Publication 7891

De Vecchis F. (1993) Power, the epistemology of social systems, and autopoiesis: A discussion of Lucio Castellano’s “Il Potere degli Altri”. International Review of Sociology 4: 37–75. Fulltext at
Excerpt: I am pleased for the occasion afforded me by Revue Internationale de Sociologie to formulate a few thoughts of mine on Lucio Castellano’s book, Il Potere degli Altri (The Power of Others) indeed, this provides me with the opportunity of committing to writing a few points deriving from the informal discussions in which I have had the pleasure to take part with its author over the past few years in the room we share at the Faculty of Statistics at Rome’s “La Sapienza” University. What follows is not meant to be a review of the above book, but deals exclusively with the clarifying of the terms of a question which I posed myself over the course of the long journey on which the text conducts us, linking politological themes (sovereignty, democracy, government of the res publica, decision-making power, obedience to the laws of the State, equal rights, juridical-procedural rules etc) with issues concerning the “theory of society- (the formation of societal identity, societies’ environment, the nature of social norms, common sense, institutionalization, the measurement of strength relationships, symbolic representation, emancipation from the constraints of domination etc) and the philosophy of science (truth, contradiction, natural language, scientific theory, paradigm, objective || construct, formal universe, Wertsfreiheit, symbolic generalization etc). My question is: is it acceptable, given the present state of the social sciences, to make epistemology directly or indirectly dependent on forms of political decisionism? The book’s answer to this question is affirmative.

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