The Creativity of Action

The Creativity of Action

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This work outlines the fundamentals of a new theory of action, drawing on philosophical pragmatism. It is based upon the author's study of G.H. Mead, but also establishes direct ties between Mead's work and approaches drawn from German traditions of philosophical anthropology. A major feature of Hans Joas's theory is an emphasis on the creative character of human action. Human activity is not coincidentally, but in a fundamental sense, creative. The book contains new discussions of the nature of human intentions, the embodied character of human action and the character of intersubjectivity. The problem of action is of crucial importance in both sociology and philosophy, and this book - widely debated in Germany - should contribute to discussions current in the English-speaking world.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 300 pages
  • 152 x 229mm | 659g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • German
  • notes, bibliography, index
  • 0745611966
  • 9780745611969

Table of contents

Part 1 The emergence of the theory of action: the beginnings - Parsons's attempt at synthesis; the debate with Parsons - Re-historicizing the convergence thesis; economic and social action; Weber's theory of charisma and the problem of creativity; the problem of the emergence of new morality as the underlying theme in Durkheim's work; elements of the philosophy of life in the work of Ferdinand Tonnies and Georg Simmel. Part 2 Metaphors of creativity: expression; production; revolution; life; intelligence and reconstruction. Part 3 Situation-corporeality-sociality - the fundamentals of a theory of the creativity of action: a non-teleological Interpretaion of the intentionality of Action; the constitution of the body schema; primary sociality. Part 4 creative democracy; creativity and collective action; beyond functionalism; differentiation and democratization - perspectives for a non-functionalist theory of social development; creativity in the "postmodern" age.
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