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The Cheryl Frank Memorial Prize for 2017

We are delighted that our book Morphogenesis and Human Flourishing was awarded the Cheryl Frank Memorial Prize for 2017. This is what the prize committee said about the book:

This is an edited collection on the nature of morphogenic society, the ethics of flourishing, and the relationship between social change and ethics. It is a rich dialogue which can stimulate further debate about flourishing under modern social conditions. While there is some unevenness in the 13 chapters, the book is worthy of the Cheryl Frank prize for how it pulls together and focuses a strong group of critical realists writing about ethical issues. Its approach differs from other critical realist work in the field by Christian Smith and Andrew Sayer. It is the final volume in a series of five that includes volumes on social morphogenesis, late modernity, generative mechanisms, and the crisis of normativity. Recognised as the culmination of this broader achievement, Morphogenesis and Human Flourishing is nonetheless judged on its own merits for the prize.

Find out more about the book here.. It was the final volume in our Social Morphogenesis series.

Acknowledgment to the Independent Social Research Foundation

With the grateful thanks from all contributors to our Book Series on  ‘Social Morphogenesis’ for the funding and support that we have received from the ISRF over six years.

Without this help we could not have met in different European cities for the first week in January every year, enjoyed our exchanges immensely and managed to produce a book a year:-

  • Archer, Margaret S. (Ed.), 2013, Vol 1, Social Morphogenesis, Dordrecht, Springer.
  • Archer, Margaret S. (Ed.), 2014, Vol 2, Late Modernity: Trajectories towards Morphogenic Society, Dordrecht, Springer.
  • Archer, Margaret S., (Ed), 2015, Vol 3, Generative Mechanisms Transforming the Social Order, Dordrecht, Springer.
  • Archer, Margaret S., (Ed.), 2016, Vol. 4, Morphogenesis and the Crisis of Normativity, Dordrecht, Springer.
  • Archer, Margaret S., (Ed.), 2017, Vol. 5, Morphogenesis and the Good Society, Dordrecht, Springer.

Thank you from us all for supporting our independent research and the foundation of the Centre for Social Ontology.

Convergences of General System Theory, Critical Realism and Theory of Society

Our collaborator Wolfgang  Hofkirchner recently gave a paper at the ISA in Vienna (available online here)  in which he discussed philosophical, that is, praxiological, ontological and epistemological foundations of a theory of social systems. In particular, he addressed the confluence of critical thinking and systems thinking – of Critical Theory and Systems Philosophy – in the context of social theory. Critical Theory has its origins in the Frankfurt School going back to Marx and has developed since into a variety of different approaches. Systems Philosophy is considered as having its origins in Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s General System Theory. It has been developing in the discourse about Evolutionary Systems and Complexity Thinking.

A special focus was given to the post-Luhmannian attempts to reframe the social (Poe Yu-Ze Wan 2011: Reframing the social: Emergentist Systemism and Social Theory). They show a striking affinity of two strands: Critical Realism, on the one hand, that is grounded on some Marxian assumptions and dialectical logic – in particular, the approach of Social Ontology as represented by Margaret S. Archer (with whom the Bertalanffy Center has been co-operating since 2012) – and Emergentist Systemism, on the other, a well-cast term for the gist of Systems Philosophy so far, going back to Mario Bunge (whom the BCSSS awarded the Ludwig von Bertalanffy Award in Complexity Thinking in 2014).

In contradistinction to suggestions such as to even de-ontologise Luhmann’s theory of social systems that gave already rise to rather constructivist views, Hofkirchner would promote to revisit some Luhmannian topoi and interpret those in the light of the mentioned convergences so as to fit a more coherent social theory.