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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’s Noetics and Its Implications for Resolving the Methodological Conundrum of the “Naturalistic Turn” in Contemporary Economics (Carsten Herrmann-Pillath)


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Lawrence Krader’s Noetics and Its Implications for Resolving the Methodological Conundrum of the “Naturalistic Turn” in Contemporary Economics



One of the central ideas in Lawrence Krader’s work is the notion of ontological pluralism. In approaching the world, he distinguishes between at least three orders: the material, the quantum, and the human order, which differ categorically, and which constitute the world via their inter-relations and interpenetrations. For example, humans act on the material order and create artefacts (products of “work” and “labor”) as objectifications within the human order, even while they remain “thingly” in the material order. If these objectifications are food for us, then they have both a cultural significance and a material-biotic function. Homo sapiens evolves from within the material order biologically, whereas human being emerges and is constituted in the human order of nature which moves within a different configuration of space-time. The distinctive feature of the human order is the mind, and its functions and properties are thinking and knowing, thought and knowledge. Krader therefore proposes a new kind of science, called “noetics” (Krader 2010, 39). Noesis is a complex process in the system of mind that involves the two fundamental processes of “thinking” and “knowing,” with the former being mainly an individual phenomenon, and the latter individual and social. Research on noesis encompasses many levels and temporal scopes, such as individual cognition, or the history of ideas, which are mutually embedded....

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