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Analyzing Conceptions of Social Pathology

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author SärkeläArvi, LaitinenArto,
Project Eine Diagnose sozialer Pathologien? Variationen des Naturalismus in der Sozialphilosophie
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Studies in Social and Political Thought
Volume (Issue) 28(1)
Page(s) 21 - 30
Title of proceedings Studies in Social and Political Thought
DOI 10.20919/sspt.28.2018.85

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


In this paper, we suggest some central questions for analysing and comparing conceptions of social pathology, which could be thought to be useful for social philosophy, especially for the tradition of Frankfurt School Critical Theory. Rival conceptions of social pathology will give rival answers to these questions and the conceptions can be classified and compared with the help of these answers. Of course, any two conceptions can be compared in any of the details that either of them have, but our aim here is to map some of the central issues as stake in the philosophical discourse on social pathology. We discuss and compare in more detail four conceptions of social pathology with the help of these questions in Laitinen & Särkelä (2018) and in Honneth’s work in particular in Särkelä and Laitinen (2018). The questions we present in this paper are intended less as an a priori for analysing conception of social pathology, than a potentially helpful a posteriori reflection of the kind of questions one is confronted with when inquiring into the debate on social pathology. ’Pathology’ can mean both the science studying diseases and the object of inquiry, the disease itself. Unless otherwise indicated (as in subsection 7), we refer to the diseases themselves with ‘pathology’.