Monthly Archives: March 2015

transcendental idealism after the linguistic turn

“Claiming that one should be a pragmatic modal expressivist (an expressivist about what one is doing in applying modal vocabulary) but a semantic modal realist (a realist about what one is saying in applying modal vocabulary) is, I think, recognizably a development and a descendant, for this special but central case, of Kant’s claim that one should be a transcendental idealist, but an empirical realist.” (Brandom. From Empiricism to Expressivism. Loc 4259)

what is conceptual content?

“to be conceptually contentful just is to stand in modally robust relations of material consequences and incompatibility (what Hegel calls relations of “mediation” and “determinate negation”). This is a resolutely nonpsychological sense of ‘conceptual’. For it makes no reference to concept-use—to the application of concepts by anyone at all. So if there are laws of nature according to which some properties are incompatible with others (cannot be exemplified by the same object at the same time) or have others as their consequences (if one is exhibited by an object, the other must be) then the world as it is objectively, independently of the activity of any knowing and acting subjects, is conceptually articulated.” (Brandom. From Empiricism to Expressivism. Loc 4032 of 6279)

functionalist accounts and political economy approaches

“Early sociological work on the mass media tended to be broadly functionalist, looking at the integrative functions of the media. […] But the main problem with such accounts is that they seem only to describe certain positive aspects of the mass media and ignore the active interpretations of the audience itself. More seriously, functionalist accounts do not take into account major conflicts of interest and the production of ideology aimed at maintaining existing inequalities.

By contrast, political economy approaches show how the major means of communication have come to be owned by private interests. For example, over the twentieth century, a few ‘press barons’ owned a majority of the pre-war press and were able to set the agenda for news and its interpretation.” (Giddens & Sutton. Essential Concepts in Sociology. p.147)

ideology and discourses

“Today the concept of ideology is not as well used as it was in the 1970s and 1980s, and it is much more likely that sociological interest in the power of ideas will draw on the Foucauldian concept of discourses and their effects, which has shifted the focus away from ideas and beliefs towards language use, speech and documentary sources. However, the two concepts are not necessarily opposed.” (Giddens & Sutton. Essential Concepts in Sociology. p.142)

life course and structure-agency problem

“The concept [of the life course] has also stimulated interest in new research methods such as biographical research and oral histories, which allow sociologists access to the ways in which differently situated individuals experience life-course stages. Studies in this vein may well offer new information on the structure-agency problem from the point of view of social actors at different stages of the life course.” (Giddens & Sutton. Essential Concepts in Sociology. p.125)

old age and residency 

“[T]his study [Phillipson (2007)] argues that the economic, social and cultural aspects of globalization are transforming many residential environments and that new divides among older populations are emerging. This is especially so in relation to those who are able to move into retirement communities or second homes and others who view changing neighborhoods as problematic for their sense of self and belonging.” (Giddens & Sutton. Essential Concepts in Sociology. p.119)

sense and reference

“In order, then, to transcend judgemental relativism it is necessary to sustain a distinction between sense and reference in respect of frames of meaning. The mediation of frames of meaning is a hermeneutic problem, whether this concerns the relation between paradigms, within science, or the understanding of distant historical periods or of alien cultures. Hermeneutic analysis demands a respect for the authenticity of mediated frames of meaning: this is the necessary avenue for understanding other forms of life, that is, generating descriptions of them that are potentially available to those who have not directly participated in them. But authenticity on the level of meaning has to be distinguished from the validity of propositions about the world that are expressed as beliefs within a particular meaning-frame.” (Anthony Giddens. New Rules of Sociological Method. p.152)

actions vs activities

“[W]e humans also enact what I will call “activities,” using the word in a special and restricted way. By an “activity” I mean a socially recognized and institutionally or culturally supported endeavor that usually involves sequencing or combining actions in certain specified ways. Encouraging a student is an action, mentoring the student is an activity. Telling someone something about linguistics is an action (informing), lecturing on linguistics is an activity.” (Gee, J. P. (2014). How to do Discourse Analysis. p.95)

“If I say someone is “playing a video game,” I am naming an action. If I say they are “gaming,” I am naming an activity or practice, which names a way of engaging in various actions so as to be socially recognized by others as a “gamer.”” (ibid., p.103)