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Prof: Jos Sanchez.

Armando Ospina.

SO5050 Spring. March 22, 2001

Thank you very much Armando for such fine work. You have earned a grade of A on this paper.

ARMANDO OSPINA

III. Durkheim.

Durkheim believed that the primary function of society was to set limits to social wants by providing a moral framework of restraint to the individual. This regulative force plays the same role for moral needs as it does the body for physical needs (Morrison, 1995, p. 186) Against utilitarianism and Hobbes that place the multiplicity of individuals, pursuing ends based only in their self-interest and free will, anterior to any structure, Durkheim put the unity of the self-counted non-differentiable plurality, that precedes all existence, even the plurality itself, and determinates them as the germ of all social space. The horde, as Durkheim proposes to call it, is the result of an ideal type of society whose cohesion will result exclusively from resemblances, an absolutely homogeneous mass whose parts would not be distinguishable from one another and consequently not be arranged in any order in relation to one another. (Emirbayer, p. 65) The horde is the most elementary form of society because it contains a single segment unlike other primitive societies. (Morrison, 1995, p. 160) The unique characteristic of the horde is that there are no special groups within its structure. It is just a social aggregate directly composed of individuals From this point of view, I would say less simple primitive societies were just bigger form of worm that consisted of multiple segments, each of which had the same sets of organs or undifferentiated parts.

At first I thought Durkheims concept of society presupposed an individual, that embedded in a social space who was part of it, and would serve to the purpose of the society he was in, but later I realized man as an individual did not exist at all, and perhaps what I could encounter in its place was an empty1 process of individuation. This Process of individuation would eventually develop until its completion in the modern societies, as the self-counted multiplicity which utilitarianism reclaims, in first place, to be in the origin of society.
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I use empty (INTERESTING FOOTNOTE in the same way Durkheim defines the study of social facts. Social facts must be studied as things, that is, as realities external to the individual. (Emirbayer, p. 32)

Prof: Jos Sanchez.

Armando Ospina.

SO5050 Spring. March 22, 2001

The point of the Durkheims criticism of Hobbes individualist doctrine, is to remark there is not interindividual relation possible that allow, in the Hobbes state of nature, the possibility of an agreement, unless there is an external force that constrains the individuals to do it. The existence of this external force in this state of nature contradicts the very nature of the Hobessians individual freedom. Utilitarianism confronts a similar dilemma. The free individuals that pursue only their own self-interest are incapable of creating the interlink necessary to create a common good. For this, it is necessary an external force that constrains or regulates the exercise of their free will, therefore negating the essence of their own individuality. Durkheim argued strongly against the utilitarian point of view of Hobbes. In fact he was not convinced by the notion that the first society was built on a rational foundation. In such a case, Hobbess society would have created internal contradictions that would work against the best interest of peoples nature (which, according to Hobbes was hedonistic and rational. For Durkheim, the foundations of society were based on an irrational foundation (he meant trust).

If Durkheim disagrees with these conceptions of the individual it is not because he believes they are pointing in the wrong direction. On the contrary, because he recognizes that even a primal society ,as the horde is, it is compose for an aggregate of individuals. The only difference is the Durkheims individual is not the starting point of the analysis, and its not yet an analytical aggregate. The individual is a non-existent individual before any society is constituted. The starting point then it is an external capacity that would restraint man2 (not the individual), because man is the one who appears as an inconsistent multiplicity, (Badiou, 2007) -disseminated in the indeterminate-, in an inexistent social space, and becoming unthinkable. This external constraint is what Durkheim calls social collective or collective conscience. Collective consciousness is the whole world of feelings, ideas, and images that follow their own laws (Morrison, 1995). Even though, collective conscience could be seem as the totality of the mans spiritual activity, it is not a by-product or an epiphenomenon of the actions and

This is not the case with man, because most of his needs are not dependent on his body or not to the same degree. . . . Such appetites, however, admittedly sooner or later reach a limit which they cannot pass. But how determine the quantity of wellbeing, comfort or luxury legitimately to be craved by a human being? Nothing appears in mans organic nor in his psychological constitution which sets a limit to such tendencies... But if nothing external can restrain this capacity, it can only be a source of torment to itself. Unlimited desires are insatiable by definition and insatiability is rightly considered a sign of morbidity. Being unlimited, they constantly and infinitely surpass the means at their command; they cannot be quenched. Inextinguishable thirst is constantly renewed torture. . . . To pursue a goal which is by definition unattainable is to condemn oneself to a state of perpetual unhappiness. . . . (Emirbayer, p. 43)

Prof: Jos Sanchez.

Armando Ospina.

SO5050 Spring. March 22, 2001

passion of individuals acting in the world. It is the force of constraint3 that following its own rules basically creates individuality.

Theo Verheggen says that Durkheims individual and collective representations are like mirror-image of reality, but at the same time they are constitutive for reality. (Verheggen, 2005) Althought, I think, he forgot to mention that what it is external to this constitutive reality, Durkheim says look, at the things individuals do such as eating, sleeping and reasoning, etc., none of these activities may be called social, since acts only identify a set of individual facts. (Morrison, 1995, p. 153) As Mills explains physiological processes have the interest of the sociologist because of their meaning, or as prerequisite for behavior, or become relevant for comparative studies of conduct, etc., Durkheim separates them as a different domain which needs not to be confused with the object of sociology. All these individuals acts cannot be counted as social facts and, if they were sociology would have no distinctive matter (Morrison, 1995) In contrast to Mills, separation of these activities as biological and assigning them basic unrelated functions to sociology, Durkheim, I think, reclaims that in general all mans activity have no distinctive matter or social reality, since they do not correspond, in their undifferentiated state, to any function, or obligation in the social collective. In Mills terms, they do not fulfill in this state, any role in the social structure, and this is what the mirror metaphor excludes.

Works Cited
Badiou, A. (2007). Being and Event. London: Continuum. Durkheim, E. (1984). The Division of Labor. New York: THE FREE PRESS. Emirbayer, M. Emile Durkheim. Sociologist of Modernity. In E. Durkheim, Suicide. Blackwell Publishing . Morrison, K. (1995). Marx, Durkheim, Weber. Formations of Modern Social Thought. London. Thousands Oaks. New Delhi: SAGE Publications. Verheggen, T. (2005). Culture Alt Delete. on the misperception of culture in psychology.
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Durkheim believed that restraint was imposed externally by society, independent of the individual, and this made constraint the center of Durkheim's view of society. By suggesting that constraint springs from collective life rather than from the individual, Durkheim thought that it could be studied in its own right as an independent social phenomenon. (Morrison, 1995, p. 126)

Prof: Jos Sanchez.

Armando Ospina.

SO5050 Spring. March 22, 2001