesting is to see how a man in 1893 already foresaw what we now live through
[13:38] Mickorod Renard: society will break down if we operate to seperate ways of ethics
[13:39] hope63 Shepherd: break down in seperate societies may be..
[13:39] Herman Bergson: dont worry Mickord....ethics will remain as long as mankind exists
[13:39] Osrum Sands: Mick do you mean will or 'is'
[13:39] Mickorod Renard: is I guess
[13:39] hope63 Shepherd: he meant it os:)
[13:39] Herman Bergson: well..I saw some relation with the finacial crisis of today...
[13:40] Mickorod Renard: I was hoping to not sound so gloomy
[13:40] Qwark Allen: one sign of this separation of the individual, it`s the depression rising in countrys more developed
[13:40] Herman Bergson: individualistic people lost contact with the rest by their greed
[13:40] hope63 Shepherd: herman.. -- the finacial crisis i see more in connection with the fall of the roman emmpire:)
[13:41] Samuel Okelly: did Durkheim draw any conclusions for society from his observations about the change that was taking place herman?
[13:41] Mickorod Renard: I am sure it has similarities
[13:41] Mickorod Renard: did he see the realisation when the depression hit in the 30's
[13:42] hope63 Shepherd: did d. avise on how this individualismn should be understood and handeld?
[13:42] Herman Bergson: I mean Durkheim said that we should not confuse individualisme with selfinterst...and that is what we see nowdays...a lot of bankers acting only out of selfintererest
[13:42] Herman Bergson: and as he said...a bunch of egoists can't make a society
[13:42] Mickorod Renard: yes, clever that
[13:43] hope63 Shepherd: i think this is not enough herman.. plato's idea of a state called for an egoist.. in a way..
[13:44] hope63 Shepherd: who in this room dares to say he is not an egoist when it comes to the point.. even mother theresa was in a way an egoist.. fullfilling her own personl ideas ..
[13:45] Mickorod Renard: I think his time was a very depressin time for many ordinary people
[13:45] Alarice Beaumont: well Herman.. not sure.. egoist can do that....depends on the time and where the individualist is postioned
[13:45] Mickorod Renard: what with the industrial revolution
[13:45] Alarice Beaumont: i think society is changingright now
[13:45] hope63 Shepherd: hat is said reminds me of camus: la chute..
[13:45] hope63 Shepherd: what
[13:45] Herman Bergson: Yes it was Mickorod..industrialistion....factory laboreres...poverty
[13:45] Mickorod Renard: I think it is Alarice
[13:46] Mickorod Renard: yes,,many havin to move or leave families to find work
[13:46] Herman Bergson: Yes Alarice..this crisis may be a catharsis
[13:46] Mickorod Renard: being in smokey cramped places
[13:47] Mickorod Renard: I woudnt call that great improvement
[13:47] Alarice Beaumont: oh sorry.. what does carharsis mean?!
[13:47] hope63 Shepherd: mick-- it's not 2.nd ww
[13:47] Gemma Cleanslate: a cleaning
[13:47] Mickorod Renard: grin,,i was talkin bout 1900
[13:47] Tiara Calvert: Oh I would have to say I don't think just because someone follows a belief structure, or a code of behaviour, especially one that is by all standards, selfless. That could be or should be labled as egotistical. Just my own feelings of course.
[13:47] Alarice Beaumont: thx Gem .-)
[13:48] Herman Bergson: moment...
[13:48] hope63 Shepherd: ty tiara:)
[13:48] Herman Bergson: Catharsis...
[13:48] Mickorod Renard: catalyst?
[13:48] Herman Bergson: that is the feeling of the audience after seeing a greek tragedy.....
[13:49] Herman Bergson: on the one hand...deep sadness and on the other hand great relief...
[13:49] hope63 Shepherd: for those who didn 't see greek tragdedies.. look at gone with the wind:)
[13:49] Herman Bergson: a kind of feeling freed
[13:50] Herman Bergson: And your remarks Mickorod....
[13:50] arabella Ella: re-living an experience via a third medium perhaps herman such as a greek tragedy?
[13:50] Mickorod Renard: eeek
[13:50] Herman Bergson: In a way I get the inclination to say..well Durkheim showed nice upper class philosophy..
[13:50] Herman Bergson: in his dayys...
[13:51] Herman Bergson: but in the end..when we look at ourselfs...he was quite right, I would say
[13:51] Mickorod Renard: true
[13:51] Mickorod Renard: or should I say correct
[13:52] Herman Bergson: and that amazed me, when I started doing my readings in preperation of this class
[13:53] Mickorod Renard: so, what are we goin to do about it?
[13:53] Herman Bergson: You know...sometimes you discover gems..I guess Durkheim is worth a second thought....have a look at info on him
[13:53] Samuel Okelly: "a chrysalis" analogy would suggest "development" here then? that is to say that moral relativism represents a benefit for society?
[13:53] Herman Bergson: are always a step ahead of me.....
[13:54] Herman Bergson: your question is what I am working on just now..^_^
[13:54] Samuel Okelly: :)
[13:54] Herman Bergson: For your information....I am not only teaching here but also learning again a lot here
[13:54] hope63 Shepherd: moral relativism.. expalin yourself sam-..
[13:55] Herman Bergson: And you, Samule, ask my questions
[13:55] Herman Bergson: So let's go on and continue our course....
[13:56] Wisdom Streeter: good stuff
[13:56] Herman Bergson: Our next philosopher will be of all persons..Albert Einstein.....
[13:56] Alarice Beaumont: oh cool
[13:56] Qwark Allen: oh
[13:56] Qwark Allen: nice
[13:56] Mickorod Renard: wowww
[13:56] Herman Bergson: that will be a funny class....for there I will be outclassed completely
[13:57] Qwark Allen: eheheh
[13:57] Apmel Ibbetson: haha
[13:57] Samuel Okelly: :)
[13:57] arabella Ella: i dont think you will be outclassed at all herman that is impossible!
[13:57] Herman Bergson: But I'll do my best to spell his name at least correctly
[13:57] Qwark Allen: eheeheheh
[13:57] Gemma Cleanslate: you can call him Al
[13:58] Herman Bergson: dont laugh Qwark....just try it
[13:58] Alarice Beaumont: ,-)
[13:58] Ze Novikov: smiles
[13:58] Alarice Beaumont: will be one evening enough for him?!
[13:58] Alarice Beaumont: I wonder
[13:58] Qwark Allen: i`m portuguese!! easy to me
[13:58] hope63 Shepherd: yes.. do respect my fellow countryman.. from my area:)
[13:58] Qwark Allen: :-)))
[13:58] arabella Ella: cool
[13:58] Herman Bergson: lol...with my witts Alarice...I guess 5 minutes will do
[13:58] hope63 Shepherd: and i'll never say something bad about the dutch from then on :)
[14:00] Mickorod Renard: well I managed a whole class without swearing
[14:00] Herman Bergson: Thusrday... we'll have an easy discussion...just about Albert Einstein's ideas..feel free to participate..:-)
[14:00] Ze Novikov: lol
[14:00] Mickorod Renard: cool
[14:00] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[14:00] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[14:00] Wisdom Streeter: thank you herman
[14:00] Ze Novikov: ty
[14:00] Herman Bergson: Ok..class dismissed...thank you all..^_^
[14:00] Apmel Ibbetson: thx
[14:00] Samuel Okelly: thank you herman :) tc every1 :)
[14:00] Mickorod Renard: yes thankyou |Herman
[14:01] Ze Novikov: bb everyone
[14:01] Gemma Cleanslate: see you on time i hope
[14:01] Alarice Beaumont: :-)
[14:01] Osrum Sands: bb
[14:01] Mickorod Renard: lol,,lots of rain then at the mom
[14:01] Laila Schuman: it is the birthay of neils bohr today... speaking of einstein
14:02] Qwark Allen: thank you herman!! excelent class as allways
Posted by herman_bergson on 2008-10-09 15:19:20

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