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Boudon's Contribution to the Objectivity of Ethics

Fusari, Angelo (2009): Boudon's Contribution to the Objectivity of Ethics. Published in: in the book entitled Raymond Boudon. A life in Sociology No. Edited by M. Cerkaoui and P. Hamilton, The Bardwell Press, Oxford (2009): pp. 1-10.

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Boudon’s intellectual production is wide, complex and offers a quantity of original contributions. A main aspect of this author’s scientific work is the objectivist and anti relativist exploration on values, a deepening expressing the perception of fundamental analytical necessities and that, mainly through its implications on method and the same vision of social thought, sooner or later will greatly stimulate innovation. In modern complex societies, characterized by rapid changes in organizational and ethical foundations and a strong push toward globalization, it becomes more and more evident the necessity to overhaul the axiomatic basis and the genesis of judgement criteria with their implications, mainly the interaction with institutional order and the transition of civilizations. In particular, it is pressing the need to solder, in the context of social integration, individual and collective behaviour to the exigency of rationality. Moreover, it is important to avoid cultural diffusion exogenously forced and to clarify in a stringent way the degenerative characters of some values, such as religious fundamentalism, tyrannies and totalitarian views that have claimed to regenerate man while are some true dead-ends. The first section of this essay treats the present condition of the theory of values and dedicates some brief note to its role in social research. Section two amplifies such treatment and analyses Boudon’s position in that context, mainly expressed by his theory of objective values. Finally, section three treats the way to remedy some omissions that, in our opinion, limit the fecundity of Boudon’s proposals and that mainly refer to some axiomatic foundations on method. The essay ends with an exhortation to overcome, through science, the unfruitful contrast between voluntarists and the followers of spontaneous motion. For space reasons, the paper dedicates only a quick analysis to some delicate questions that we diffusely treated in other studies on Boudon, sending back to them for a major deepening1.

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