Agent, Person, Subject, Self: A Theory of Ontology, by Paul Kockelman

By Paul Kockelman

This ebook deals either a naturalistic and important idea of indicators, minds, and meaning-in-the-world. It offers a reconstructive instead of deconstructive conception of the person, one that either analytically separates and theoretically synthesizes quite a number colleges which are usually careworn and conflated: organisation (understood as a causal capacity), subjectivity (understood as a representational capacity), selfhood (understood as a reflexive capacity), and personhood (understood as a sociopolitical potential attendant on being an agent, topic, or self). It argues that those amenities are top understood from a semiotic stance that supersedes the standard intentional stance. And, in so doing, it bargains a pragmatism-grounded method of which means and mediation that's basic sufficient to account for approaches which are as embodied and embedded as they're articulated and enminded. specifically, whereas this concept is concentrated on human-specific modes of which means, it additionally deals a normal conception of which means, such that the brokers, matters and selves in query don't need to constantly, or perhaps frequently, map onto folks. And whereas this concept foregrounds brokers, folks, matters and selves, it does this through theorizing tactics that regularly stay within the heritage of such (often erroneously) individuated figures: ontologies (akin to tradition, yet generalized throughout agentive collectivities), interplay (not basically among humans, but additionally among humans and issues, and something outdoors or in-between), and infrastructure (akin to context, yet generalized to incorporate mediation at any measure of remove).

Paul Kockelman, affiliate Professor of Anthropology, Barnard collage and Columbia collage.

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Example text

Or the purchase provided by clay may make sense only in relation to a pot. As an example of complementation (qua figure to ground), the function served by a sheath may make sense only in relation to a sword. Or the function served by ice skates may make sense only in relation to ice. Such relations can be shown to structure not just modes of residence in the world (see chapter 4), but also representations of the world (chapter 5)—or the way mental states and speech acts acquire coherent contents only in relation to each other (and, indeed, in relation to modes of residence in the world).

And this work refers, after a potentially long chain of intermediate works, to a final work (for-the-sake-ofwhich). For example, the work makes reference to the role of the actor, say, as a carpenter inhabiting a workspace with familiar tools.

In section 3, we examined an animal-signal system from the standpoint of two signing and interpreting agents, and from the standpoint of a single agent composed of two conspecifics. Moreover, the very same event (the uttering of a predator cry) was treated as an interpretant from one agent’s perspective and as a sign from the other’s perspective. In section 4, for example, we opened up the agent, diagramming the putative mental states—themselves significant and selected processes—that lie between any two publicly available speech acts or signal-responses.

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