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[xmca] "Reason Alone" Does Tim Ingold explore similar themes to Charles Taylor and John Shotter
We have been exploring "context" in multiple ways with multiple meanings.
These various perspectives share a "family" resemblance because they are all
exploring the centrality of "relational" themes as having priority over the
atomistic things-in-themselves. I want to reflect further on the notion of
"context that surrounds" by drawing in Ingold. He describes his project as
trying to find a synthesis that goes beyond the notion of "complementarity"
[how two separate "things" are related by connections but the things begin
the relational journey as atomistic bits] to a synthesis that unifies the
material, biological, and psychological as aspects of a single process of
"dwelling in the world". This search for a synthesis is how Ingold explains
and locates his project.
An interesting description is how Ingold reflects on participating in a way
of life that he suggests has roots in "the Western Tradition" or
"modernity". Ingold suggests the term "Western Tradition" or "modernity" as
a particular stance towards the world is a very general term and he
acknowledges that general terms can always be de-constructed and criticized.
However he chooses to stay with this generality as pointing to something
that is actualized within our dwelling in the world and can be considered a
particular "way of life", underpinned by the activity or belief in the
absolute worth of disciplined rational inquiry" [Ingold] *page not
referenced as read from kindle*
Notice the words "belief" and " absolute worth" in the last sentence. The
sentence is pointing to the notion of belief [within the Western tradition]
as the activity of giving and asking for reasons. However the term
"absolute worth" is pointing to an exclusivity that I and Taylor would refer
to as an "ethical stance" a COMMITMENT and CONCERN with reason ALONE.
What relationship to reasoning as an activity does Ingold take up? He says
we may object to the dichotomies rationality gives rise to such as
"humanity/nature", "intelligence/instinct", "mental/material", etc. However,
"the art or skill in these DISPUTATIONS is PRECISELY what the Western
Tradition is all about". [my emphasis] Ingold says he is profoundly
greatful for the opportunity, the freedom, the educational opportunities and
the institutional structures to work within which have allowed him to work
and participate in the Western tradition in developing the skills of writing
and composing books on these themes. However, in no ay does Ingold view
reason as the "absolute" worth [reason ALONE]
In the next section, I want to draw attention to Ingold's reflections on his
chosen field of anthropology as a framework and how reason is implicated in
this framing. Ingold engaged with reindeer herders in the circumpolar
regions. "Domestication" as the relation between reindeer and humans can be
seen through metaphors of "made" or "grown" It is the contrast between the
notions "MADE" [designed] and "grown" that Ingold is exploring. He
even suggests using the metaphor "grown" to describe the formation of
artefacts as developed in our engagement in the world. The distinction is
important because our notions of child development are implicated in notions
of domestication. [children are "made" through designed processes
of domestication and socialization] How did the metaphor of "made" become
so central to our notions of domesticating animals [and by extension
children?] Ingold's answer is it is a paradox at the heart of science that
separates humans from organic nature [dwelling] Ingold's project is to
shift our ways of knowing from an ethical stance of detachment FROM the
world [through abstracting] to an alternative perspective of engagement WITH
the world. Experience from this perspective is the movement of coupling
one's awareness TO the movements of aspects of the world. From this
perspective experience does NOT mediate between "mind" and "nature" [as two
pre-existing things] since these aspects are not separate to begin with. The
central, primary actualization is MOVEMENT of orientation, a movement
intrinsic to "being alive" within the world. As Ingold says, he is engaged
in exploring anthroplogy as a "poetics of dwelling".
I see parallels between Ingold's project and Taylor's project of emphasizing
the "disclosive" aspect of experience or Shotter's notion of "con-scientia".
All of them are trying to shift from a stance of separating FROM to a stance
of engagement WITH as a fundamental shift in ethical stance.
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