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



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_ - 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://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>> 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://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>),
    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>




--
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