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Understanding Human Experience

Reason and Faith

Edited By Francesco Botturi

Experience is a very basic concept and, at the same time, an extremely complex subject. How does our everyday experience as a human being relate with scientific knowledge and moral conduct? What kind of mutual relationship lies between human experience, reason and faith? This book gathers the results of a joint philosophical research which puts human experience in question from the diverse perspectives of a selected group of scholars. These collected essays lead the reader through a wide investigation articulated in two stages: the first goes from epistemology to theory of experience and the second moves from theory of experience to theology. Special attention is devoted to the many implications of human experience in the much debated and controversial relationship between reason and faith. The outcome is a plural account which looks with deep interest at a wide range of human experiences, especially those intertwined with the field of natural sciences, the challenges of ethical normativity or the traits of religious commitment.

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PAOLO MONTI On the Rationality of Social Practices 103

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On the Rationality of Social Practices PAOLO MONTI Social Practices as a Speculative Question Between the 1970s and the 1980s social practices were the object of theo- retical research in some areas of sociology and cultural anthropology, to meet the need to integrate structuralist, functionalist or Marxist objectiv- ist theories of society by using more sensitive types of approach to social actors, who were viewed as subjects capable of individual decisions, ac- tions and interpretations. In particular, the role of reflexion on social prac- tices became more relevant in the critique of society as an organic, unified whole, also stressing an alternative to liberal outlooks and describing soci- ety in the basic terms of relationships between individuals. The concept of social practices was thus the object of a number of studies, partly converging towards a shared nucleus, partly diverging in terms of both their specific contents and their different origins. Among the various authors relevant to the positioning of this topic between socio- logy and philosophy are M. Foucault, P. Bourdieu, A. Giddens, G.H. Mead, A. MacIntyre, Ch. Taylor. Despite some obvious differences, their studies share some features and intentions. As T. Schatzki notes in his main work dedicated to this topic, “These conceptions do, however, in my view, share at least one important trait: the idea that practices are the site where un- derstanding is structured and intelligibility articulated”1. On the whole, such reflexions actually agree in considering social practices not only an occasional cooperative composition of individuals’...

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