Arendt debating Social Science, Kieran Bonner


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“Sociologists say the best way to describe human interaction in society is through the concept of role. In everyday life we play roles as student, teacher, parent, child, male female, employee, manager, etc. Arendt, on the other hand argues that humans have a unique capacity to act, which for her means to begin something new, like Occupy Wall Street, where people abandon their past roles and start over. Sociologists argue that if many humans acted in the way described by Arendt, it would ultimately mean the breakdown of society. Who is right in this argument? How do we decide? Do we use scientific verification procedures? Is this a matter of describing and reporting the facts or of reflexive analysis? Are there any ethical issues involved?”

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