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Beyond the Juxtaposition of Nature and Culture

Lawrence Krader, Interdisciplinarity, and the Concept of the Human Being


Edited By Cyril Levitt and Sabine Sander

The essays contained in Beyond the Juxtaposition of Nature and Culture represent an attempt by scholars from Canada, Germany, and Mexico to come to grips with the innovative work of the American philosopher and anthropologist Lawrence Krader who has proposed nothing less than a new theory of nature, according to which there are at least three different orders—the material-biotic, the quantum, and the human—which differ from one another according to their different configurations of space-time, and which cannot be reduced the one to the others. Each author takes up Krader’s theory in relation to its impact on their own discipline: sociology, anthropology, the study of myth, the theory of labor and value, economics, linguistics, and aesthetics. The question of how nature and culture can be integrated within a theoretical framework which links them in difference and nexus and allows each their non-reductive space leads each of the contributors to move in their thinking beyond the old dualisms of materialism and idealism, fact and value, nature and culture.

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Lawrence Krader: Noetics: The Science of Thinking and Knowing (Cyril Levitt)


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Lawrence Krader: Noetics: The Science of Thinking and Knowing


Lawrence Krader began working on material that would much later in his life become, in his own words, his magnum opus as a freshman student in philosophy at the City College of New York (CCNY) in 1936. Off and on over the course of 64 years he worked on aspects of Noetics (2010). I would like to offer an overview of Noetics, although any thoroughgoing and detailed treatment of this vast newly proposed discipline would take us far beyond the scope of a single paper. Not only does it cover an enormous number of topics, but none of the topics covered can be easily summarized. For noetics, the theory and the beauty lie in the intricate details. Furthermore, I will present much of the material covered in Noetics in Krader’s own words, citing liberally from the text.1

What Is Noetics? What Is Nature?

Noetics, Krader proposes, is the science of thinking and knowing, thought and knowledge. It has as its subject matter, its objects of study, noesis, intellection, consciousness, and mind as process and state, and the interaction of the two. And this world of noesis, intellection, consciousness, and mind exists, like everything else, entirely in nature. Everything exists in nature; nature is all and all is nature. Even the “supernatural,” as thought of or conceived as an object of thinking and of consciousness, exists...

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