Social and Political Theory

What makes the submission of a minority to a majority reasonable? Can we know that a majority decision is correct? A study of two attempts to answer these questions.

Liberty, Authority and the Negative Dialectics of J.S. Mill
No abstract

The Theory of Ideology: Bringing the Mind Back In
Argues against the sociologism of much modern sociology and seeks to use contemporary cognitive science to re-work the theory of ideology. Argues that ideologies are inherently variable through time and between individuals, whatever social or cultural efforts are made to stabilise them. This is because the mind is not (or is not completely) plastic to social and cultural shaping. Ideologies are like languages, since they are internalised in individuals as generative mechanisms which are not transparent to introspection or self-monitoring. The work of Goran Therborn, Stephen Stich, Hilary Putnam and Tyler Burge is referenced.

Language and Social Theory
A survey of conceptions of language which have informed modern social thought, with specific discussion of Gramsci, Saussure and Structuralism, Chomsky and Habermas. There is also a brief sketch of sociolinguistics (Labov, Trudgill) and the sociology of language .

Tolerance: John Stuart Mill and Herbert Macuse
This 2008 Website essay is an edited extract from Chapter VI of Trevor Pateman's Language, Truth and Politics (1975; second edition 1980). The book itself appears to be freely available from Internet booksellers, but in case of difficulty it can be requested direct from trevor@trevorpateman.co.uk. The text itself has not been rewritten, so the reader should be aware that the examples used date from the early 1970s. It should not be difficult to think of more recent cases to illustrate the line of argument developed. Sections in the orginal chapter dealing with more time-limited issues have been cut from this extract. The key texts referred to are John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty and Herbert Marcuse's essay, Repressive Tolerance. Keywords: Tolerance, Intolerance, John Stuart Mill, Herbert Marcuse, repressive tolerance

How risk-averse people incur more losses than others do
No abstract