Revisiting Weber and Habermas on Rationality and Compathy from Asian Perspectives

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:30-10:20
RC16 Sociological Theory (host committee)

Language: English

The social theory of rationality faces double challenges today: the apparent limits of instrumental-scientific rationality firmly institutionalized in modern systems on the one hand, and the upsurge of emotion in politics and everyday life as exemplified by Brexit, Trump syndromes and various populist movements in the world, on the other. In this context, Habermas has opened up the space for a rational discourse on normative-practical issues and, as such, represents a significant innovative response to these challenges. However, it still remains uncertain how to treat emotion in general and compathy in particular when we construct a social theory of rationality. Empathy means common feelings deeply rooted in history and widely shared by its actors. The claim backed up by pioneering researches that human behaviors are fundamentally shaped by emotions, calls for a new approach to the relation between rationality and empathy. For instance, how second modernity, as a societal mode of transformation, can be defined in terms of its rational basis of social organization should be investigated. This is why the session revisits Weber and Habermas with three objectives: 1) to examine how they dealt with the relation between rationality and empathy; 2) to introduce the Asian focus of rationality on the balance of emotion (情: qing) and reason (理: li), as expressed in such popular notions as qlingli rationality, qingli society, and qingli politics; and, finally 3) to explore the possible converging elements in conceptualizing the role of compathy as an important characteristic of second modern rationality.
Session Organizer:
Sang-Jin HAN, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
Song-U CHON, Hanyang University, Republic of Korea
Oral Presentations
Weberian Approach to the Theology of Yong-Gi Cho
Hong-Jung KIM, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea
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