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Daniel Little
Works at University of Michigan-Dearborn
Attended University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
Lives in Dearborn, Michigan
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Daniel Little

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Earlier posts have addressed the issue of the rise of extreme-right parties and ideologies in many parts of the world, including Western Europe and the United States. A valuable multi-country research project now seeks to she...
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Daniel Little

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images: Rahman as keynote speaker at "Black Men in Unions" Institute, UM-Dearborn, 2012; Rahman with Huey Newton at Detroit Metro Airport, 1970 In an earlier post I discussed the path through which an African-American in...
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It seems likely that the coming year will bring unprecedented challenges in our social and political lives — racism and xenophobia…
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Recent posts have grappled with the interesting topic of phase transitions in physics (link, link, link). One reason for being interested in this topic is its possible relevance to the social world, where abrupt changes of st...
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Andrew Abbott is one of the thinkers within sociology who is not dependent upon a school of thought -- not structuralism, not positivism, not ethnomethodology, not even the Chicago School. He approaches the problems that inte...
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The topic of the historicity of academic disciplines has come up numerous times in this forum. It is a conviction of mine that disciplines demonstrate a great deal of path dependency over time in their evolution. We can think...
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Becoming an intellectual in any society is a chancy thing, and this is especially true for young people coming from backgrounds of disadvantage and discrimination. What were the influences that gave the child and young adult ...
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Georg Lukács in 1962 used the colorful image of a fictional "Grand Hotel Abyss" to express his disappointment in the theorists of the Frankfurt School. Here is a passage in which the idea is described in "Preface to the Theor...
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In an earlier post I considered the topic of phase transitions as a possible source of emergent phenomena (link). I argued there that phase transitions are indeed interesting, but don't raise a serious problem of strong emerg...
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Is sociology as a discipline different in France than in Germany or Britain? Or do common facts about the social world entail that sociology is everywhere the same? The social sciences feel different from physics or mathem...
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A primary reason for thinking that assemblage theory is important is the fact that it offers new ways of thinking about social ontology. Instead of thinking of the social world as consisting of fixed entities and properties, ...
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Work
Occupation
University administrator and professor of philosophy
Skills
University leadership and administration, research and writing, teaching philosophy
Employment
  • University of Michigan-Dearborn
    Chancellor and professor of philosophy, 2000 - present
  • University of Michigan
    Professor of sociology, 2010 - present
  • Bucknell University
    Vice President for Academic Affairs and professor of philosophy, 1996 - 2000
  • Colgate University
    Associate Dean of Faculty, 1993 - 1996
  • Colgate University
    Assistant Professor of Philosophy, 1979 - 1986
  • Colgate University
    Associate Professor of Philosophy, 1986 - 1991
  • Colgate University
    Professor of Philosophy, 1991 - 1996
  • University of Wisconsin-Parkside
    Assistant professor of philosophy, 1976 - 1979
  • Wellesley College
    Associate professor of philosophy (visiting), 1986 - 1988
  • Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
    Visiting scholar, 1989 - 1991
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Dearborn, Michigan
Story
Tagline
Philosopher of social science and the social world
Introduction

I am a philosopher of social science with a strong interest in Asia. I have written books on social explanation, Marx, late imperial China, the philosophy of history, and the ethics of economic development. Topics having to do with racial justice in the United States have become increasingly important to me in recent years. All these topics involve the complexities of social life and social change. I have come to see that understanding social processes is in many ways more difficult than understanding the natural world. Take the traditional dichotomy between structure and agency as an example. It turns out that social actions and social structures are reciprocal and inseparable. As Marx believed, “people make their own histories, but not in circumstances of their own choosing.” So we cannot draw a sharp separation between social structure and social agency. I think philosophers need to interact seriously and extensively with working social researchers and theorists if they are to be able to help achieve a better understanding the social world.

Education
  • University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
    A.B. philosophy, 1967 - 1971
  • University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
    B.S. mathematics, 1967 - 1971
  • Harvard University
    Ph.D. philosophy, 1971 - 1977
Basic Information
Gender
Male