Hot Best Seller

Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture

Availability: Ready to download

What kind of animals are human beings? And how do our visions of the human shape our theories of social action and institutions? In Moral, Believing Animals, Christian Smith advances a creative theory of human persons and culture that offers innovative, challenging answers to these and other fundamental questions in sociological, cultural, and religious theory. Smith suggest What kind of animals are human beings? And how do our visions of the human shape our theories of social action and institutions? In Moral, Believing Animals, Christian Smith advances a creative theory of human persons and culture that offers innovative, challenging answers to these and other fundamental questions in sociological, cultural, and religious theory. Smith suggests that human beings have a peculiar set of capacities and proclivities that distinguishes them significantly from other animals on this planet. Despite the vast differences in humanity between cultures and across history, no matter how differently people narrate their lives and histories, there remains an underlying structure of human personhood that helps to order human culture, history, and narration. Drawing on important recent insights in moral philosophy, epistemology, and narrative studies, Smith argues that humans are animals who have an inescapable moral and spiritual dimension. They cannot avoid a fundamental moral orientation in life and this, says Smith, has profound consequences for how sociology must study human beings.


Compare

What kind of animals are human beings? And how do our visions of the human shape our theories of social action and institutions? In Moral, Believing Animals, Christian Smith advances a creative theory of human persons and culture that offers innovative, challenging answers to these and other fundamental questions in sociological, cultural, and religious theory. Smith suggest What kind of animals are human beings? And how do our visions of the human shape our theories of social action and institutions? In Moral, Believing Animals, Christian Smith advances a creative theory of human persons and culture that offers innovative, challenging answers to these and other fundamental questions in sociological, cultural, and religious theory. Smith suggests that human beings have a peculiar set of capacities and proclivities that distinguishes them significantly from other animals on this planet. Despite the vast differences in humanity between cultures and across history, no matter how differently people narrate their lives and histories, there remains an underlying structure of human personhood that helps to order human culture, history, and narration. Drawing on important recent insights in moral philosophy, epistemology, and narrative studies, Smith argues that humans are animals who have an inescapable moral and spiritual dimension. They cannot avoid a fundamental moral orientation in life and this, says Smith, has profound consequences for how sociology must study human beings.

30 review for Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture

  1. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    This book mainly summarizes and codifies religious thought in the field of sociology. His thoughts on morality, belief, and religion are eloquent and appealing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Interesting reading. Smith finds himself somewhere between sociology and theology but managed to combine the two disciplines. Lots of examples (sometimes they tend to make the reading a bit tedious), but overall it is a readable volume.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kendall

    a short tome that makes for a perfect saturday afternoon read in the bathtub. not sure i agree with some of the fundamental assumptions but it serves as a reminder of the importance of questioning what one does and believes and how that may be a result of societal norms or a conscious choice.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Cranney

    A well-written, concise portrayal of an iconoclastic perspective not often presented.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Mcneill

    Smith's analysis of what makes us human is an incredible and illuminating work. As a social psychologist I found his criticism of reigning paradigms insightful and his postulation of an alternative perspective brilliant. Fundamentally, humans are moral, believing creatures (animals seems to me to be an loaded term based on the premise that humans are mostly the same as other creatures - but perhaps that's only my impression of the term). In cultural environments we share moral frameworks that dr Smith's analysis of what makes us human is an incredible and illuminating work. As a social psychologist I found his criticism of reigning paradigms insightful and his postulation of an alternative perspective brilliant. Fundamentally, humans are moral, believing creatures (animals seems to me to be an loaded term based on the premise that humans are mostly the same as other creatures - but perhaps that's only my impression of the term). In cultural environments we share moral frameworks that drive our behaviour towards what we believe is good. The narratives we tell to ourselves and each other shape our understanding of what is good and thus mold our character and behaviours.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    "Postmodernism wishes to liberate individuals from moral orders by granting the freedom of unfettered self-creation. Such a liberation is an illusion, a sociological absurdity. As heretical as it sounds to both modern and postmodern ears, it is necessarily only by giving ourselves to, indeed, by submitting ourselves to, specific moral orders derived from particular historical traditions that we can ever have anything like flourishing humanity. The truly autonomous individual turns out to be a de "Postmodernism wishes to liberate individuals from moral orders by granting the freedom of unfettered self-creation. Such a liberation is an illusion, a sociological absurdity. As heretical as it sounds to both modern and postmodern ears, it is necessarily only by giving ourselves to, indeed, by submitting ourselves to, specific moral orders derived from particular historical traditions that we can ever have anything like flourishing humanity. The truly autonomous individual turns out to be a dead individual in every way imaginable." - pg. 156

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    A sociology text that gets to the heart of personhood debates. He's written a bigger book since, but I like this one, especially its sections on narrative. Everyone has a narrative, even the "objective" and "neutral" empirical scientists who think they do not. Worth re-reading. A sociology text that gets to the heart of personhood debates. He's written a bigger book since, but I like this one, especially its sections on narrative. Everyone has a narrative, even the "objective" and "neutral" empirical scientists who think they do not. Worth re-reading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    N Perrin

    An excellent and accessible vision of what it is to be human as essentially creatures who live within moral narratives. A helpful guide to cast off the detritus of modern rationalist and postmodern self-creation anthropologies that obstruct our pursuit of self-understanding.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bill Berg Berg

    https://beingbeliefbehavior.blogspot.... https://beingbeliefbehavior.blogspot....

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kori Morris

    Why am I reading this religious sociology text for a non-theologically based intro class at a secular state school? This is what I get for going to school in Texas I guess. Honestly the book isn't poorly written (so 2 stars for that) but it starts at a theology based-point, and the arguements it advances it advances suffer because of it. The author reaches to prove his points, and makes connections that wouldn't follow if it weren't for taking God on faith. Why am I reading this religious sociology text for a non-theologically based intro class at a secular state school? This is what I get for going to school in Texas I guess. Honestly the book isn't poorly written (so 2 stars for that) but it starts at a theology based-point, and the arguements it advances it advances suffer because of it. The author reaches to prove his points, and makes connections that wouldn't follow if it weren't for taking God on faith.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Sverker

    I should really give a thorough review of this book because it was an interesting read and I think Smith should be lauded for his way of dealing with both evolutionary psychology on the one hand and more cultural focused perspectives on the other hand and trying to steal his way somewhere in the middle. But I'm not sure I have the time or energy to really engage properly with the book. Smith manages to pay due account to the body for identity formation and argues for a 'human nature' and that th I should really give a thorough review of this book because it was an interesting read and I think Smith should be lauded for his way of dealing with both evolutionary psychology on the one hand and more cultural focused perspectives on the other hand and trying to steal his way somewhere in the middle. But I'm not sure I have the time or energy to really engage properly with the book. Smith manages to pay due account to the body for identity formation and argues for a 'human nature' and that this human nature is characterized by being, as the title says, a moral and believing animal. And I think this is where he argues that evolutionary psychology goes wrong. Their emphasis on (sham) altruism and individualism is not compatible with the strong place that belief and morals has in the human being. Smith's problem with the more cultural focused approaches is that they are unable to account for human motivation (I can see that in my own research on Judith Butler and her ambivalence with the concept of desire, so I think this is a valid point).

  12. 4 out of 5

    J.

    Very refreshing book by a Christian social scientist. The thesis of the book is that human being are by nature moral, believing, animals, and that therefore any reductivist, mechanistic, or otherwise shallow descritpion of humans will fail in its descriptive nature. It also contains as a subordinate subject the thesis that the sociology currently in vogue cannot adequately describe people because it is one of those simplistic approaches that does not take into account humans' need for moral stor Very refreshing book by a Christian social scientist. The thesis of the book is that human being are by nature moral, believing, animals, and that therefore any reductivist, mechanistic, or otherwise shallow descritpion of humans will fail in its descriptive nature. It also contains as a subordinate subject the thesis that the sociology currently in vogue cannot adequately describe people because it is one of those simplistic approaches that does not take into account humans' need for moral stories they can believe in. Also, tt is quite gutsy for an academic to openly declare herself a Christian and defend her stance as logically and cademically coherent, as the author briefly does. Finally someone who calls the bluffs of academics.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  14. 5 out of 5

    David

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Childs

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Josh Boss

  18. 5 out of 5

    Travis

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ezra Needham

  21. 5 out of 5

    Piers

  22. 5 out of 5

    Saie Joshi

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Marsh

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mikael

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tony Jones

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hyochan Lee

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  30. 5 out of 5

    Frans Kempe

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...