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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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Preface: Lawrence Krader—a Personal Retrospective in Memoriam (Cyril Levitt)


← vi | vii →

Preface: Lawrence Krader—a Personal Retrospective in Memoriam


With the publication of Noetics: The Science of Thinking and Knowing, and the organization of the conference Beyond the Juxtaposition of Nature and Culture in May of 2016, I have discharged my promise to Lawrence Krader to publish his magnum opus and to bring together an international group of scholars to discuss some of the leading ideas contained in that work. He had hoped that the research project which bears his name and which he helped to establish might become an international hub for scholarly work in the spirit of his own writings that would engage in the topics dear to him, and with problems that he had chosen to consider and tried to resolve.

I first met Lawrence in the late summer of 1970. He had just assumed the position of professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Waterloo in Canada. I was canvassing the chairs of each department in the Faculty of Arts in hopes that they would sign a petition supporting student efforts to organize a conference on phenomenology and Marxism under the aegis of the journal Telos, run by the graduate students in philosophy at SUNY Buffalo. I had taken courses on Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty with Richard Holmes and audited a course on Hegel’s Phenomenology with Leslie Armour. Krader asked me a series of questions,...

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