The Theory of Action and the Problem of Homo Duplex

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:45
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Jiri SUBRT, Charles University, Czech Republic
The Theory of Action and the Problem of Homo Duplex

This contribution is devoted to a consideration of  the possible consequences  for the theory of action were the assumption accepted that  human beings are inherently dual  in the sense  that Emil Durkheim supposes in the concept of “homo duplex”. Durkheim argues that  human beings are divided in an internally contradictory manner. Our physical body, on the one hand, is the source of our endless needs and desires, of our egoism. Our socialized being, on the other hand, is the construct of the society that lives and acts through us and controls and diminishes the symptoms of our egoism through internalized moral principles. A similar conclusion has been reached by many other thinkers before and after Durkheim. According to Georg Simmel, the human is a dual being, one part of which is directed outside itself, and attracted by society, by associations with others, while the second part is a “world in itself” which wants autonomy, independence and detachment from other people. William Isaac Thomas and Florian Znaniecki distinguished two components of human personality, temperament and character, the former being naturally given, while the  latter is socially formed. George Herbert Mead presents the characteristics of the human "Self" as a contradictory unity of the two components "I" and "Me". "I" is an individual, subjective component which is active and creative; "Me" is an objective, passive component, which is formed primarily by the internalized attitudes of the social group or society to which the individual belongs. The first question which occupies this contribution is how  the concept of homo duplex could be projected into the theory of action, structuring and social order. The second question it deals with is whether such an approach could be compatible with Parsons' AGIL scheme.

                                                                                                          Jiří Šubrt