[lit-ideas] Re: Practical Logic

  • From: "Torgeir Fjeld" <phatic@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2007 23:45:02 +0100

Somewhere this thread was concerned with the question of whether the term 
'practical logic' as used by Bourdieu had anything to do with logic as academic 
scholars know it. It was suggested that Bourdieu used the term to illustrate 
how fields of practice may be governed by a logic that is immanent to those who 
practice but which may appear irrational or self-defeating to outsiders. For 
instance, we often hear commentaries to televised soccer games where someone 
mutters that 'there was chaos in the defence before the goal was conceded,' 
when on closer scrutiny we might find that each of the defending players were 
acting in accordance with a carefully rehearsed and thought-out logic of 
practice. The goal was conceded not as a result of illogical soccer practice 
but in spite of carefully crafted actions by all those involved. Does this mean 
that formal logic has no place in soccer practice? 

"Robert Paul" <rpaul@xxxxxxxx> remarks:

> I might say, as some have already said here, 
> that in order to settle questions about such things one already has 
> to be able to see what follows from what, and this logic, not 
> epistemology can help you with.

It may be fruitful to draw attention to the distinction in Bourdieu between the 
practical sense of lay people and the scholatic attitude of the social 
scientist. Even if it may be possible to study the academic knowledge field as 
a space of practice, it is distinct at least in the sense that its 
practitioners have rigorous training in scientific procedures. The craft of 
sociology enables those who practice it to appropriate lay knowledges as 
scientific -- it is operative of the very distinction between lay people and 

Best regards,
Torgeir Fjeld
Oslo, Norway

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