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Perceiving the Problem of Disenchantment

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In light of the framing of Asprem’s book in terms of Problemgeschichte, we can ask what is meant by a “problem.” Problems, as he uses it, are grounded in human experience, which means that for problems to be problems people have to perceive them as such. The problem of disenchantment thus entails both (1) the perception of the problem and (2) various responses to the problem. Asprem focuses primarily on the way people responded to the problem. But we can also ask how, when, and why people perceived the problem in the first place. If recognizing a problem can be construed in terms of “event perception” then we can view Problemgeschichte as involving the perception of problems at a whole range of levels from our perception of the historical past, our personal past, and what just happened, thus allowing for a fuller integration between sociology and psychology.

Affiliations: 1: University of California at Santa Barbara,


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