Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 29 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The development of a science of morality, or what he called rational moral art (l’art moral rationnel), is one of Durkheim’s most ambitious endeavors. The very idea of rational art will strike many as an oxymoron. Yet it is precisely at the intersection, and within the tension, of these two terms—art and the rational—that we find Durkheim’s most mature efforts at establishing a science of morality. On the one hand, this science is rational insofar as it is attentive to the actual, lived social practices and institutions of humans in various cultures at various times. On the other hand, this science is a form of art insofar as it employs practical judgment and creativity as it seeks to move from the detailed studies of the social scientist to the reformist critique of social institutions and practices. In short, Durkheim recommended that sociologists join sociohistorical skill to the moral imagination.

Keywords: science of morality, moral facts, ethics, rational moral art, social criticism, moral imagination, Emile Durkheim

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.