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Relational Reason, Morals and Sociality


Edited By Elżbieta Hałas and Aleksander Manterys

Relational sociology draws attention to non-utilitarian aspects of sociality that reach beyond instrumental rationality, and presents the problem of relational reason. Shaping a civil society under cultural plurality requires reflection upon relational rationality. This book focuses on relational goods as an emergent effect of social relations, focusing on the issue of good life and the Good Society.

The relational approach involves viewing social relations neither as an expression of the system nor as an individual action, but as a human reality in its own right, based on reciprocity.

The authors explore the moral dimensions of sociality in various areas of social life. The aim is to enrich the understanding of relationality and of the significance of the relational theory of society.

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Pierpaolo Donati: The Good Society Is One that Creates Relational Goods


Pierpaolo Donati

The Good Society Is One that Creates Relational Goods

Abstract: The basic argument of this chapter is that a good society is one that is organized according to a logic of life opportunities that is capable of producing relational goods. But what are relational goods? Some years ago, the social sciences “discovered” a type of goods that are neither material things nor ideas nor services, but consist of social relations and, for this reason, are called “relational goods.” The present contribution proposes to clarify this concept, which is used by various disciplines, and to specify what contribution relational goods can make to a “good society” and, in particular, to a mature democracy. After comparing two sociological streams, one based on rational choice theory and one on relational sociology, the chapter concludes by claiming that relational goods have their own ontological status and are produced by relational subjects.

Keywords: democracy, good society, rational choice, relational good, relational sociology

What Is a “Good Society”?

The basic argument of this contribution is that in a society conceived as a field of opportunities, the discriminating factor of “living well” becomes the relational or non-relational nature of the good that is sought and realized by the acting subjects. It is a matter of clarifying the modalities with which the good is generated and which effects follow from it. The proof of this argument consists in giving evidences that there exists a specific logic...

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