By Paul Kockelman
This publication deals either a naturalistic and demanding conception of indicators, minds, and meaning-in-the-world. It offers a reconstructive instead of deconstructive thought of the person, one that either analytically separates and theoretically synthesizes a number colleges which are usually harassed and conflated: company (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 most sensible understood from a semiotic stance that supersedes the standard intentional stance. And, in so doing, it bargains a pragmatism-grounded method of that means and mediation that's normal adequate to account for tactics which are as embodied and embedded as they're articulated and enminded. specifically, whereas this idea is concentrated on human-specific modes of that means, it additionally deals a normal thought of which means, such that the brokers, matters and selves in query needn't continually, or perhaps frequently, map onto folks. And whereas this idea foregrounds brokers, individuals, topics and selves, it does this via theorizing techniques that regularly stay within the history of such (often erroneously) individuated figures: ontologies (akin to tradition, yet generalized throughout agentive collectivities), interplay (not purely among humans, but in addition among humans and issues, and something open air 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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Additional info for Agent, Person, Subject, Self: A Theory of Ontology, Interaction, and Infrastructure
Perhaps not surprisingly, to their detractors the former has remained a highly “empirical” discipline (meaning not very theoretical), and the latter has remained a highly “theoretical” discipline (meaning not very empirical). indd 25 7/23/2012 9:25:28 PM OUP UNCORRECTED PROOF – FIRST-PROOF, 07/23/12, NEWGEN 26 Agent, Person, Subject, Self stance of an observer (themselves both selecting agents caught up in significant objects). In particular, what is a sign-component in one frame may be an interpretant-component in another frame (giving rise to a future-oriented versus a past-oriented perspective).
Whether or not the agent wields the form for the sake of its creator’s intended function is not that important: sometimes the intended and actual functions converge, sometimes they diverge. An agent with different interests (say, someone unable to reach the small of their back to scratch) could, of course, find (or, rather, “frame”) a very different function in the same assemblage of wood and steel. Though, to be sure, not anything goes. To use a distinction that will be called into question in chapter 3, both causes and norms regiment the possible interpretants of material objects, guiding what counts as appropriate and effective uses (normatively) and what counts as feasible and efficacious uses (causally).
That is, the “output” of one such process could become the “input” of another such process, ad infinitum. Cognitive processes are the roots and fruits of other cognitive processes. In particular, the agent (A), shown at different stages in the process (A1, A2, A3, A4), is not a homunculus. 14 Such selection may involve neurological processes selected for on evolutionary time scales as much as cultural processes selected for on historical time scales as much as personal processes selected for on biographical time scales as much as intersubjective processes selected for on interactional time scales.
Agent, Person, Subject, Self: A Theory of Ontology, Interaction, and Infrastructure by Paul Kockelman