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[Xmca-l] Re: Hegel's notion of The Notion



The only truly universal is the material world, but insofar as we are concerned with a specific community (and Hegel does not take much interest in cross-cultural issues; he's generally dealing with a single community) the words in the language (not their meanings, just the material objects themselves) are universal as are the entire material infrastructure - the land, its crops and animals, the buildings, machinery etc. Different particular groups may have different access to those things, may use them differently, and they may mean different things, but there is still something there which is for everyone. But Universal does not really mean "material" because all these terms are to be interpreted as norms. The universal is the norm to which a material artefact is conforming or not. Does that make sense?

But Universal does not mean Objective (this was A N Leontyev's main error, he confused the Universal with the Objective, which is why he comes across as so dogmatic and has such a thoroughgoing dualism in his thinking). Because the relation between the Universal and the Individual is mediated by the particular, that is, by Activity and social position.

BTW, English translations of Hegel are translating the German Begriff as "Notion" and Begriff really means "Concept". Griffen means to grip, or grasp.

Does that help?

Andy

------------------------------------------------------------
Andy Blunden
http://home.mira.net/~andy
http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
On 13/05/2017 1:20 PM, Greg Thompson wrote:
Well, I have to admit Andy, I didn't get very far with the Hegel reading. And actually, I've read some of that section before (perhaps at your suggestion some years ago?). I had also previously had a look at your review of Ikaheimo as well! But couldn't make much sense of either text or what to do with what little I could comprehend.

So maybe I can try and paraphrase the little that I can squeeze out of Hegel with regard to his notion of the notion (or should I say "his notion of the notion of the notion"? viz. section 1291).

As I understand it, for Hegel notions are objective because they are Universal. By this I assume that he means some kind of radical intersubjectivity. I assume that some people interpret this as referring to some kind of superaddressee like God or some such, but I assume that you don't see it this way. So then how do you see it? What does Hegel mean by "the Universal"? Is it the intersubjectivity of some community? "universal" would suggest a global community of all people, but, as an anthropologist, that doesn't quite seem to hold muster.

So, what does Hegel mean by "Universal"?

Seems important to understanding the reality of the notion but I may be on the wrong track, please feel free to correct course if necessary.

-greg





On Fri, May 12, 2017 at 8:22 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Not at all, Greg. I just appreciated that you were
    turning to *read Hegel* to get your answers and I was
    giving you time for that. Let me see ...

       Q: This seems core to the kind of realism that Hegel is
       building up (a realism of concepts) and, I think,
       remains a revolutionary conception today. The idea here
       seems to be that the Notion is not a "subjective
       presupposition" but is rather much more real than that.
       But, I guess I'm wondering HOW can this be?

    Yes, utterly realistic. We live in a world in which
    people share, more or less, a great range of beliefs
    and importantly act according to those beliefs, so,
    objectively, this world is one of activities,
    including the artefacts incorporated in those
    activities. The unit of all that activity is concepts
    rather than things or acts. Each concept is implicit
    in an aggregate of actions functioning as the object
    of the activity. If you think that I am just making
    this up to make it sound like Activity Theory, have a
    look at this paper which includes an extended quote
    from a Finnish Hegelian who knows nothing about
    Activity Theory and hates Marxism.
    https://www.academia.edu/30657582/Response_to_Heikki_Ik%C3%A4heimo_on_Normative_Essentialism_
    <https://www.academia.edu/30657582/Response_to_Heikki_Ik%C3%A4heimo_on_Normative_Essentialism_>
    - the quote begins on the first page.

       Q: There are multiple objections, but perhaps the
       biggest objection comes from 20th century social
       science's preoccupation with social construction. In
       this tradition, concepts are things held in the head,
       subjective and maybe also intersubjective, but always
       mediated (and some might say "derivative"). Hegel seems
       to be offering a much different take - one in which
       concepts are much more primary. Am I right here?

    Yes, Hegel is sometimes called an "objective
    idealist." Ideas or thought is something which exists
    in the world and only as a result of that are thinkers
    able to grasp. The idea of Zeitgeist is well-known and
    I don't see it as problematic, and just broaden that
    to Geist and you have what Hegel is talking about,
    literally.

       Q: And, what is this business about the "sublation of
       mediation"?

    Everything Hegel says is very general, so it's hard to
    paraphrase him without degrading his idea. But think
    of this. A new practice (or technical tool, or word)
    is invented in response to some situation; it then
    becomes part of the world, and new situations. That's
    what he means. In my answer to Q1 above there is
    obviously a chicken-and-egg situation: activity is
    conscious, but the content of consciousness is
    objective activity. Sublation of mediation responds to
    that chicken-and-egg problem.

    Does that help?
    Andy

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Andy Blunden
    http://home.mira.net/~andy <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>
    http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
    <http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making>

    On 13/05/2017 5:27 AM, Greg Thompson wrote:

        Andy,
        So does your response mean that all of my
        questions in my previous post are non-starters?
        -greg

        On Thu, May 11, 2017 at 9:48 AM, Andy Blunden
        <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>> wrote:

            Concepts are first of all things which exist;
        because
            they exist, the mind is capable of grasping
        them, in
            fact, they are exactly the way the mind grasps the
            world (etymologically concept = to grasp). The way
            they exist is in human activity and the
        artifacts we
            use in that activity. Since you have made a
        start on
            this Greg, I have to say that I think you need
        this
            and also the section to follow called "The
        Subjective
            Notion" to get a decent picture.

            Andy

------------------------------------------------------------
            Andy Blunden
        http://home.mira.net/~andy
        <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>
        <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>
        http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
        <http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making>
<http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
        <http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making>>

            On 12/05/2017 1:40 AM, Greg Thompson wrote:

                ​Okay Andy, I've started into the Hegel
            text that you
                suggested (I don't think you truly
            appreciate how
                slow of a reader I am! BTW, the text Andy
            shared can
                be found here:
            https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/hl/hlnotion.htm
            <https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/hl/hlnotion.htm>
<https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/hl/hlnotion.htm
            <https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hegel/works/hl/hlnotion.htm>>),
                and I came across this notion of The
            Notion by Hegel
                in Section 1279:

                "Now although it is true that the Notion
            is to be
                regarded, not merely as a subjective
            presupposition
                but as the /absolute foundation/, yet it
            can be so
                only in so far as it has /made/ itself the
                foundation. Abstract immediacy is no doubt
            a /first/;

                yet in so far as it is abstract it is, on the
                contrary mediated, and therefore if it is
            to be
                grasped in its truth its foundation must
            first be
                sought. Hence this foundation, though
            indeed an
                immediate, must have made itself immediate
            through
                the sublation of mediation."​

                This seems core to the kind of realism
            that Hegel is
                building up (a realism of concepts) and, I
            think,
                remains a revolutionary conception today.
            The idea
                here seems to be that the Notion is not a
            "subjective
                presupposition" but is rather much more
            real than
                that. But, I guess I'm wondering HOW can
            this be?

                There are multiple objections, but perhaps the
                biggest objection comes from 20th century
            social
                science's preoccupation with social
            construction. In
                this tradition, concepts are things held
            in the head,
                subjective and maybe also intersubjective,
            but always
                mediated (and some might say
            "derivative"). Hegel
                seems to be offering a much different take
            - one in
                which concepts are much more primary. Am I
            right here?

                And, what is this business about the
            "sublation of
                mediation"? (and where does this last bit
            jibe with
                CHAT? Many people in CHAT speak of
            mediation but I
                don't recall anyone speaking of the
            "sublation of
                mediation").

                Any help with this text would be appreciated.

                (and this is closely related to "the stuff
            of words"
                but I still felt that this needed a new
            thread.).

                -greg

                --     Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
                Assistant Professor
                Department of Anthropology
                880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
                Brigham Young University
                Provo, UT 84602
            http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
            <http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson>
                <http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
            <http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson>>





-- Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
        Assistant Professor
        Department of Anthropology
        880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
        Brigham Young University
        Provo, UT 84602
        http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
        <http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson>





--
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson