Download The Category of the Person: Anthropology, Philosophy, by Michael Carrithers, Steven Collins, Steven Lukes PDF

By Michael Carrithers, Steven Collins, Steven Lukes

The idea that humans have of themselves as a 'person' is without doubt one of the so much intimate notions that they carry. but the best way the class of the individual is conceived varies over the years and area. during this quantity, anthropologists, philosophers, and historians research the concept of the individual in numerous cultures, previous and current. Taking as their place to begin a lecture at the individual as a class of the human brain, given by means of Marcel Mauss in 1938, the individuals significantly examine Mauss's hypothesis that notions of the individual, instead of being essentially philosophical or mental, have a posh social and ideological beginning. Discussing societies starting from historic Greece, India, and China to fashionable Africa and Papua New Guinea, they supply attention-grabbing descriptions of the way those varied cultures outline the individual. yet in addition they increase deeper theoretical concerns: what's universally consistent and what's culturally variable in people's brooding about the individual? How can those diversifications be defined? Has there been a common revolutionary improvement towards the trendy Western view of the individual? what's precise approximately this? How do one's notions of the individual tell one's skill to appreciate replacement formulations? those questions are of compelling curiosity for a variety of anthropologists, philosophers, historians, psychologists, sociologists, orientalists, and classicists. The publication will entice any reader desirous about knowing the most basic features of human life.

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But the problem then becomes how to character­ ise this universally presupposed and realised 'category', and what kind of relation social history (or historiography) might bear to it. The same am- s. Collins 68 biguity found in Durkheim and Mauss is here reproduced: if the category is necessary and universal, and so in a sense a priori, then in just this sense it cannot have a history. Of course particular conceptual 'realisa­ tions' of the category must have a social history, and I agree wholeheart­ edly with Allen when he says that in this sense philosophers (I would add, particularly English-language linguistic analysts) often display 'the characteristic error of non-sociologists who, unaware of the history and pre-history of the notions with which they operate, naively regard them as natural'.

69 The other part or factor of man is 'the soul'; that is, that part of consciousness which is both moral sense or con­ science (Ia conscience morale), and at the same time conceptual aware­ ness. 'The soul' is that which enables individuals (through the public, social medium of language) to rise above their mean and petty individual appetites to the higher life which is social and moral. It is la conscience collective. This movement from individual to social is also a move from animal to human; each individual consciousness does - or at least should recognise that in rising to the level of humanity and human personality it is rising to the level of the social.

But at the same time, it is par­ ticularity, different from others, individual personality. The point is that the particular characteristics of the 'I' are not merely given, but belong to a being who is also capable of abstracting from them and making them over, who is free in the sense of having an identity which is beyond any of them. Hence these characteristics can be seen as affirmed by this universal self-identity. 49 In Hegel's own terms, Concept is not merely soul [Seele] but free subjective Concept that is for itself and therefore possesses personality [die Personlichkeit] - the practi­ cal, objective Concept determined in and for itself which, as Person, is impenetrable atomic subjectivity [der, als Person, undurchdringliche atome Sub;ektivitat ist] but which, none the less, is not exclusive Individuality [Einzelnheit] but universality and cognition .

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