Re: [xmca] Subject: Verb, Object

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Thu Jan 03 2008 - 08:15:51 PST

The conclusion I take away from this discussion is that there is an
a "hazy borderland" where the borders of what we can imagine (a cultural
and what is "really there" 'in the sense that it is resisting my actions"
(a natural process).

Is that an acceptable formulation of Andy's Hegel-derived ontology?


On Jan 2, 2008 6:31 PM, Andy Blunden <> wrote:

> This idea is something that has become clearer to me since completing this
> article about a year ago.
> It is an ontology for the purpose of understanding human subjectivity,
> Steve, so it is concerned with the kind of "things" we can perceive or
> sensibly talk about. (Just like one has a "unit of analysis" for a certain
> project, one has an ontology for a certain project.) So for example, you
> can say that a certain kind of thing (such as a comet for example) exists
> and we all understand that it would be absurd to claim that the existence
> of the comet depended on us thinking about it. But if you get right down
> to
> what you mean by the word "comet" then I would have to say that while the
> claim has a basis in nature, nature does not know about "things" or
> "theories" or "forces" or any such thing. Nature is what is not a human
> labour process. We know it is such that it constrains our activity, and we
> test out that boundary in making and using artefacts - all of which must
> obey "the laws of nature" - and engaging in practical activity - which is
> also subject to the laws of physics insofar as we do anything with an
> artefact (including our own body).
> Of course Steve, I am open to persuasion!! This idea is only a couple of
> months old. But I really do think that if we establish this at the outset,
> we can clear up a lot of confusion in psychology. There is nothing in this
> claim that denies that nature exists and has its own ways independently of
> us. But there is nothing that can be said of it which does not entail
> reference to artefacts (such as instruments or bits of matter), ideas
> (such
> as theories, concepts) and practical activity. Theses on Feuerbach agrees
> with me on that.
><>argues the idea at
> slightly greater length in the context of Hegel critique.
> Some people want an ontology that says there are signs and tools. An
> ontology like that just generates confusion, IMHO. Some people use an
> ontology which says there are ideas and matter. Equally, this leads only
> to
> confusion. Having the right ontology helps a lot in step two. But I am
> most
> certainly open to persuasion.
> Andy
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Received on Thu Jan 3 08:17 PST 2008

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