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Whereas most researchers want to eradicate the subjective, pragmatist-inspired research intentionally confronts us with ourselves, with our preconceptions and values. This type of research helps us explore our blind spot, those issues that are hidden to us. It enables us to develop a critique of society but of a particular kind. A descriptive type of critique aims to establish the cognitive validity of a proposition or set of propositions. Empirical research in both the social and natural sciences can provide a critique of this kind.

A normative type of critique aims to present a normative yardstick against which the current constellation is judged. We acknowledge that our experiences are always mediated by a set of presuppositions, but we see the former as an opportunity to reassess the latter. Such an inter-play between theory and empirical research would also help to counteract the empire building and conceptual solipsism that accompanies so much of contemporary theory formation. No longer tied to their orthodoxy, researchers would be more willing to listen and learn from the experiences of others.

As such, the dialogical model between theory and research would, ironically, facilitate another conversation: that between researchers. References Archer, M.

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Archer, M. Baert, P. Barnes, B. Bauman, Z. Bernstein, R. Bhaskar, R. Clifford, J. Dahlgren, P. Denzin, N. Dewey, J. Feyerabend, P. Foucault, M. Gadamer, H. Gell, A. Giddens, A. Hempel, G. Hodder, I. Hooper, C.

Baecker: Selbstreflexion

Joas, H. Kuhn, T. Lakatos, I. Lakatos and A. Landes, J. Latour, B. Law, J. Lawson, T. Layder, D. Lewis, J. Marcus, G. Marsh, D. McDowell, L. Merton, R. Nietzsche, F. Orwell, G.

Niklas Luhmann - Social Systems (1996)

Petras, J. Popper, K. Price, M. Rock, P. Rorty, R. Sennett, R. Shanks, M. Whitley ed. Reader in Archaeological Theory, London: Routledge: 69— Solkin, D. Sontag, S. Siltanen, J. Tickner, A. Tilley, C. Reader in Archaeological Theory, London: Routledge: — The social sciences inherited from political philosophy their most basic questions. Among the criticism it faced, one major accusation held that the approach ultimately favours a return of the political, even though in a particular way, and the neglect of, or the emptying out of, the social.

While not doing justice to the work of the group, such reproach nevertheless points to the persistence Far from giving exhaustive answers to any of these questions, this essay will merely claim that these are important questions to be raised and, possibly, also indicate some directions in which answers may be found. To fully grasp the issues at stake in contemporary social theory, it will need to proceed through a brief historical reconstruction of the way in which the social was separated from the political, and gradually took over the role of the political. If this were so, though, then it would be more appropriate to say that the social sciences are a way of solving political issues by other means than philosophy — since political issues will not go away.

At a closer look, indeed what happened was not the disappearance of political philosophy, but the alignment of a certain form of political theory, with individualist liberalism at its core, with a rather technocratic understanding of social science. Such a combination of genres reigned over the sociopolitical world during much of the second post-war period. If there are signs today that the end of that reign is reached, it is high time to understand its mode of governance.

We could say that it enables us to talk about situations in which human beings create relations to one another. Logically, it seems, the social should include the political. Not always when human beings relate to one another do they do so with a view to dealing with common matters. Whenever they deal with common matters, though, they need to relate to one another. Initially, it had no direct political meaning.

Gradually, however, it came to be used in the moral and political sciences, in particular within French and Scottish debates, and it acquired the place of the denomination for the key object of socio-political life there. Thus, it retained its original meaning, but was now employed, by way of analogy or counterfactual hypothesis, to explain the emergence of a polity of human beings under conditions of equal liberty.

In the hypothetical state of nature, i. In most versions of nineteenth-century social theory, however, the character and extension of the social bond was conceptualized in such a way that it could sustain the political bond Wagner Thus, the social was used to solve the problem of the political, a problem that had become intractable, as I will argue later, under conditions of individual liberty. This kind of thinking continues its grip on our ways of conceptualizing the political.

Offe True, in some versions, most prominently the Marxian one, it was precisely the tension between the structure of the social bond and the structure of the political bond that provided the moving force for social change. Such thinking, though, rather than providing an alternative, merely inverts the idea that a certain structure of social bonds is required to sustain a polity.

The social bond was conceptually separated from the political one only to be reconnected to it in the next conceptual step. Even given complete autonomy, so the reasoning of the social sciences goes, human beings would reveal themselves driven by a limited number of intelligible inclinations. And this linkage of freedom and predictability became particularly important at the historical moment when the externally imposed barriers to free deliberation threatened to be removed; the moment of the American and French Revolutions.

The moment of the revolution These revolutions gave institutional expression to the political aspect of a broader culture of individual autonomy that is a key element of modernity. In this sense, much of this era can be seen as a liberation of human beings from imposed ties, but this liberation was far from unproblematic.

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Instead, the historical moment of liberty coincided with the rise of social theory. Very generally speaking, social theory was exactly a part of the response human beings gave to their new condition of — self-incurred, one might say — contingency and principled uncertainty. Social theory has been a means to decrease contingency. The problem of post-revolutionary liberty One can understand such intellectual shift by means of a look at the deep shock the revolutions meant to social and political thought Wagner The state, founded by free contract, dominates over the individuals, but it interferes with their liberties only to the degree required for the maintenance of order.

The liberal tradition needs to draw a strong boundary between the public and the private; whatever social bonds exist in the latter, they will not impact on the former, the form of which is determined by reason. Drawing via Machiavelli on Roman and Greek political thought, non-domination is conceptualized in stronger terms than noninterference; it requires security against interference.

Among historians of political thought today, there is broad — maybe even too broad, but this is not the space for further discussion — agreement that republicanism was by and large abandoned around the turn of the eighteenth-century, and liberalism, though it neither appeared particularly powerful nor coherent before, very soon emerged as the pivotal political theory in post-revolutionary polities. Despite being inspired by republican thinking, the revolutions aimed at combining two objectives that proved to be practically impossible to hold together.

On the one hand, they aimed at transforming state sovereignty in the hands of the monarch into popular sovereignty, i. On the other hand, they held such a transformation of the polity to be conceivable only in the form of the existing territorial state and within its dimensions. Second, the idea of extending political rights widely cast doubts on the viability of a demanding, socially rich concept of liberty such as the one upheld in the republican tradition.

Caution seemed to demand, not least for some more conservative observers, limiting the substance of the concept of liberty at the moment at which its reach was extended. The adoption of some kind of such a proceduralist, individualist liberalism is the main reason why the tradition of political philosophy declined. The rise of social theory Not everybody, though, was convinced that such solution was viable, in particular in Europe where the revolution towards self-determination seemed to be intrinsically connected to the possibility of terror. This is a new search for social bonds, which is simultaneously one major root of social theory and a politically motivated search.

Some strategies start out directly from the assumptions of individualist liberalism. The rightsendowed individual became in such views the only conceivable ontological as well as the methodological foundation of a science of political matters after the revolutions. In rights-based liberalism, the individual is the only category that need not, often in fact — cannot, be debated.

Once this assumption was accepted, basically two avenues of constructing a science of the political had opened. Both these forms of theorizing connect modernist political philosophy, From earlier debates, those features had often been conceived as twofold, as passions and as interests. In the late Enlightenment context, the rational side of this dichotomy was regarded as the one amenable to systematic reasoning.

The moral and political philosophy of the early modern period split into a political theory based on the idea of the social contract and a rationalized moral theory based on the idea of exchange. In both cases, the individual is the starting-point and unit of the analysis. While political economy was based on a highly abstract, but for the same reasons extremely powerful, assumption of human rationality, the other conclusion from the individualist foundational principle was much more cautious.

Avoiding any substantive assumptions on the driving forces in human beings at all, the statistical approach, often under the label of political arithmetic, resorted to the collection of numerically treatable information about human behaviour. Thus, two strands of political thought that had been proposed and elaborated for some time rose to new and greater prominence, political economy and political arithmetic.

The denominations these approaches were known by in the late eighteenth-century referred explicitly to political matters. Both were to lose these attributes in the nineteenth-century when they had consolidated their ways of proceeding and when the application of these cognitive forms had established predominance over political deliberation in decision on common matters, at least in the view of many economists and statisticians. Mostly, this terminological change has been interpreted as an autonomization of cognitive approaches and as a differentiation of the sciences into disciplines.

However, it is not exactly appropriate to say that economics and statistics separated from politics. Once the approaches of the former two are accepted as comprehensively valid, there is nothing political left to study. The common just emerges from assumptions about rationality or from aggregation. The acceptance of the economic and the statistic ways of conceiving of the social world did not go without criticism; and they were never accepted as the only possible ways anywhere.

However, the critiques and alternatives that were proposed most often accepted the fundamental change in political reasoning after the construction of a polity based on the assumption of free individuals. Two main types of problems may be distinguished by reference to the hypothetical original position in which individuals meet under a veil of ignorance.

On the one hand, the range of conclusions that could be drawn from the assumption of free and equal individuals was too limited. On the other hand, the working of the liberal rules would This thinking emphasizes the rootedness of the singular human beings in contexts from which their ways of giving meaning to the world stem. The broadest intellectual movement of this kind has been the cultural-linguistic theory of the boundaries of the polity, which inaugurated culturalist thinking in social theory and also became one source of later nationalism. They can also be conceptualized as modes of intersubjectivity emerging from an idea of primary sociality and of interaction, such as in the early works by Hegel see, e.

Honneth ; Joas , or they can start out from an original condition of being-in-the-world and of being-with, as developed by Martin Heidegger and his followers see, e. Nancy ; In both cases, though such alternative assumptions do not lead as directly to ideas about the form of the polity as collectivistic theories do. The observation of structures of representation was used to enhance stability and certainty in political procedures that otherwise could appear to be opened to all contingencies by the abolition of any legitimacy of preordained orders.

Unlike economics and statistics, they do not make individualistic assumptions but aim at grounding socio-political life in purely social forms. The social and the political bond after the rise of social theory Thus, all basic approaches to social theory can be regarded as ways of dealing with the problem of contingency after the assertion of human freedom. Theories of the social are proposed to make intelligible the possibilities and probabilities of actions and their consequences in the space of the political that was widely opened at the moment at which it was exclusively the free will of its members that should determine the polity.

Philosophies of the political had long already known what is at stake, and from Greek political thought to Renaissance humanism they had tried to give reasons and means for both accepting the openness of the political and limiting its impact. Working generally with the view that politics is seen as a human activity that by its nature is open, plural and diverse Arendt , any strong cognitive linkage of free action and predictable outcome was inconceivable.

More recently, such social theorizing has come under strong attack, mostly because of its inherent determinism. In contrast, political action in a context of liberty must go along with contingency of outcomes. From an Arendtian viewpoint, thus, social theory establishes an impossible connection.

Trying to identify laws and regularities of human action and societal development, social theory necessarily abandoned the heritage of political philosophy, the emphasis on creative agency, irreducible diversity and the permanent possibility of unpredictable beginnings. It is in the light of such considerations that the closing decades of the twentieth century witnessed a revival of political philosophies of freedom, often going beyond concepts of liberty as held in liberal political theory.

These works, by authors such as Claude Lefort, Pierre Manent or, more historically oriented, Quentin Skinner, are not merely contributions to political philosophy or its history. Rather, they challenge the very separation of social theory from political philosophy. As much as the critique of social theory from such a perspective is highly valid, however, the mere return to political philosophy is no solution to the issues that are raised. Many of the contributions to the current debate fail to address the reasons for the historical decline of political philosophy and the concomitant rise of social theory.

In our brief intellectual history, one key observation concerned the centrality of a notion of equal liberty in European and North American history of the past two centuries. In our reconstruction above, this assumption is seen as being at the core of individualist liberalism, the pivotal theory of political modernity. If it is accepted as in some way inescapable, there are then three ways to deal with this approach.

This is the position to which Burke objected. In the terminology chosen here, it conceives of only a thin political bond between human beings and of no social bond of any interest at all. Second, one can argue that equal liberty is only the starting-point for reasoning about a political modernity that is furthermore characterized by the communicative interaction between human beings with a view to determine what they need to regulate in common and how they should do so. This is the republican position that has largely been found, even while attractive, implausible and unsustainable under conditions of large societies with complex forms of interaction.

It Third, one can respond to the desire of knowing more about the bases on which humans interact by observing and conceptualizing their modes of interaction with various auxiliary means. This is the way social theory and the social sciences went, and it has been accused of socially overdetermining human life. This approach works with a strong conception of the social bond, or rather: with a variety of such conceptions, and it has largely forgotten about the political question that stood at its origins.

It allows for substantive assumptions, the application of which determines the outcome of interactions and the positions of human beings in society; in this sense it operates in the mode of social theory. But it also holds that the application of such assumptions is itself a possible concern of dispute and interpretation, thus requiring the kind of communicative deliberation that is at the centre of republican political philosophy. There is, thus, a possible theoretical position that integrates again what was separated in the intellectual history of the past two centuries, the conceptualization of the political and of the social.

Lacking the space to demonstrate this in detail here, I will just use as an illustration the political history of post-Second World War Europe. We recognize here the application of individualist liberalism as a normative political philosophy underlying these polities. It allows the question of the constitution of a polity to be seen as indeed a political This task can be accomplished with the help, most importantly, of law, in direct association with the rights-endowed individual of liberalism, and of statistics, in direct association with the cultural and social modes of reasoning.

Notes 1 Translations are my own. References Arendt, H. Baker, K. Boltanski, L. Burke, E. The politics of large numbers. Esposito, R. Gander, E. Hallberg, P. Wagner ed. Heilbron, J. Hirschman, A. Honneth, A. The struggle for recognition, Cambridge: Polity Press, Creativity of action, Cambridge: Polity Press, Karagiannis, N. Lamont, M. We have never been modern, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, Lefort, C.

Democracy and political theory, Cambridge: Polity, Manent, P. The city of man, Princeton: Princeton University Press, Nancy, J-L. Nancy, J. Offe, C. Streeck ed. Pettit, P. Rawls, J. Taylor, C. Therborn, G. Van Gelderen, M. Heilbron, L. Magnusson and B. Wittrock eds The rise of the social sciences and the formation of modernity, Dordrecht: Kluwer: — Moebius and L.

Lessenich ed. Wood G. In the s and s much of the impetus fell to the Latin American liberation theologians, taking their cue partly from earlier anti-fascist Christian intellectuals in Europe such as Bonhoeffer in Germany or Pasolini in Italy. Only in very recent years have theological themes begun return to the forefront of the attention of social theorists. Heated controversies in the public sphere about the scope and limits of secularism in public policy have forced on to the table some thoroughgoing debates about the status of the Judaeo-Christian origins of modern Western universal validity-claims.

Notable contributions have come from leading political philosophers such as Habermas , , and Charles Taylor , , from French phenomenological philosophers such as Marion and Janicaud , from an array of German sociological scholars, philosophers and theologians such as Joas , , Theunissen and Graf , from some leftist theorists such as Zizek , , Badiou , Debray and Bhaskar a, b , and from scholars of non-Western ancient civilisations and cosmologies such as Assmann and Eisenstadt — to mention only a few authors.

The middle part of the essay draws together a range of epistemological issues about the relationship between theology and sociology. Scepticism about projects of autonomous rational inquiry highlight the hubris of ideas of enlightened emancipation from particularistic dogmas, traditions, creeds and authorities. It is along these lines, for instance, that postmodernist writers have reacted to the more militantly atheistic projects of the Enlightenment legacy, from the French eighteenth-century sensationists to the nineteenth-century British utilitarians and the twentieth-century Viennese positivists.

Such movements appear haunted by a need to repress the theological as an inferior stage in the evolution of the human mind. In thinkers such as Derrida, Levinas and Blanchot, or from a more Catholic direction by Klossowki, and more derivatively by a writer such as Bauman , , postmodernist sensibilities draw on motifs in Nietzsche and Freud about play, semblance, desire, loss and mourning, frequently in recombination with Jewish themes of exile, erring, wandering and desolation cf.

Derrida and Vattimo ; Derrida A particular sociological thinking about the semiotic valency of evil also appears in a writer such as Baudrillard, and in a more nuanced way in the work of Ricoeur. Both these writers mobilize themes in French aesthetic thought since Baudelaire and the Surrealists about the social meanings of the accursed and the execrated — such as prostitutes and gypsies or the urban dispossessed.

Even the militantly antiobscurantist sociology of Bourdieu shows something of this preoccupation with the obduracy of inequality as something bordering on a theological order of things. In its stead is a suggestion both of alternative religious sources of social and political thought, Judaeo-Christian as well as nonJudaeo-Christian, and of alternative courses of secularisation, each beginning from these different religious starting-points. Anti-Eurocentric critique evokes a sense in which many of the grand narratives of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century philosophies of history substitute an idea of the agency of Europe for divine providence.

The Yet ideas about postmodernism, globalisation and Eurocentrism in social theory take on an exaggerated importance unless they are informed by an awareness of the range of forms of internal self-criticism predominating in European thinking about religion, science, modernity and world history since the Enlightenment period.

It is important to note an ethos of historicising self-questioning in European thinking since the nineteenth century, marked out by the names of outsider philosophers from Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche and Heidegger to the Jewish phenomenologists and the Western Marxist humanists of the twentieth-century as well as the nineteenth-century German historical theologians after Schleiermacher. While all of these thinkers and their associated intellectual movements begin from Judaeo-Christian traditions, none of them in principle exclude non-Western cosmological ideas from possible sources of modern social and political self-understanding.

All of these thinkers confront Western theology and philosophy with its Other and break down its claim to absoluteness, without at the same time countenancing any wholesale suspension of its normative validityclaim. It is in this sense that the early twentieth-century German historicist writers defended broadly cosmopolitan understandings of the religions and civilisations of the world, without at the same time embracing simple kinds of axiological eclecticism, relativism or nihilism. All the above-named writers can be seen as wrestling with the aporias of the idealist philosophical systems of the early romantic period, above all in Hegel and Schelling.

The Jewish Marxists recognised that social theory always stands in a certain relationship to theology and to the philosophy of history as intrinsically teleological projects, even as this relationship takes on a radically negative character, in the radical distance or absence or hiddenness or non-representability of God.

At issue are questions not only about empirical social determinants of religious practices and beliefs but also about a certain two-way normative dialogue between sociology and theology. Sociologists may instead have to adopt an attitude to theological ideas that regards them as normative sources of understanding about social life in their own right, which may compete with and possibly challenge or dispute the statements of social scientists about the place of religion in society.

Table 4. It suggests that questions about theology in social theory properly only obtain at a meta-level where the normative authority of social science to make statements about religion is problematized in certain ways. At an initial level, sociological study of religion implies a transition to sociological study of theology to the extent that religious practices are not adequately understood unless and until the sociologist gains an understanding of the theological thought-systems that inform these practices and give cognitive structure to them.

If theological propositions themselves imply theories about the social world, they potentially contain cognitive responses to the claims of social science, with which sociologists or social theorists ought to engage. At stake here is the capacity of theologians to think sociologically about their own Four levels of analysis relevant to a sociological dialogue with theology Level of analysis. Thus South American liberation theologians have been able to re-frame Christian teachings about charity, humility and forgiveness precisely in a consciousness of the constant susceptibility of such teachings to ideological appropriation by ruling classes or advantaged groups corruption and conservatism in the Catholic Church; egoism and hypocrisy in the Protestant ethic, and so on.

Similarly, feminist theologians have been able to mobilise values of pastoral caring long associated with paternalistic ecclesiastical organisation against the effects of patriarchy in society at large. Milbank in particular goes so far as to claim that Neo-Kantian epistemology in social science steps so extensively beyond its proper domain that sociology itself often becomes a form of unwitting theology. We The pairings in Table 4. It is one thing to establish that social scientists cannot operate without a consciousness of historical antecedents that might encompass theological thinking.

To say that all four levels of analysis in Table 4. We must clearly be careful with the kinds of pairings presented in Table 4. A further question would be to consider whether the proposition of the dependence of sociology on theology is pertinent to all or only some schools of social theory. The demise of Platonic and Augustinian teachings in the early Table 4. Sociological and theological categories Sociological categories. Weberian disenchantment carries within itself processes of collective rational self-determination that are spontaneous expressions of social creativity and are more than sheer symptoms of, or mere compensations for, felt states of falling from grace or lack or absence of grace.

The very possibility of being able to frame the contention implies its own falsehood. Criticism of the self-consciousness of sociology with respect to theology is itself a work of sociological reasoning. The most promising strategy would seem to be the last position. Social theorists on this view become aware of certain debts to theology but nevertheless seek, and achieve, intellectual autonomy precisely in a consciousness of this indebtedness.

The position holds that social theory retains a capacity and a need to criticise theology, even as it is, or becomes, conscious of its historical relationship to theology. Rather as Jacques Lacan came to speak of the autonomy of the Subject as consisting precisely in a consciousness of heteronomy, of dependence upon, and subjection to, an Other which must be negated in order that the Subject may form itself and give to itself its own law, so social science can be seen as achieving intellectual freedom from theological origins precisely through a labour of remembering and recognizing these origins.

More sociologically oriented studies have been Gill , Martin , Martin et al. The Heine passage is:. Assmann, J. Badiou, A. Blond, P. Blumenberg, H. Chakrabarty, D. Collier, A. Debray, R. London: Verso. Derrida, J. Anidjar ed. De Vries, H. Eisenstadt, S.

Gill, R. Graf, F. Mendieta ed. Harding, S. Herman, C. Huntingdon, S. Janicaud, D. U Latour, B. Macintyre, A. McCarthy, T. Marion, J. Le principali influenze vanno ricercate nella filosofia del linguaggio di Austin e Searle e nella teoria della grammatica di Chomsky. Tuttavia anche l'ermeneutica di Gadamer e il pragmatismo di Peirce hanno avuto, a riguardo, un ruolo importante. Pragmatica universale. Norme e regole hanno un significato che deve essere interpretato e compreso.

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Atti linguistici. Questi possono essere suddivisi da un punto di vista proposizionale, in differenziati e indifferenziati. Essi sono utilizzati per rappresentare uno stato di cose nel sistema di orientamento costituito dal mondo esterno. Espressivi, anche rappresentativi desiderare, sperare, ammettere si riferiscono alle intenzioni e agli atteggiamenti. Essi sono espressione di una esperienza in un mondo soggettivo. Regolativi scusarsi, ordinare, avvertire, promettere si riferiscono a norme e istituzioni sociali.

Giustezza: La giustezza della norma, che viene stabilita con l'atto linguistico deve essere riconosciuta come tale. Situazione discorsiva ideale. Per raggiungere un tale fondato consenso, dobbiamo presupporre una situazione discorsiva ideale, caratterizzata da quattro condizioni di uguaglianza: rispetto a tutti i partecipanti Le dichiarazioni appartengono quindi alla classe degli "atti linguistici constativi".

Teoria dell'agire comunicativo Tac. Nel primo capitolo, Habermas inizia con una confronto storico teoretico con quattro concetti sociologici di azione provenienti da diverse tradizioni teoriche: Il concetto di azione teleologica Aristotele , quello di agire regolato normativamente Talcott Parsons , il concetto di agire drammaturgico Erving Goffman e il concetto di azione comunicativa George Herbert Mead.

Questi concetti, nella letteratura secondaria ,vengono spesso erroneamente confusi con la sua propria teoria che viene sistematicamente introdotta solo nel terzo capitolo " Prima riflessione Intermedio " sulla base della teoria degli atti linguistici. L'azione strumentale non viene mai considerata nelle sue successive riflessioni con il significato " non sociale".

Habermas identifica quindi le azioni sociali come mediate linguisticamente. Solo se queste sono accettate, le persone agenti possono raggiungere i loro obiettivi. L' azione strategica si riferisce al " mondo oggettivo " dei "fatti". I , pag Un azione di tipo teleologico non ha alcun posto nella sistematica esemplificata da Habermas '. Secondo lui, tutte le azioni umane sono dirette verso obiettivi, che costituiscono il loro carattere teleologico. Una formulazione simile in TdkH , I, pp F. Sistema e mondo vitale. I soggetti agenti in modo comunicativo secondo Habermas si intendono "sempre nell'orizzonte di un mondo vitale ".

Sono queste usurpazioni del "sistema " sul " mondo della vita ", che Habermas definisce come "colonizzazione del mondo vitale ". Work experience: wide professional experience in web companies and software houses. The concept of action roles has the advantage that it can be applied to all medium systems.

It enables exact observations of the differences between the medium systems and stimulates synchronical as well as diachronical re- search. In addition it is strictly systems-oriented, enables an empirical analy- sis of media offers and claims the differentiation between self-observation and other-observation or observation from outside. The argumentation presented so far leads to the following hypothesis: The evolution of the total media system of modern media-culture societies from writing to the Internet has fundamentally changed our relation to the world and our modes of communication.

This change can be described as transition from communicativity to mediality. In the discussion about the mediality of our relation to the world various positions compete with one another. Regarding this situation, let me remind of some plausible trivialities. If no- body uses these technical systems they are worthless, and so far men still? On the other hand it should not be overlooked that technical devices are not at all neutral components of media systems.

Since Marshall McLuhan, many scholars have emphasised that medium systems exercise structural effects on the users which are inde- pendent from the effects semantic contents of media offers can trigger. This explains why there are literates and illiterates for every medium. By media processes such events, persons etc. It is worth while to keep that in mind in any discussion about media and reality.

There- fore, it is implausible to apply models of linear causality to the analysis of the relation between men ad media systems. More than 30 years of rather unsuccessful research in media effects underpin this view. Media offers do not transport knowledge, mean- ings and values; instead, they offer actors well structured semiotic materials which can then be used by actors for the production of meaning, knowledge or evaluation in their respective biographical and social situation—herein, an account for our sparse knowledge about the actual effectiveness of media offers might be endued.

Therefore, applying models of co-evolution and enabling conditions seems to be plausible. The history of media reveals that new technologies have only succeeded if a relevant number of users made use of those. Only then new needs of communication could isochronously be developed and served, thus necessarily changing the relation to the world of users as well as of non-users of the new medium. They all show that the devel- opment and the success of a new medium system can be regarded as creation as well as formation of new societal needs. By their activities in media systems men create media-worlds or media- realities which compete with one another.

On this note, the description of reality and the reality of description coincide. This argument resolves the tedious question regarding the relation of media and reality. In other words, they can develop a competence of second order observation by observing observ- ers. Here the question arises how much second-order observation both sides can endure and if and how they can make use of it in a creative way. Television e. We know from various empirical studies how many young people use the daily TV-soaps as instruments for orienting their own lives.

Accordingly, programme makers bear a heavy load of responsibility which they must either accept or publicly reject—for what kind of reason so ever. The discussion about the mediality of our relation to the world has quasi automatically provoked a debate between epistemological realists and con- structivists sometimes far away of argumentative fairness about the rela- tion between reality and representation.

In the following I shall therefore shortly comment on this debate, nota bene not with the intention to solve this problem but to resolve it. In our discourses—and that is the domain of our living, acting, and communicating—we fabricate descrip- tions of objects so far which serve as starting point for further descriptions from now on. This argument can be reformulated in use of another terminology. Let us take as an example the processes of perception or description. An actor performs a perception process in the course and as a result of which he per- ceives something as something. In a process of description an actor describes something which appears as an object of this description.

In other words, these are three-part processes in which no single component is independent: perceiver, perception process and perceived are mutually self-constituting. In other words, talk of objects can only mean talk of objects- of-perception or objects-of-description. The actor must not be disregarded, and actors consist of bodies and brains. Objects, as Werner Heisenberg once said, are relations, references or posited reference. In the light of these considerations I propose to switch deliberately from the description of identical objects to the analysis of complex processes.

Accordingly, I do no longer ask whether or not an object X exists or whether our perception and description of X is true or false. Instead, I ask which process is running under which conditions and presuppositions, who per- forms this process and what kind of results arise for the actors involved in this process. The earth has existed long before any thought about the shape of the earth. Instead, he points to the insight that without someone referring to reality reality is not part of a discourse; but only in discourses can we talk about the existence or non-existence of real- ity or what else.

In these discourses we can aver the existence of all and everything in a beyond of discourses—statements we make here and now by reference to statements or descriptions which have been produced so far. We do this something , not that something else , although we could have done it. A supposition always takes a certain gestalt for us as well—should we be under observation—as for the others: it is a supposition of type A and not type B, C, M or X. All our suppositions to date therefore form a context of sup- positions in given concrete situations.

We can refer to this context by way of memories and narratives now. This context of suppositions comprises the totality of our prior life experiences that will, in turn, affect our future expe- riences in terms of expectations in every concrete situation. Every supposition makes at least one presupposition. As a rule, however, many presuppositions are made or drawn upon by a supposition. The nexus between supposition and presupposition is auto-constitutive as neither can be meaningfully envisaged without the other.

Therefore, supposition and presupposition are strictly complementary. If one accepts the auto-constitution of supposition and presupposition, then one also accepts that there can be no beginning exempt from a presupposition. The only possible beginning is—to make a supposition. We and not anyone else de- scribe and do not explain something as that particular something and not as something else. All this is realised meaning nothing but: all this we can envisage or think in this way only, not in any other as a happening in a particular situation at a particular point in time, i.

Suppositions constitute contingency, because they must be selective re- garding other options. As selections they are decisions, and only qua deci- sions do they make contingency observable. This means that selection and contingency must be envisaged jointly, they constitute each other, they are strictly complementary. Let me recapitulate: All our cognitive and communicative processes are suppositions which rely on presuppositions.

The most important presuppo- sitions in this respect are language and media, modelled in terms of frame- works of interactive dependencies which interrelate materialities and pos- sible semantic contents in a systemic way, followed by collective cultural knowledge as the basis and outcome of socialisation. Discourses function via the co-presence of materiality and meaning con- struction processes. Language is inseparably bound to materialities; media are necessarily bound to technicality. For this reason there is no withdraw- al of communicativity and mediality. Therefore, I consider it plausible to coin media-oriented societies as media-culture societies which deserve a thorough analysis in the framework of media-cultural studies—however they will be entitled in future times.

Media science or media philosophy? In their extensive research report, Christian Filk et al. As already mentioned in the beginning, rather controversial arguments have been is- sued. Some authors claim that philosophy has always been media philoso- phy avant la lettre which is simply to be prolonged into the future. Others call for the establishing of a new neo-pragmatist discipline which is able to solve practical problems in our society Sandbothe Hartmann, on the other hand, recommends organising media philosophy as an interdisci- plinary research platform and not as an academic discipline.

These considerations recommend an interdisciplinary approach to media problems in the organisational context of a research programme. The media development does not wait for a media philosophy which notori- ously runs late. Prospectively, we need extensive empirical research onto the full range of aspects of media processes on the basis of explicit theories, concepts and methods which allow for second order observations and legitimate itself via consequential results.

Such results concern all kinds of participation in me- dia processes in the cognitive as well as in the social domain. They should help us to extend our critical and creative use of media. This insight has not been realised in those philosophies and sciences which have been determined by writing and books. As soon as we realise that there are no contents outside the media we have to accept that research in media has to invest deliberately all possibilities of observation and description offered by all media.

In the times to come new concepts of science and aesthetics, of rationality and creativity should and will for sure be developed in order to serve the needs of a media research programme we can only imagine today. Historical research has revealed the co-evolution of medium systems, so- cieties and individuals since the invention of language and writing.

This development and its impact on the full complexity of our living in media- culture societies should be the grand subject of media research including all its cognitive, emotional, moral and social aspects. The best solution would be to establish coordinators to organise the interdisciplinary media research—but this issue is foremost a political one. However these questions will be answered we face the following situa- tion: If it is true that any society gets the media system deserved just be- cause the media are social constructions for the construction of societies and their realities then we need a system of observations and descriptions of all media which is capable to solve this societal problem.

We are just starting to develop such a system. Nevertheless, I am sure that the solution of this problem belongs to the most crucial tasks of our media-culture societies. Notes 1. See e. Margreiter See Schmidt See Maresch See the details in Schmidt , a. See Mitterer , The same proposal has been published by the German Wissenschaftsrat in May Literature Blumler, J. Katz: The Uses of Mass Communication. Current Perspectives in Gratifcation Research. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications Filk, Chr. Ein kritisches Forschungsreferat. Hartmann, F. Wien Wien: WUV Janich, P.

Luhmann, N. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 2. Maresch, R. Abruf Mitterer, J. Wien: Passagen-Verlag Sieben Thesen zur Medienphilosophie. Sandbothe Hrsg. Eine Erkenntnistheorie der Journalistik. Konstanz: UVK Sandbothe, M. Schlosser, G. Grundlegung einer allgemei- nen Systemtheorie. Braunschweig-Wiesbaden: Vieweg Schmidt, S. Medien, Kultur, Wissenschaft in der Mediengesell- schaft.

Behner et al. Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag Hall Hrsg. Orientierung durch Fernsehen: Kompetenz, Relevanz, Akzeptanz. Mainz: ZDF a, Rewriting Constructivism. Exeter: Imprint Aca- demic Seel, M. Zierold, M. Eine medienkulturwissenschaftliche Perspektive. Berlin: de Gruyter I have no such intention. No doubt that our society, and almost certainly every conceivable society, is a society of information: one cannot live without knowing; not even Robinson can do it. A fortiori in a complex society, one cannot live without knowing. It is often thought that that means that we live in a society of communi- cation, both in the sense that communication is necessary for society and in the sense of an unprecedented expansion of communication in our time.

I doubt both such contentions. Indeed it seems a function that is subordinated to something more essential, namely recording. The idea I would like to sketch here is that we live in a society of recording and that this is the possibility condition of a society of communication, and, of course, of information. The 20th January the New York Times published an article on the new Japanese teen trend to read nov- els written and distributed on cell phones.

One would make a mistake in deeming such a story as just another oriental weirdness, just like the story according to which Japanese people sleep in cylinders. Let us turn the page, so to say, but let us keep our eye on the New York Times. There have been a lot of discussions some months ago about the an- nounced disappearance in of the paper edition of the New York Times. Indeed, while the New York Times announces the end of its paper edition, entire forests are destroyed to produce the paper on which countless free publications are printed, and which owe their existence to computers.

It will never be removed—I bet—at least if we consider the moral of a further story that appeared on newspapers: the IATA International Air Transport Association has placed its last order of paper tickets. From , there will be no more paper tickets, only codes. These are only three among numerous pieces of news whose subject is writing. This prophecy has been followed by many other prophecies. For instance, that computers would have been literally eaten alive by television do you remember when they told us to use the TV screen as the screen of our computers?

Or, that paper would have disappeared from our ta- bles, whereas it is precisely the possibility to write without paper has multi- plied the quantity of paper with which we have to deal with in our everyday life, from undesired advertisements to free newspapers and bargain books.

And the prophecy according to which the postmodern world, the world of information, would have been immaterial, while obsolete plastic and silica contribute to a great extent to the worsening of the trash emergency. All these wrong predictions are somehow suspect. How is it possible? How is it possible that all the current technology is essentially designed for the function of writing, i. How is it possible an- other not so implausible prophecy that the control of energetic resources is something less valuable, from a political point of view, than the control of memory?

In order to answer these questions it is not enough, I believe, to make appeal to the power of technique. Because, even if it is true that tech- nique engenders needs, technique also addresses existing needs that some- times may be unexpressed, just like in the case of the explosion of writing: no one, neither computer makers and phone makers, could have imagined what happened next. This means that what took place, somehow surprising us all, has to do with the very foundations of social reality. On what was based the idea that modern times, more than any other times, are characterized by an explosion of communication idea that has given rise to a great number of studies, disciplines, academic programs, devoted to communication, which were simply unthinkable and nonexistent before the twentieth century?

The idea behind the creation of something like a science of communication, or theories of information etc. This system of communication was the last mark of modernity. But if this is true, why there has been such a huge comeback of writing? One could say that writing is already present in communication, for instance in newspapers. But we know that in the dis- course about communication newspapers were thought of as a fragile crea- ture, threatened by television, a creature that was destined to disappear. Also in this case, the opposite has happened. Television shows have web sites and can be seen off line.

The basic idea was that the task of philosophy was that of analyzing language and of enabling dialogue, the fundamental rationale of humanity. But things went in a different way. What happened instead is the triumph of control, of the tracking of every single informa- tion—ranging from our purchases on the web or in a supermarket to emails and phone calls— that increases the possibility of control.

Recording The crucial point then is that what evidently prevails is not communica- tion, but, so to say, its possibility condition, namely recording. Human beings are animals that communicate. Our task, at this point, is that of not taking recording for granted, in order to detect its real features—a task that is form from being trivial. Indeed there are three basic reasons behind the priority of recording on communication.

In fact, there are at least two good reasons for not communicating: having noth- ing to say, and not remembering what one wanted to say. Almost certainly, her defects would be perceived as defects in communication, but at their basis there would be defects in recording. Or let us imagine that someone wanted to communicate with us by means of a private language, namely a language whose code nobody possesses, neither the speaker of such a lan- guage. The other speaker, however, has taken a medicine that prevents her to record segments of speech longer than a few words.

When I will be ending my utterance, the other speaker will have already forgotten its initial part and when my utterance will be complete, she will remember for a very short time only the last two words. No doubt that such a speaker who completely ignores to be under the effect of a medicine, and even if she were told so she would have forgotten it immediately would believe that it is me who talks in a very confusing way, and that it is me having serious defects of communication, whereas the truth is that it is her having serious problems in recording.

In other terms, only the function of contact, i. If I ask the time to someone and he or she answers, we have a communication. But if I read the time of an ATM transaction on a receipt can we really say that this is communication? To illustrate this point, I propose two simple experiments: 1. Keep all the tickets and pieces of paper collected in one day; 2. Do the same in a one- week journey. The quantity of paper collected would be very telling: a net- work of rights, obligations, possibilities, institutions and payments, that are encapsulated in documents, be they solemn documents such as the Magna Charta or more ordinary documents like parking cards, that nowadays are made of plastic.

To summarize: if our biological life depends on Dna, our social life de- pends on another code: writing, whose function is to record, with or without paper, our social acts. This is why our future, even in the more extraordinary scenarios, will always require writing. Let us begin with nemes. The underlying idea is that a neme encodes information, and it can be transmitted by imitation.

Now, the bio- logical metaphor, according to me, is not of any help, and neither is the idea of dealing with minimal units. There are plenty of inscriptions in the world, and—metaphori- cally speaking—there are styles that remain impressed: behaviors, memo- ries. Inscriptions—both in a proper and a metaphorical sense i. It seems to me that here we have a very important intuition concerning society: society actually comes about by imitation, and by iteration of behaviors and this is a further proof of the fact that recording is more important than communicating.

Now, let us consider this attentively. Such a glue is not just peculiar, but it is mysterious too7. Now, it seems to me much simpler to ground society on imitation, and imitation on writing. In order to back up such a thesis think at what I have just said concerning imitation, and then consider the following counter-argument against collective intentionality: if really the glue of social reality is collective intentionality, what do we need documents for?

Should we simply consider them memos of collective intentional states? This would be nonsense. If things are not that way and we indeed need documents, how can be maintained that everything depends on collective intentionality? Let me give an example, in order to be clear. At a certain point, the Russian soldiers arrive. More importantly, the fact that everybody eventually gave up has not brought the war to an end. A last remark concerning collective intentionality. My point is whether it would not be more sensible to take them, more simply, as the base of imitation.

Actually, there is no rea- son to think that something more complex is going on here, and it would be an exaggeration to put the whole burden of social reality and its construction on a kind of neurons. Power Let me sum up what I have done so far, before going to the most salient points of the paper. However, if we look at recording and inscrip- tion as the public dimension of recording in so far as they are constitutive elements of social reality, we are in a position to account for the reason why writing is so predominant, and therefore we have an explanation of the actu- ality we are in.

And we can do that without appealing to weird entities, but only to common sense ingredients, which can show us how the social world is based on the rules of imitation and relies heavily on inscriptions of acts, up to the creation of a class of bureaucracts and the like, who after all are much more visible entities, and have roles and functions in a much more clear way than memes and collective intentionality. How is that possible that certain inscriptions can generate other inscriptions, and also to endow them with a value? In other words, how come that a document makes myself a professor and authorizes me to hold exams, which is what other people needs to get a degree, which in turn is what will authorize them to perform certain functions?

How is that pos- sible, and a fortiori, that a document authorizes the Bank of Italy to emit banknotes that may be used all over Europe and that, in case, can be used to generate other documents, for instance by buying stamps. I will explain this possibility on the ground of two elements, tradition and securitization.

I start with tradition. Both philosophy10 and common sense have always known the value of tradition, which guides our judgments through our prej- udices, confers authority to practices which have been preserved through generations, and so on. Rather, they show how the development of a tradi- tion of written laws is the most common outcome of he construction and distribution of power in modern societies.

Let us come now to the role of securitization, which I intend not just in the economic sense e. This fact, strictly speaking, is not merely a development of the idea that a society without a memory cannot be conceived, but it encompasses a further element, the nexus between recording and power. On the one hand, there is no power if there is not an inscription that establishes it—either a document in our pocket, an academic toga, a military degree, or a sachem hat. On the other hand, in the social world the recording of sensorial data is obviously a source of power: indeed, one can acquire power even simply by possess- ing certain recordings think at telephone companies , or by recording what the costumers of a supermarket buy, or more simply by having an addresses list.

In many cases there is a privacy legislation that, at least in principle, protect such recordings, and this is quite telling about the power that they confer to whom possesses them and it is not by chance that such recordings are usually property of the State, namely the entity that, in modern societies, embodies legitimate power.

A last observation on this.

Previous Source Document

The poor has no money, but has an identity, and thereby—at least in principle—has rights; the sans papiers has no documents, but usually has a mobile, or certain documents whose validity is disputed; at the lower level of the pyramid, void of any rights and powers, there is the Lager inmate. I take this to be a good example to show how power depends on inscriptions. Difference I must now explain why recording is so powerful as I depict it. The un- derlying idea is that mere communication has not social import, if it is not recorded.

If someone communicates to me something, and I immediately forget what I have been told, all I can do is to ask to repeat what they have just said, and be more attentive, or in case the object of communication is not easy to remember, let us say a telephone number or an address get a pen and a piece of paper. Communication alone is worthless, and what I have said about information holds true a fortiori of an order or a promise, not to mention of a performative, that would be completely meaningless if the element of recording were not present in communication.

Still, we ask how is all that possible. Let me come back to globaliza- tion, and elaborate on it. I claimed before that what makes globalization possible is not the fact that goods and commodities travels, or that people at different places can communicate, but writing as a form of recording. Consider these three situ- ations. If in A something from B arrives, or if you move from A to B, either way you are localized, not glo- balized. But at a certain moment, be- cause of the time zones, you have to choose: either you are in A or in B.

And indeed you stay in A. How is that possible? Indeed, we realize that the pos- sibility of differing, of postponing, of avoiding the synchrony of exchanges is the base not only of globalization, but of every kind of society. And this demonstrates that globalization is not an accident, but what society, since humanity dwelled the caves, was bound to. Habermas Jakobson Ferraris Dawkins Searle , Tuomela e Gallese Dehaene Gadamer De Soto Bourdieu Agamben the expression is by Walter Benjamin.

Derrida b. Derrida References Agamben, G. Il potere sovrano e la nuda vita, Torino, Einaudi. Bourdieu, P. Dawkins, R. Corte e A. Serra, Milano, Mondadori Dehaene, S. De Soto, H. Ferraris, M. Ontologia del telefonino, Milano, Bompiani ——, , Sans Papier. Gallese, V. Jakobson, R. Searle, J. Tarde, G. Jahrhundert auch als eine philosophische Frage nach der neuen Technik gestellt. Hat die Philosophie des Dieser Medial Turn wird in der Folge eine neue Wahrnehmungstheorie verlangen, um der Sprache der neuen Medien habhaft zu werden Manovich , und eine post-typogra- phische Erkenntnistheorie Giesecke , die es aber von den Bildtheorie- Diskursen zu unterscheiden gilt.

Debray Die medientechnische Verdichtung des Erfahrungsraumes im Jahrhunderts haben, wobei mit der Ausbildung des Weltverkehrs sogar schon Begriffe wie Vernetzung auftauchen Krajewski , Dass der Mensch seine organische Anlage technisch reproduziert und mittels Technik auch potenziert, dieser theoretisch Topos sollte im Das or- ganische Leben bringt stabile Formen hervor, weil die Funktion es verlangt, wie etwa Knochen. Die im Die Metapher vom Weltgehirn liegt nahe.

Schon bei Kapp erscheint Weltgeist aufgehoben in der neuen Ontologie globaler Medientechnik. Dieser Ansatz zeigt auch, wie sich biologische Anlagen in der Technik fortsetzen, wie die direkte Motorik der Geste zur indirekten Motorik der Maschine wird, die sich ihrerseits zum Automaten weiterentwickelt. Zum neueren Stand der Diskussion vgl. Sandbothe Hg. Zur Entstehungsgeschichte der Cultur aus neuen Gesichtspunkten, Braunschweig Mainzer Vgl dazu Hartmann , Literatur Bloom, Howard : Global Brain. Margreiter, Reinhard : Medienphilosophie. Some vocabulary in this paper may create similar unease, so a warning may be in order.

What makes sense to software engineers may for philosophers carry too much baggage. Rather than recount projects in detail, a web page with links has been set up to accompany this paper. Interested readers can follow the threads of the experiments by browsing online resources at www.

  • Titres liés?
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  • Berichtnavigatie?

The experiments examined avatars or online identities similar to current- ly popular multiplayer games like Warcraft and Second Life. Driven by par- ticipation and designed for interaction—these experiments were shaped by art designers, architects, and online educators. During the s, virtual worlds went from research to commercial game platforms.

Unlike the later commercial avatars of Warcraft and Second Life, these early avatar experi- ments fostered non-programmed sociality. The model was less rule-based games than town meetings, discussion groups, or even casual parties. During these years, a progressive momentum energized the virtual reality community.

Books and articles from this period held out a less-than-utopian but nevertheless hopeful promise. Avatar Diplomacy? We should look at green again, and be startled anew but not blin- ded by blue and yellow and red. We should meet the centaur and the dragon, and then perhaps suddenly behold, like the ancient shepherds, sheep, and dogs, and horses — and wolves. Fairy-stories help us to make this recovery. In that sense only a taste for them may make us, or keep us, childish.

Recovery which includes return and renewal of health is a re-gaining — regaining of a clear view. We need, in any case, to clean our windows; so that the things seen clearly may be freed from the drab blur of triteness or familiarity — from possessiveness. Avatar experiments went beyond typical problems such as identity authentication, world design, and self-expression. The Internet was—at least in principle—a world-wide net- work. The trans-national dimension might reveal links between online com- munities and planetary politics. Software kits with support from college students were envi- sioned for school children in the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, and eventually the Middle East.

While the 2-year project for avatar diplomacy was welcomed in theory, it was never put into practice. We are academic institutions, not launch pads for action. Does fear put a freeze on novel forms of communication? People who wear rubber gloves to open their mail—as prophylactic against anthrax poisoning—are in no mood to take long-range risks. Is it not a larger failure of imagination to not connect information technology with trans-national communication? These were some of the questions that experimenters faced as the way forward became blocked and as research pathways trailed off into the dark woods.

Can collective subjectivity be re-tuned in a way that makes empathic performance more appealing to technological culture? What tools are available for reviving a lethargic imagination? The pre-given art works of poetic traditions enshrine residual power where imagination is preserved in a rich music of rhythm and patterned sounds. Several generations have protected and venerated these imaginative incantations.

In searching for practical tools of revival, might not the current humanities—the interdisciplinary discussion of literature, history, music, and drama—turn to these works to awaken empathic imagi- nation? By listening to the songs and legends built into language by poets and dramatists, might collective subjectivity regain depth of feeling—not as a personal psychological acquisition but as an awakening to the possibilities of feeling and imaginative action?

Das, wovon wir sprechen, die Sprache, ist uns stets schon voraus. Demnach bleiben wir, von der Sprache sprechend, in ein immerfort unzurei- chendes Sprechen verstrickt. Diese Verstrickung sperrt uns gegen das ab, was sich dem Denken kundgeben soll. Richard Rorty and Jacques Derrida are notable examples of philosophers who have practiced their discipline in the context of literature departments rather than in departments of philosophy. Like the philologist and author J. Such an interpretive language can be an independent art work or a discursive prose that wraps around art works.

The centrality of hermeneutics is nothing new. But the urgency of the technological horizon requires special emphases for fostering the music of humanity in the interpretive process. This includes a physical, phonological, musical involvement on an amateur level. The song might again stand on its own as a felt experi- ence with a participatory, energetic dimension.

A goal for the humanities might be to awaken empathic perception which may someday feed the self-organizing action of avatars. Wordsworth educates the affective life of his reader. He teaches how to become a renovated spirit, free of crippling self-consciousness yet still enjoying the varied gifts of an awakened consciousness. Oliver Berghof, my colleague in Humanities Core at the University of California at Irvine for responding to an early draft of this paper.