In this essay, we provide a comprehensive reply to the critical commentaries by David Inglis, Thomas Kemple, William Outhwaite, Simon Susen, Bryan S. Turner, and Robin Wagner-Pacifici. Our reply is structured along three main pillars. Firstly, we clarify what we aim to achieve with existence theory. Drawing on neo-pragmatist philosophy, our aim is to present a new and useful perspective on a wide range of social phenomena; we do not attempt to tackle or resolve broad philosophical issues. Secondly, we demonstrate that we do not subscribe to an algorithmic notion of society which posits that people’s trajectories have to fit a neat, linear pathway. Related, we do not wish to impose a normative model that endorses the existential milestones that are dominant in any particular society. Thirdly, building on various helpful pointers from our critics, we elaborate on various ways in which the theory could be enriched and further developed: for instance, by bringing in insights from the sociology of generations, critical theory, and sociological studies of the body.
- existence theory