Agent, Person, Subject, Self: A Theory of Ontology, Interaction, and Infrastructure

Hardcover | January 1, 2013

byPaul Kockelman

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This book offers both a naturalistic and critical theory of signs, minds, and meaning-in-the-world. It provides a reconstructive rather than deconstructive theory of the individual, one which both analytically separates and theoretically synthesizes a range of faculties that are often confusedand conflated: agency (understood as a causal capacity), subjectivity (understood as a representational capacity), selfhood (understood as a reflexive capacity), and personhood (understood as a sociopolitical capacity attendant on being an agent, subject, or self). It argues that these facilities are best understood from a semiotic stance that supersedes the usual intentional stance. And, in so doing, it offers a pragmatism-grounded approach to meaning and mediation that is general enough to account for processes that are as embodied and embedded as they arearticulated and enminded. In particular, while this theory is focused on human-specific modes of meaning, it also offers a general theory of meaning, such that the agents, subjects and selves in question need not always, or even usually, map onto persons. And while this theory foregrounds agents, persons, subjects and selves, it does this by theorizing processes that often remain in the background of such (often erroneously) individuated figures: ontologies (akin to culture, but generalized across agentive collectivities), interaction (not onlybetween people, but also between people and things, and anything outside or in-between), and infrastructure (akin to context, but generalized to include mediation at any degree of remove).

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This book offers both a naturalistic and critical theory of signs, minds, and meaning-in-the-world. It provides a reconstructive rather than deconstructive theory of the individual, one which both analytically separates and theoretically synthesizes a range of faculties that are often confusedand conflated: agency (understood as a caus...

Paul Kockelman is a linguistic anthropologist, with a strong area focus in Latin America, who is broadly interested in the relation between meaning, value, and information. His scholarship, developed in more than 25 articles, has focused on a broad set of interrelated topics concerning language, culture and mind. Methodologically, he d...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:January 1, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199926980

ISBN - 13:9780199926985

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Table of Contents

FiguresTables1. Semiotic Ontologies1. Signs, Minds, and Meaning-in-the-World2. Ontology, Interaction, and Infrastructure2. Biosemiosis, Technocognition, and Sociogenesis1. Relations between Relations2. Significance and Selection3. Communication between Conspecifics4. The Organization of Cognitive Processes5. Framing6. Artificial and Natural Selection, Sieving and Serendipity7. Lawn-Mowers and Logic Gates8. Relations between Relations Revisited9. Networks of Interconnected Envorganisms10. The Evolution and Epidemiology of Culture3. Enclosing and Disclosing Worlds1. The Neo-Organon2. Semiotic Processes, Social Theories, and Obviated Ontologies3. Social Statuses, Material Substances, and Mental States4. Relatively Emblematic Indices5. Semiotic Agents and Generalized Others6. From Performativity to Transformativity4. Residence in the World1. From Being-in-the-World to Meaning-in-the-World2. Heeding Affordances3. Wielding Instruments4. Undertaking Actions5. Inhabiting Roles6. Fulfilling Identities7. From Acting Under a Description to Comporting Within an Interpretation5. Representations of the World1. Intentionality Reframed2. Cognitive Representations3. Discursive Practices4. From Theory of Mind to the Interpretation of Signs5. Intentionality and Emblemeticity6. Selfhood, Affect, and Value1. I Err Therefore I am2. From Subjectivity to Selfhood3. From Cognition to Affect4. Maps, Terrains, and Travelers5. From Meaning to Value