Next stop: Durkheim & anthropology

In a previous blog All Roads Lead to Ferdinand, I discussed Saussure as an opening of a new paradigm in the human sciences. Today, up at bat is Emile Durkheim, one of the founding fathers of the French social anthropology, who had a revolutionary insight that complements Saussure’s in linguistics. Continue reading Next stop: Durkheim & anthropology

A new philosophy of the human sciences

Several years ago, I was in deep discussions with a theologian about the base to superstructure model. He declared it to be no longer feasible after the age of information, where the Internet has reversed this model, and the base is no longer the foundation of the superstructure. Originally in the Marxist model, the base shaped the superstructure – both relations of production (where the capitalist takes advantage of the worker) and means of production (material required to produce – machines, factories, land, owned by capitalists) determine education, religion, family, media, politics. The superstructure in turn maintains and legitimates the base. However, the Internet actually inverts this model by changing the relations of production – the worker gains power and takes advantage of capitalists, and the means of production are disseminated via the internet. Now, this was a neat revamp of a classic model, but I took another look: perhaps this is not just a cute insight, but a crucial one that applies to the rest of the human sciences. Continue reading A new philosophy of the human sciences

“Man” is a recent invention on the verge of its expiration date

“….as the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end. If those arrangements were to disappear as they appeared… as the ground of classical thought did at the end of the eighteenth century, then one can certainly wager that man would be erased, like a face drawn in sand at the edge of the sea.” (Order of Things, p. 387)

Man is an epistemological concept that did not exist during or before the Classical age, because “there was no epistemological consciousness of man as such.” (p. 309) Continue reading “Man” is a recent invention on the verge of its expiration date