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The Moral Foundations of Social Institutions : Professor Seumas Miller :

The background moral considerations that legitimate these collective ends when they are legitimate , along with the moral rights that constrain the pursuit of these collective ends, provide the moral foundation of social institutions. The resulting account is remarkable for its practical and theoretical breadth. While there are points in the text where one wishes for less breadth and more argumentative detail, the book is undeniably valuable, filling a gap in the existing literature and providing a helpful analysis of the normative dimensions of social institutions.

The book is divided into two parts, "Theory" and "Applications.

The "Applications" section weaves its way through discussions of The Professions, Welfare institutions, The University, The Police, The Business Corporation, and Institutions and Information and Communication Technology, and concludes with a discussion of that most central institution, Government. The Applications section nicely explicates much of his theoretical framework.

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Indeed, his treatment of particular institutions provides as much support for his overall position as do the arguments presented in the earlier section. Together, the Theory and Applications sections provide a coherent and complete picture of his individualistic teleological normative account of institutions.

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In what follows, I will first describe his account of institutions and their moral foundations; then I will proceed to consider a few of his applications. I will conclude with a few critical comments.

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The individualism that shapes Miller's account is at the foreground throughout. While institutions are pervasive features of our social environment, Miller takes their moral foundation as much as their practical agency and ontological standing to depend entirely on individuals, their relations, and the ends those individuals pursue.

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Moral foundations theory

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The Moral Foundations of Social Institutions

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What are social institutions?

The article reports on a study of structural-moral foundations of economic activity. The author criticizes the formation of economic theories based on the analysis of human abilities. As an alternative, offered another framework: study of the properties and structure of habitus. The author investigates the source of the progressive development of society and the reasons for the failures of economic activity, shows a link between moral norms and social institutions.