"Rethinking of Social Solidarity"

ABE Akira

last update: 20151224

Rethinking of Social Solidarity

ABE Akira
This paper is an inquiry into Richard Rorty's views on social solidarity. I attempt to clarify two things: first, whether his argument over the reason and purpose of social solidarity is persuasive; second, whether his doubts about the current argument over social solidarity have validity.

That doubt appears with respect to the possibility of "solidarity based on others." On the first point, I think his argument is persuasive. Rorty says social solidarity has the purpose of "avoiding cruelty." It is my understanding that in this insistence "avoiding cruelty" is consistent with our common values. We can generally understand that the notion of "avoiding cruelty" includes not only recognition of the being of others but also recognition of the freedom of others.

On the other hand, Rorty says social solidarity comes from what he calls "sympathy for the pain of others." I think that this insistence, based on our experience, is useful for "avoiding cruelty."

Regarding Rorty's doubt, I reserve judgment on its validity. I agree that it is certain that "solidarity based on others" cannot secure the being of all social members. But I state my agreement with a reservation for I also think that the interpretation of "closed others" and the conception of social solidarity based on reciprocity are controversial subjects.

On the other hand, I conclude that his rejection of universalism, namely, the rejection of foundationalism is invalid. In my thinking, foundationalism is not worth serious consideration from a pragmatic point of view. I assert, in contrast, that continuously and jointly evaluating various beliefs that have "avoiding cruelty" as their purpose is the most important point for social solidarity.

REV: 20151224
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