Theorizing Blame As a Relational Dynamic: Possibilities in Holism

Thursday, 19 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Barbara HANSON, York University, Canada
Blame can be modelled as a dynamic in social theory in keeping with the suggestions of holistic epistemology. The attribution of cause and through this blame or responsibility is a form of interpretation inherited from monotheism. Mechanistic epistemology (separation into parts, linear causality) has been transported into current practices of social theoretical activity via modes of interpretation prevalent in European based education. These modes were forged in medieval times through the fusion of Aristotle’s philosophy with Christian theology and passed on implicitly through church influence in European lineage schools and universities. Linear causality and mechanism therefore shape models of blame. Looking holistically instead allows seeing blaming as a dynamic that can work from the internal conversations of individual humans to global phenomena like markets and trading blocks. This is possible by importing the legal conception of persons into social theory. With this in place it is possible to see that blaming is fuelled by needs to reduce uncertainty, separation of ego from badness, desire for efficacy and a quest for righteousness.