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[Xmca-l] Re: Hegel's notion of The Notion
- To: Andy Blunden <email@example.com>, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Hegel's notion of The Notion
- From: Greg Thompson <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 12 May 2017 21:20:31 -0600
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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.
On Fri, May 12, 2017 at 8:22 PM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com> 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.
> 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
> 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 Blunden
> On 13/05/2017 5:27 AM, Greg Thompson wrote:
>> So does your response mean that all of my questions in my previous post
>> are non-starters?
>> On Thu, May 11, 2017 at 9:48 AM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:
>> email@example.com>> 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 Blunden
>> http://home.mira.net/~andy <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>
>> 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:
>>> 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
>>> 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.).
>>> -- Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>>> Assistant Professor
>>> Department of Anthropology
>>> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>>> Brigham Young University
>>> Provo, UT 84602
>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>> Assistant Professor
>> Department of Anthropology
>> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>> Brigham Young University
>> Provo, UT 84602
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602