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Agent, Person, Subject, Self: A Theory of Ontology, by Paul Kockelman

By Paul Kockelman

This publication bargains either a naturalistic and important conception of symptoms, minds, and meaning-in-the-world. It presents a reconstructive instead of deconstructive concept of the person, one that either analytically separates and theoretically synthesizes various colleges which are frequently stressed and conflated: company (understood as a causal capacity), subjectivity (understood as a representational capacity), selfhood (understood as a reflexive capacity), and personhood (understood as a sociopolitical skill attendant on being an agent, topic, or self). It argues that those amenities are top understood from a semiotic stance that supersedes the standard intentional stance. And, in so doing, it deals a pragmatism-grounded method of which means and mediation that's common sufficient to account for methods which are as embodied and embedded as they're articulated and enminded. specifically, whereas this idea is targeted on human-specific modes of that means, it additionally bargains a common idea of which means, such that the brokers, matters and selves in query needn't continually, or perhaps frequently, map onto folks. And whereas this idea foregrounds brokers, folks, topics and selves, it does this through theorizing techniques that frequently stay within the historical past of such (often erroneously) individuated figures: ontologies (akin to tradition, yet generalized throughout agentive collectivities), interplay (not merely among humans, but in addition among humans and issues, and whatever open air or in-between), and infrastructure (akin to context, yet generalized to incorporate mediation at any measure of remove).

Paul Kockelman, affiliate Professor of Anthropology, Barnard university and Columbia collage.

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Extra resources for Agent, Person, Subject, Self: A Theory of Ontology, Interaction, and Infrastructure

Sample text

As cause to effect, in which the dream itself has an immediate object (whatever it most transparently points to, for example, the manifest dream content), and this object itself constitutes a sign of a more mediate object (the latent dream content), which can be inferred only by reference to the dynamic object (repressed wish) that set the whole process in motion. More generally, the immediate object of any sign can itself constitute a sign of a more mediate object, itself easily attended to (by an interpreting agent) only by reference to the dynamic object (or original cause) of the initial sign.

Up the hill or into the winter or toward the light) are more likely to reproduce and thereby contribute to the next generation. Thus, while we may say that some aspect of some organism was naturally selected (by complex processes of sieving), that which sieves is not necessarily, of course, an artifact, or consciously designed instrument, that has this selecting of phenotypes as its intended function. (Though it should be noted that the environment of any organism is, in part, constituted by other organisms, themselves selected.

13 For example, one believes that starting the engine is a means to driving to the cinema as an end, and one wants to drive to the cinema (because one wants to see a movie, and so on). This is what it means to say an intention has inferential roots (practical reasoning) and indexical fruits (causal chaining). Crucially, none of these steps need be consciously represented. And our evidence for their existence comes from attending to unsatisfied outcomes, or parasitic processes more generally: the times one turned the key (but the battery was dead); the times one started the car (but couldn’t remember where one wanted to go or why one wanted to go there); the times one’s fingers slipped (in turning the key); the times one turned the key and started the car (but unintentionally so); and so on.

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