Perception and Reality

Human perception of the material reality is always indirect. This perception is mediated by the senses and incredibly limited to the tiniest scrap of the material reality, or to the extent that in the process of evolution was established by trial and error as necessary for the successful survival of an average human.

Continue reading “Perception and Reality”

Advertisements

Does Evil Exist?

A strange question to pose, one might say. Why, of course, evil does exist, we all know. But who are these ‘we’? It is people, humans. They seem to know what evil is, because evil things are done to them and they do evil things to others. The distinction between good and evil yields what is known as morality and ethics. People’s deeds may be assessed as good or bad (evil). But it is sufficient to ask whether a tiger killing and devouring an antelope is guilty of an evil act, or for that matter an elephant that in the course of walking across a wood inadvertently squashes a creature under its foot. The popular opinion is that such acts are ethically neutral, neither bad nor good, because that is the way of nature. Nature is opposed to civilization or culture, which are terms for the human (social) world composed of human groups. Evil exists only in the latter sphere, that is, in relations among people. It is a truism to say that there is no evil on the Moon. Evil is an impossibility there, where no human groups exist.

Continue reading “Does Evil Exist?”

What Is Power?

Power is a ubiquitous word, time and again repeated by politicians, journalists, social scientists and people at large. One can lust for power or be a victim of it. In the 19th century ‘great powers,’ or a couple of European polities were known under this moniker, because they had built maritime or continent-wide empires. And in the second half of the 20th century the two ‘superpowers’ played out the Cold War across the entire globe. People or a person can have power, or can be powerless, disempowered.

Continue reading “What Is Power?”

Cyberspace and the Social Reality

It is man and human groups – as producers and shapers of languages and the social reality – that should be at the heart of the study of language. Without humans and their groups, there is no language or social reality. Language is never an agent or actor in matters linguistic, but only its creators and users are, that is, humans and their groups.

Social reality

Continue reading “Cyberspace and the Social Reality”

Can Economics or Linguistics Be Scientific?

Natural sciences are ‘scientific,’ meaning that they delve into the (ontologically objective) material reality, the existence of which is independent of human will. The social sciences can never be scientific in the same sense, because their field of research is the (always ontologically subjective) social reality that is generated by humans and fully dependent on human will. Ergo, economics cannot be a science, because human views and decisions on the exchange of goods change unpredictably, that is, how and when human groups concerned want. In the case of linguistics, this discipline can be scientific at the level of probing into language as the biological capacity for speech. As such it is a product of biological evolution and part of the (ontologically objective) material reality. However, when dealing with Einzelsprachen (or languages, as actualizations of the biological capacity for speech, actualizations produced and maintained by human groups), the linguist cannot hope to achieve scientific exactness or discover scientific in its character laws, because Einzelsprachen are part of the social reality. It is humans and their groups alone who decide on how Einzelsprachen are shaped. As such Einzelsprachen are (ontologically subjective, imagined) actualizations of the (ontologically objective, material, biological) capacity for speech, that is, language.

When Did History Begin?

Traditionally, the emergence of history is connected to the appearance of writing. But such a view is highly biased in favor of literate societies, or in political terms, in favor of the imperialist West that dominated most of the world between the 16th and 20th centuries. Should one really stick to this definition, it would compel one to admit that non-literate indigenous societies had no history in the Americas before the 16th century, in Australia prior to the turn of the 18th century, or across most of sub-Saharan Africa before the 1880s, that is, until European ‘colonizers / civilizers’ arrived there. However, in Europe itself, the vast majority of the population (peasantry, serfs) could not read or write well until the turn of the 20th century. But no one seriously proposes that European history belongs only to the nobility and their descendants.

Altamira Cave

Continue reading “When Did History Begin?”

What is a Unit of History?

The traditional Eurocentric opinion maintains that some human groups have more history than others. Usually, these ‘haves’ are from the West, while the ‘have-nots’ are identified as located in the non-Western areas. In essence, it is just a variation on the topic of the ‘inherent superiority’ of the West and its ‘white’ (‘Aryan,’ or now ‘Caucasian’) race over the rest of humanity. But what is history from the quantitative perspective? The raw material of history is the past, or more exactly the human past. This kind of past is none other but the social reality produced and maintained by humans and their groups through stories about themselves and on relations among one another. The life span of humans being on average the same, and the level of their interaction with others likewise, each person contributes to and participates in the social reality to more or less the same degree. Ergo, on average, each person produces a similar ‘amount’ of the past. Hence, the overall ‘size’ of history in the case of different human groups directly depends on the number of their members. In the more populous parts of the world there is potentially more history than elsewhere.

Does Africa have history?

Continue reading “What is a Unit of History?”