Open peer commentary on the target article “Who Conceives of Society?” by Ernst von Glasersfeld. Excerpt: Von Glasersfeld claims that socialization arises from drives, interests, purposes, and inclinations (§41). These are all functions of intelligence, and none of these is a social phenomenon. The concept of society, he claims, “has to be formed by each individual by means of generalization from his or her own experiences” (§42). This sort of methodological individualism views the individual as a natural kind and society as an artificial construction. In the wake of the new sociology of science, which has demonstrated the dangers of trying to distinguish immutable facts from our descriptions of the world, methodological individualism is doubly problematic. It violates the fundamental perspective that drives sociology, and it ignores the empirical results of the new sociology of science.
Restivo S. (2008) Society, Social Construction, and the Sociological Imagination. Constructivist Foundations 3(2): 94–96. Available at http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/3/2/094.restivo