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Home > Tamilnation Library > Unfolding Consciousness > The Language of Dialectics and the Dialectics of Language - Joachim Israel
TAMIL NATION LIBRARY: Unfolding Consciousness
The Language of Dialectics and the Dialectics of LanguageJoachim Israel,
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From the Frontpiece:
From the Foreword & Chapter 1 -
" I argue that in order for our experiences to acquire meaning, we must be able to speak about them, to express them in words. Therefore, a central problem becomes: what does it mean to possess language. ...I argue for the thesis that the sharp dualistic distinction between knowledge of language, and knowledge of reality, has to be abandoned. Knowledge of language is knowledge of reality. Language itself is part of reality.
... When trying to specify the basic categories of dialectical reasoning we face a dilemma. By talking about dialectics we may understand what dialectical reasoning is. But we not only want to talk about dialectics, we also want to use dialectical reasoning in our account in order to grasp it. Hence, in order to grasp dialectics, we must understand what we mean when we talk about it. But in order to understand what we mean, we must grasp it by using it. It is therefore obvious, that the concept of " praxis " has a central role to play in this presentation...
.....One basic epistemological issue concerns the relation between the subject, who has or produces knowledge, and the object of knowledge. Three positions are outlined: one, assuming a passive subject exposed to the world of objects; another an active subject producing ideas; and finally, an active producing subject who is at the same time, a product of the world existing independently of him. It is this last position which will be assumed throughout this book. Therefore a notion of praxis has a central place in our theorizing...
... That which constitutes the social, i.e., praxis, is understood as the changing, transforming, and transcending activities of man in his daily life-process. Praxis is objectified in social institutions, ones that can be transcended through changing those activities which make up such praxis.
Praxis must be distinguished from the means or the ways it manifests itself. The means of praxis are work, in the sense of the process of production; language, and morals as manifested inpolitics and power relations, indicating man's dependence on nature, on other man and on common goals, respectively.
... the life-process is the starting point for social scientific analysis. This comprises the basic process of production, the process of the production of knowledge, and of institutions. ... a dualistic distinction between language and reality rejected. Language is constitutive of social reality, as well as being a part of social reality. ... the use of language presupposes an intersubjectivity of meaning. This intersubjectivity is not something carried into the social world from outside. It is presupposed, and by that it is a central aspect in defining what constitutes the social world. ... man is always in society and, therefore, the social sciences are a part of that which they study.
Social scientists cannot uphold a detached position, and if they claim to, it is probably an expression of a lack of self-reflexion on their part. Social sciences do not reflect the social world, but contribute to its constitution. In this sense, they can either fortify the given or become instruments of change. ... man is not only an object but is also a subject, and that a social science which does not recognize this fact does not recognize its possibilities and, as well, is easily transformed into a manipulative technology.... social science is always a moral or "political" science, and, therefore, that social values cannot be expunged from it."