Rules of the Game in Social Relationships

Cloth $19; Paper $11
Translated by Dan Farrelly 72 pages, 5½" x 8½" preface, notes, bibliography, index

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Rules of the Game in Social Relationships

Pieper, Josef

Josef Pieper’s readers become accustomed to the clarity of thought and expression in his writing—in combination with the impression he gives of being profoundly in touch with fundamentals. His conceptual clarity emerges from his awareness of basic human experience.

This book began life in 1933 as a small book produced in a sociological research institute and was encumbered, not surprisingly, with unwieldy academic jargon. It took on a new life as a result of a challenging statement by Max Frisch, who, in 1976, stated that establishing peace in the world required the transformation of society into a community.

Amazed by the naivety of Frisch’s claim, Pieper set about defining three types of social interaction and describing how they function. 1. The community is an intimate grouping based on mutual affirmation of its members what they share in common. The family is an example. 2. Society is the sphere we enter on leaving the intimate circle in which we live. Here, tact, etiquette and contract come into play for the protection of one another’s privacy. 3. Organization is the sphere dominated by usefulness of the individual.

Pieper is particularly concerned about the cog in the wheel mentality of certain political regimes. The book is a characteristic example of the philosopher’s concern with political reality.