Human action for social ordering: a sociological analysis
Now we can integrate the five mechanisms of social ordering, namely metaphysical, moral, legal, political and economic ones, to offer a sociological analysis of social order. The problem of social order is redefined in order to explain how individual actors use their critical reason to agree on a system of common values for avoiding egoistic behaviours for the benefit of a peaceful social order as well as for promoting cooperative actions for the social good. The metaphysical mechanism implies that the actors agree on the meaning of the universe and man's place in it by rational dialogue. Once rational beings realize that the premises of their worldviews are not shown to be false, their conjectures about the universe will transform into shared worldviews. These unfalsified beliefs about the truth of the universe will then provide the actors with a shared concept of the good life at the core of their value system through the moral mechanism of social order. The critical rationalist theory of social order introduces the shared views of the universe and the good life as normative peacekeepers of social order. Through the creation of common cultural bases, the harmonized goals of human actors prevent conflicts of interest.
The critical rationalist theory of social order then argues that the actors use normative consensus in order to create the system of human rights necessary for turning such an agreement into an enforceable law. The meaning of the good life shapes the contents of human rights by leading to the notion of equal rights for each person to enjoy the opportunity of the good life. Informed by the concept of the good life, the legal mechanism of social ordering enables the actors to establish the institutions of law in society to assure equal rights to the good life for all. However, enforceable law requires executive power for executing the legal standards of equal access to the good life in practice. According to the critical rationalist theory of social order, the political mechanism of social ordering implies that rational actors create a system of governance with legitimacy for using the monopoly of power to enforce the law of society.
Given the moral consensus on legal and political institutions, the critical rationalist theory of social order proceeds to explain the economic mechanism, arguing that the actors use critical reason to solve the economic problem of society by asking how rational agents in the economy can mobilize their resources to meet the needs of their good life. To fulfil this function, the actors on the supply side realize the necessity for shaping their production plans to take into account the workforce, capital and land according to their acceptance of human rights to the good life. This not only avoids conflicts of interests, but also coordinates production plans through the system of enforceable law that defines persons' legal rights in the means of production. On the demand side, the actors realize that the meaning of the good life they have given themselves is what shapes their individual demands for goods and services. This leads the demand side of the market to a coordinated set of subjective preferences according to the existing system of common values upon which the consumers' preferences are shaped to prevent conflicting demands. The spontaneous trade-off between producers and consumers under the consciousness agreement on common values and human rights enables society as a whole to solve its economic problem of allocating scarce resources to peoples’ diverse needs.
In this way, the critical rationalist theory of social order explains the rise of a peaceful social order through the set of five emancipatory actions whose meaning are different in each area although individuals use critical reason in all of them to give themselves a social order. Moreover, critical reason enables individuals to give themselves a legal order in order to make moral consensus an enforceable law. Thus, a political order with a monopoly of power to execute that enforceable law emerges along with an economic order providing society with resources required for the realization of equal human rights to the good life. Critical rationality reveals the rationalization for a system of moral, just, legitimate and effective social order based on shared views of the universe, the good life, human rights, political legitimacy and economic efficiency. Inspired by Kant, I offer a critical rationalist theory of social order that applies the general theory of critical rationalism to explain how human actors give themselves a peaceful and just social order.