According to Leontiev’s “activity approach,” the external world is not something available to be “worked over” according to a subject’s inner or “ideal” representations; at stake instead is the emergence of an “idealized” objective world that relates to a subject’s activity both internally and externally construed. In keeping with a Marxian account of anthropogenesis, Leontiev links the emergence of “ideality” with social activity itself, incorporating it within the general movement between the poles of ‘inner’ cognition and ‘external’ action. (...) In this manner, Leontiev both parallels and goes beyond Hutto and Myin’s recent “enactivist” account of “content-involving” cognition, where representational thought depends on socio-cultural scaffolding and, as such, is uniquely human. What traditionally comes to be called representational content is for Leontiev the result of the transition from a primitive cognitive apparatus of “image-consciousness” to a one which is mediated by social activity. For the being endowed with “activity-consciousness,” mental content is something apprehended by assimilating “the objective world in its ideal form” [Leontiev, 1977, p. 189]. And the precondition for such assimilation is the apprehension of meanings from their origin in the social-material system of activity. The genesis of content-involving cognition is thus coeval with the development of socializing activity systems, replete with the external representations of values and norms as described in enactivist literature as publicly scaffolded symbol systems. Leontiev thus offers an anti-internalist account of cognition commensurate with Hutto and Myin but with the added dimension of a developmental scale of analysis with which to explain the origin of human-specific cognition. (shrink)
Divided into two parts, the first concentrates on the logical properties of propositions, their relation to facts and sentences, and the parallel objects of commands and questions. The second part examines theories of intentionality and discusses the relationship between different theories of naming and different accounts of belief.
In a pair of very important papers, namely “Space, Time and Individuals” in the Journal of Philosophy for October 1955 and “The Indestructibility and Immutability of Substances” in Philosophical Studies for April 1956, Professor N. L. Wilson began something which badly needed beginning, namely the construction of a logically rigorous “substance-language” in which we talk about enduring and changing individuals as we do in common speech, as opposed to the “space-time” language favoured by very many mathematical logicians, perhaps most notably (...) by Quine. This enterprise of Wilson's is one with which I could hardly sympathize more heartily than I do; and one wishes for this logically rigorous “substance-language” not only when one is reading Quine but also when one is reading many other people. How fantastic it is, for instance, that Kotarbinski1 should call his metaphysics “Reism” when the very last kind of entity it has room for is things —instead of them it just has the world-lines or life-histories of things; “fourdimensional worms”, as Wilson says. Wilson, moreover, has at least one point of superiority to another rebel against space-time talk, P. F. Strawson; namely he does seriously attempt to meet formalism with formalism—to show that logical rigour is not a monopoly of the other side. At another point, however, Strawson seems to me to see further than Wilson; he is aware that substance-talk cannot be carried on without tenses, whereas Wilson tries to do without them. Wilson, in short, has indeed brought us out of Egypt; but as yet has us still wandering about the Sinai Peninsula; the Promised Land is a little further on than he has taken us. (shrink)
The man who is isolated over against God is as such rejected by God. But to be this man can only be the choice of the Godless man himself. The witness of the Community of God to every individual man points in this direction: that this choice of the Godless is null and void, that he belongs to Jesus Christ from eternity and thus is not rejected, but rather chosen by God in Jesus Christ, that the reprobation which he deserves (...) on the basis of his wrong choice is borne and removed by Jesus Christ; that on the basis of the true, the Divine choice he is chosen for eternal life with God. The promise of his election will determine him as a member of the Church to become himself a carrier of its witness to the whole world. And the revelation of his rejection can determine him only to believe in Jesus Christ as Him by whom it is borne and removed. (Fourth of Karl Barth's "main theses" on God's Election of Grace in his Dogmatic II/2). (shrink)
We can best begin from Wilson's "simple little puzzle" about Caesar and Antony: "What would the world be like if Julius Caesar had all the properties of Mark Antony and Mark Antony had all the properties of Julius Caesar?" Wilson's own approach to an answer is indirect--he begins by telling us not what such a world would be like but what it would look like. "Clearly the world would look exactly the same under our supposition." But this assumes that the (...) question "What would such a world look like?" is a proper one; which it surely is not. For his answer to it is meaningless until he specifies to whom this supposed world would look as he says it would. It would look exactly the same to him or to me; but would it have looked the same to Caesar or to Antony? In fact Julius Caesar had the experiences of being called "Julius Caesar," being murdered on the Ides of March, and so on, and these are very different experiences from being called "Mark Antony," dallying on the Nile with Cleopatra, and so on; so I don't see how this alternative course of events could possibly have looked the same to Julius Caesar; or--using a similar line of argument--to Mark Antony. So I cannot agree that, as Wilson goes on to say, "our attempt to describe a distinct possible world has produced just the same old world all over again." I am not, indeed, convinced that even a world which looked to everyone just as the actual one does would necessarily be the same world ; but even putting this doubt aside, since the world mentioned wouldn't look to everyone as the actual world does, it wouldn't be the same even by Wilson's own standards. (shrink)
A culture of thought : the bifurcation of nature -- Introducing Whitehead's philosophy: the lure of Whitehead -- "A thorough-going realism": Whitehead on cause and conformation -- The value of existence -- Societies, the social, and subjectivity -- Language and the body: from signification to symbolism -- This nature which is not one -- Capitalism, process, and abstraction.
Denys Turner argues that there are reasons of faith why the existence of God should be thought rationally demonstrable and that it is worthwhile revisiting the theology of Thomas Aquinas to see why. The proposition that the existence of God is demonstrable by rational argument is doubted by nearly all philosophical opinion today and is thought by most Christian theologians to be incompatible with Christian faith. Turner's robust challenge to the prevailing orthodoxies will be of interest to believers as well (...) as non-believers. (shrink)
Sufficient texts show that for aristotle the universal notion expresses the same real thing as the particular, Though in a different way. His grounds for a universal so conceived are twofold. First, In every sensible thing there is a basic formal principle that, Though individual, Brings each instance into formal identity with all the other instances. Secondly, In human intellectual cognition there is an active principle that raises knowledge above the status of photographing or registering or cataloguing, And actualizes what (...) was only potential in the real thing. In knowing sensible things universally, The human intellect is able to grasp the concrete thing as characterized by a formal nature, Thereby knowing it in a way that holds equally for all other instances. Though patently incomplete, This conception of the universal is free from internal contradictions. It provides a framework for fruitful discussion, And remains a challenge. (shrink)
This article introduces the work of A.N. Whitehead and analyses his relevance to contemporary social theory. It demonstrates how a range of authors have recently utilized the work of Whitehead across a range of topics and holds that there is a need for a general introduction to his work that will open up his ideas and possible impact to a wider readership. White-head’s work is introduced through a discussion of his critique of the philosophical and scientific conceptions of substance and (...) materiality, which led to the establishment of nature as passive, external and distinct from the human or social realm. The article further analyses some of the consequences of this position, such as viewing all data or information about the world as inert. This leads to Whitehead’s argument that the retention of these ‘outdated’ conceptions has contributed to contemporary misconceptions of the status of objects within science, for example – genes. I suggest that Whitehead offers much to social theory especially in terms of re-thinking the natural/social distinction and moving beyond linguistic and discursive production to a theory of genuine construction that can incorporate both materiality and subjectivity. (shrink)