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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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Constructionist Reflections on Noetics (Dorothy Pawluch / Kathleen Steeves)


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Constructionist Reflections on Noetics


Immersing oneself in Lawrence Krader’s magnum opus, Noetics, one cannot help but be impressed by the audaciousness of the task that Krader undertook—to lay out the foundations of human thinking and knowing, in all of its manifestations and expressions. Remarkable as well is the breadth and depth of Krader’s erudition as he draws from both the natural and human sciences, literature, art, and music to illustrate and develop his ideas. Yet, what struck us most about Noetics is the extent to which Krader’s work resonates with so many ongoing debates in current sociological theorizing. In this chapter, we engage with Krader as social constructionists and relate Krader’s noetics to issues with which social constructionists are grappling. Our reading of Krader from this perspective leads us to an observation about inconsistencies in his position and to suggest that Krader might have gone further still in laying down the proper subject matter for his science of noetics.

Social constructionism, a theory of knowledge developed most explicitly in Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann’s book The Social Construction of Reality (1966), builds on the premise that what human beings hold to be “real” or “true” at any point in time is a social creation. The theory has had an impact on virtually every area of sociological inquiry, from the sociology of gender (Lorber 1990; West and Zimmerman 1987), race (Omi and...

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