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Purposes: A purpose is that for which something is done. The purpose is not the cause of an action. A person acting must be aware of the purpose of her or his action. See also Goals, Actions, Action theory, Intentions, Rationality, Causes.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Political Philosophy on Purposes - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 64
Purposes/political philosophy/Forbes: The discussion of a community’s purposes can take a variety of forms and need not put a lot of emphasis on formal institutions, as Michael Lind (1995)(1) shows. Indeed, it may look a lot like the analysis of causal conditions. Putnam (2000)(2), for example, is in many ways similar to Putnam (1993)(3), but the two books are directed to different goals. Making Democracy Work offers a causal theory based on a quasi-experimental analysis of regional differences. Bowling Alone is a more diagnostic and therapeutic investigation of contemporary American political culture. It tries to define a malaise in the way Americans relate to each other and pursue their collective purposes.
>R. Putnam.
Gaus I 65
Clarifying collective purposes, particularly those of large, complex, multi-purpose political institutions and whole societies, has always been a challenge for the academic observer of politics. Only in the past century has it gradually been overshadowed by the scientific analysis of causal conditions and, more recently still, by the development of an impressive calculus of individual interests and decisions. Yet the challenge remains, as may be seen in accounts of ‘the new institutionalism’ (Hall and Taylor, 1996(4); Immergut, 1998(5)) and in the literature on ‘the power of ideas’ (Berman, 1998(6); Blyth, 2002(7); Hall, 1989(8); Majone, 1996(9)). The recent literature on constructivism in international relations and comparative politics (see Adler, 1997(10); 2002(11); Checkel, 1998(12); Finnemore and Sikkink, 2001(13); Ruggie, 1998(14); Wendt, 1999(15)) may provide the most revealing discussions of the problem of understanding collective purposes and relating them to the currently dominant forms of political analysis.

1. Lind, Michael (1995) The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution. New York: Free.
2. Putnam, Robert D. (2000) Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster.
3. Putnam, Robert D. (1993) Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
4. Hall, Peter A. and Rosemary C. R. Taylor (1996) ‘Political science and the three new institutionalisms’. Political Studies, 44: 936–57.
5. Immergut, Ellen M. (1998) ‘The theoretical core of the new institutionalism’. Politics and Society, 26: 5–34.
6. Berman, Sheri (1998) The Social Democratic Movement: Ideas and Politics in the Making of Interwar Europe. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
7. Blyth, Mark (2002) Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
8. Hall, Peter A., ed. (1989) The Political Power of Economic Ideas. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
9. Majone, Giandomenico (1996) ‘Public policy and administration: ideas, interests and institutions’. In Robert E. Goodin and Hans-Dieter Klingemann, eds, A New Handbook of Political Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 610–27.
10. Adler, Emanuel (1997) ‘Seizing the middle ground: constructivism in world politics’. European Journal of International Relations, 3: 319–63.
11. Adler, Emanuel (2002) ‘Constructivism in international relations: sources, contributions, debates, and future directions’. In Walter Carlsnaes, Thomas Risse and Beth A. Simmons, eds, Handbook of International Relations. London: Sage, 95–118.
12. Checkel, Jeffrey T. (1998) ‘The constructivist turn in international relations theory’. World Politics, 50: 324–48.
13. Finnemore, Martha and Kathryn Sikkink (2001) ‘Taking stock: the constructivist research program in international relations and comparative politics’. Annual Review of Political Science, 4: 391–416.
14. Ruggie, John Gerard (1998) Constructing the World Polity: Essays on International Institutionalization. New York: Routledge.
15. Wendt, Alexander (1999) Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Forbes, H. Donald 2004. „Positive Political Theory“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Political Philosophy
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

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