[xmca] The space of reason

From: Mike Cole (lchcmike@gmail.com)
Date: Fri Oct 07 2005 - 16:03:40 PDT

Jan is on xmca it turns out, but under heavy pressure at the moment. She
asked me to forward this reply but
appears not to be in a position to fully engage. Perhaps we need to bracket
this topic for now unless David or
Lois or..... can help us out.

Hi Lois (and David)

Sorry we didn't get more opportunity to talk in Seville. The phrase I used
was 'The Space of Reasons' (from Sellars, and developed by McDowell and
Bakhurst), rather than acting from a reason. The intention of using the
phrase was to emphasise that our (human) contact with the world is normative
and that this is crucial to our capacity to be thinking beings. We inhabit a
space of reasons enabling our 'second nature'.

In our too brief discussion I said that there may be a difficulty with the
word 'reason' as it carries particular overtones of explicit reason or
rationalism. My point was that we are active in a space of reasons along the
lines that Ilyenkov talks of the ideal 'infusing' our material environment.

David I think the dualism that you refer to is endemic to the way that we
conceive of reason - a tradition of thought that splits reason from affect
and then sees the former in terms of mastery of the latter or that views the
two as separate and distinct. I'm interested in how Vygotsky draws on
Spinoza to examine affect and passion in a way that does not put them at
odds with reason along Cartesian lines. I think this is a fruitful and
insufficiently pursued route for grappling with issues in the sociocultural


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