In this article, cognitivism is understood as the view that the engine of human (individual and collective) action is the intentional, dispositional, or other mental capacities of the brain or the mind. Cognitivism has been criticized for considering the essence of human action to reside in its alleged source in mental processes at the expense of the social surroundings of the action, criticism that has often been inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein's later philosophy. This article explores the logical extent of the (...) critique of cognitivism, arguing that by positing collectively shared knowledge of criteria as the engine of human action many such critiques themselves display latent cognitivism. (shrink)
In this article, cognitivism is understood as the view that the engine of human action is the intentional, dispositional, or other mental capacities of the brain or the mind. Cognitivism has been criticized for considering the essence of human action to reside in its alleged source in mental processes at the expense of the social surroundings of the action, criticism that has often been inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein's later philosophy. This article explores the logical extent of the critique of cognitivism, (...) arguing that by positing collectively shared knowledge of criteria as the engine of human action many such critiques themselves display latent cognitivism. (shrink)
A range of multidisciplinarily arguments and observations can and have been employed to challenge the view that the human relationship to nature is fundamentally a cognitive matter of collectively held cultural ideas and values about nature. At the same time, the very similar cognitivist idea of collective sharing of conceptual schemes, normative orientations, and the like as the engine of collective action remains the chief analytic tool offered by many influential philosophical and sociological theories of collective action and human sociality (...) generally. Critically discussing in empirical as well as theoretical contexts the prospects of cognitivism to account for the human collective causing of environmental problems, the paper illustrates the deficiencies of cognitivism about collective action and discusses the challenges facing a different way forward. (shrink)
Critically discussing the causal social ontologies presented by Dave Elder-Vass and John Searle, the article argues that these views implausibly identify the causal ontological source of human sociality in collectively known, recognized and accepted statuses, criteria, norms and the like. This is implausible, for it ignores human sociality as occurring in temporally and spatially dispersed on-going processes of human interaction of differently placed, often unequal, and thus epistemically differently equipped actors in division of labour. Human scientific concepts are best seen (...) as picking out (aspects of) such complex and heterogeneous processes, not what the participating actors allegedly collectively know, accept or recognize about them. The article observes that similar appeals to collective recognition are also common in Wittgensteinian literature that, however, have claimed to reject the causal ontological view. It is argued that the ultimate value in rejecting the causal ontological view, and the accompanying idea of collective recognition, resides in that we thereby avoid epistemically homogenizing and over-intellectualizing the diverse mass of dispersed, often unequal, but interacting actors. (shrink)
In a range of human sciences, the human relationship to nature has often been viewed as driven fundamentally by religious, philosophical, political, and scientific ideas as well as values and norms about nature. As others have argued before, the emphasis on ideas and values faces serious problems in heeding the structural, socioeconomic quality of the human relationship to nature and thereby the deeply problematic structural character of the human environmental burden. At the same time, alleviating the structural environmental burden generated (...) by global industrial market society represents arguably the single most challenging task in addressing environmental problems. Critically explicating the tendency of our intellectual culture to produce ideological and psychologistic explanations of human ecologically consequential action, and human action more generally, can clarify the notion of the cultural causes of environmental problems and the character of the human collective causing them. Only a structuralist point of view can accommodate the diversity of our positions and perspectives toward nature in the global context in which environmental problems are caused. (shrink)
The so-called epistemological turn of the Descartes-Locke-Kant tradition is a hallmark of modern philosophy. The broad family of normativism constitutes one major response to the Cartesian heritage building upon some version of the idea that human knowledge, action and sociality build fundamentally upon some form of social agreement and standards. Representationalism and the Cartesian picture more generally have been challenged by normativists but this paper argues that, even where these challenges by normativism have been taken to heart, our intellectual culture (...) remains fundamentally epistemic in certain problematic senses. Two problems are highlighted: first, normativism remains functionally Cartesian, for human action and sociality appear as processes driven by the shared understandings by competent contributors, and second, normativism is unable to account for forms of human action and sociality other than those occurring in the relatively small worlds of normatively regulated conceptual spaces of mutual access and listening. These points are illustrated by an applied discussion of the blind spots of normativist accounts of the emerging environmental and the on-going economic crises. (shrink)
Cartesian representationalism and the Enlightenment heritage more broadly continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the 21st-century human scientific theory and practice. This introduction to a special section on the topic surveys some aspects of that heritage.
The emergence of the two great late modern crises—economic and environmental—has prompted calls for a return to Marx. This article describes a Marxian account of the 2008 economic crisis relating it to the phenomena of job polarization, de-industrialization, the decline of the middle class, and political populism in Europe and elsewhere. These are argued to spring from political mobilization due to certain kinds of capability deprivations as understood in Amartya Sen’s capability approach. The article demonstrates the continued relevance of Marx (...) for philosophy of the social sciences as well as for a better understanding of the future challenge of maintaining societal stability in the West. (shrink)