It is always most difficult to straddle an issue but that seems to be the American way. Ever since Jefferson declared that he had sworn sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man, he has been the great champion of the freedom of non-religion in the United States – it being assumed that all religions exert some form of tyranny of the minds of their adherents. Instead of religion we had first progress and then science and finally social science and while the first two required individuals for their highest expression the last is their abysmal corruption into collectivism.
But the argument by no means started with Jefferson and America. Philosophically it is at least as old as Plato and Aristotle and historically it is interesting to see that the full flower of individualism blossoms with Christianity. With Christianity there is God who is superior to every earthly power and man – created in his image and likeness and having, each and every one, a individual immortal soul and being specifically answerable to God for the stewardship of his life – can no longer be forced to acknowledge an earthly king as a deity. Remember the crime for which many early Christians were martyred was lese-majeste, a treasonable offense violating the dignity of a ruler as the representative of a sovereign power, most often the refusal to acknowledge the assumed divinity of Caesar.
Augustine places the limits on the ruler when he asks, In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery? And he also explains our exceptionalism when he tells us that, If we did not have rational souls, we would not be able to believe. This is where he parts company with Jefferson who exhorts us to, Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear, to which Augustine would answer simply, Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
The triumph of Jefferson over Augustine has meant that every article of faith from the existence of God to the relationship of God to man and man to God is an open question. Effectively this means the end of the Christian religion which – like every religion – depends upon Dogma [the Apostle's Creed for example] and leaves us open to the vagaries of the improper application of an inexact set of experiments and observations called social science. And the dogma of social science is that we are the results of genetic mutation in apes and may be herded as easily as any other animal. Indeed their greatest discovery is that we “need” to be herded for the common good and anyone who dares question this is guilty of leze-majeste. Does it seem that we have come full circle back to a king meeting out just and unjust laws to a savage race? Anyone who takes Toumela’s work as anything but a warning will be subject to, The flash and outbreak of a fiery mind, A savageness in unreclaimed blood.
The philosophy of sociality : the shared point of view Oxford [England] ; New York : Oxford University Press, c 2007 Raimo Tuomela Social epistemology Hardcover. 1st. ed., later printing. viii, 318 p. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 302-310) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
Concepts based on full-blown collective intentionality (aboutness), viz., we-mode intentionality, are central for understanding and explaining the social world. The book systematically studies social groups, acting in them as a group member, collective commitment, group intentions, beliefs, and actions, especially authority-based group attitudes and actions. There are also chapters on cooperation, social institutions, cultural evolution, and group responsibility.
The Philosophy of Sociality examines the nature of sociality in its various forms, with special emphasis on collective intentionality. Raimo Tuomela begins with a distinction between the “we-perspective” and the “I-perspective.” His study of strong collective intentionality – as expressed by joint intentions, collective commitment, group belief, authority-based group action, and other phenomena – outlines the circumstances under which an individual is required to think and act as a group member. By developing a systematic theory of sociality, Tuomela investigates such topics as social institutions, cooperation, cultural evolution, and group responsibility.
In The Philosophy of Sociality Tuomela asserts that “we-mode” collective intentionality is a conceptual prerequisite for understanding basic social notions. He finds several contexts in which we-mode intentionality is preferable to “pro-group” I-mode intentionality. He ultimately defends a naturalistic view of the social world by arguing that the we-mode is a genetic and cultural adaptaion.