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Relational Reason, Morals and Sociality

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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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Sergio Belardinelli: The Social and Moral Dimension of the Relational Paradigm

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Sergio Belardinelli

The Social and Moral Dimension of the Relational Paradigm

Abstract: This essay focuses on the pragmatic-moral dimension of the relational paradigm, as developed by Pierpaolo Donati. Starting from a brief overview of the abovementioned paradigm, with particular reference to the systemic theory of Niklas Luhmann, the Donati’s distinction between the human and the non-human will be considered in order to interpret the relational paradigm as a social theory which is also a normative, and therefore critical, theory.

Keywords: ethics, human/non-human, relation, relational paradigm, systemic paradigm

My topic will be addressed to the social and moral dimensions of Pierpaolo Donati’s relational paradigm. Firstly, I’ll briefly say something about the importance of this paradigm in order to manage the relationship between individual and society, one of the most persistent issue in Sociology. Secondly, I would like to emphasize the human/non human distinction (a key distinction in Donati’s thought!) and the normativity inherent in social relations.

Let me begin with the first point: the relational paradigm and the relationship between individual and society.

As Donati writes in an essay about the human person as relational subject:

Classical philosophy conceived the social as a simple ‘accident’ that can be separated from the substance or from the nature of the ens (in this case the person). If we conceptualize the ‘sociability’ of the human person as the constitutive ‘relationality’ of the person himself, we are forced to go beyond...

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