User:Jon Awbrey/WREADS

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Not Of Necessity Random Readings


They take part in scenes of whose significance they have no inkling. They are merely tangent to curves of history the beginnings and ends and forms of which pass wholly beyond their ken. So we are tangent to the wider life of things. (William James, Pragmatism, p. 300).


A man is walking on a warm day. The sky was clear the last time he observed it; but presently he notes, while occupied primarily with other things, that the air is cooler. It occurs to him that it is probably going to rain; looking up, he sees a dark cloud between him and the sun, and he then quickens his steps. What, if anything, in such a situation can be called thought? Neither the act of walking nor the noting of the cold is a thought. Walking is one direction of activity; looking and noting are other modes of activity. The likelihood that it will rain is, however, something suggested. The pedestrian feels the cold; he thinks of clouds and a coming shower. (John Dewey, How We Think, pp. 6–7).


For the most part, real behavior proceeds at the subconscious or inarticulate conscious level of its subjective meaning. The person behaving in a certain way "feels" this vaguely, rather than being explicitly aware of the source of his behavior. Mostly his behavior is governed by habit or instinct. Only occasionally, and in the uniform behavior of great masses often only in the case of a few individuals, is the subjective meaning of such behavior, be it rational or irrational, raised to the level of true consciousness. Really effective, that is, truly conscious and clearly meaningful behavior, is in reality always a marginal case. (Max Weber, Basic Concepts in Sociology, p. 54).


The term "social relationship" will be used to designate the situation where two or more persons are engaged in conduct wherein each takes account of the behavior of the other in a meaningful way and is therefore oriented in these terms. The social relationship thus consists entirely of the probability that individuals will behave in some meaningfully determinable way. It is completely irrelevant why such a probability exists, but where it does there can be found a social relationship. (Max Weber, Basic Concepts in Sociology, p. 63).

Firsts, Seconds, Thirds

Hobbes's preoccupation with the sources of human irrationality clashes rudely with the "rational actor" approach that many commentators project into his works. Despite a few memorable and citable passages, he does not conceive of man as an economic animal, engaging in preemptive strikes. The pitiful and snarled mess which is the human mind cannot be painted with such a monochrome palette. To help us disentangle the complexities of Hobbes's position, I would suggest, at least provisionally, a tripartite scheme. Human behavior is motored not by self-interest alone, but rather by passions, interests, and norms. (Stephen Holmes, p. xviii).


What I have been talking about is knowledge. Knowledge, perhaps, is not a good word for this. Perhaps one would rather say my Image of the world. Knowledge has an implication of validity, of truth. What I am talking about is what I believe to be true; my subjective knowledge. It is this Image that largely governs my behavior. (Kenneth Boulding, The Image, 5–6).

Sources and Tributaries

  • Argyris, Chris (1992), On Organizational Learning, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, UK.
  • Boulding, Kenneth E. (1956), The Image : Knowledge in Life and Society, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI.
  • Dewey, John (1910), How We Think, D.C. Heath, Lexington, MA, 1910. Reprinted, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY, 1991.
  • Dewey, John (1929), The Quest for Certainty : A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action, Minton, Balch, and Company, New York, NY. Reprinted, pp. 1–254 in John Dewey, The Later Works, 1925–1953, Volume 4 : 1929, Jo Ann Boydston (ed.), Harriet Furst Simon (text. ed.), Stephen Toulmin (intro.), Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL, 1984.
  • Dewey, John (1938), Logic : The Theory of Inquiry, Henry Holt and Company, New York, NY, 1938. Reprinted, pp. 1–527 in John Dewey, The Later Works, 1925–1953, Volume 12 : 1938, Jo Ann Boydston (ed.), Kathleen Poulos (text. ed.), Ernest Nagel (intro.), Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL, 1986.
  • Hobbes, Thomas, Behemoth, or The Long Parliament, Ferdinand Tönnies (ed.), Stephen Holmes (intro.), University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 1990.
  • Holmes, Stephen, "Introduction" to Thomas Hobbes, Behemoth, or The Long Parliament, Ferdinand Tönnies (ed.), Stephen Holmes (intro.), University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 1990.
  • James, William (1907), Pragmatism, A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking, Popular Lectures on Philosophy, Longmans, Green, and Company, New York, NY.
  • Weber, Max (1925/1993), Basic Concepts in Sociology, H.P. Secher (trans.), Citadel Press, New York, NY, 1993. First published as Chapter 1 of Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Economics and Society), J.C.B. Mohr Verlag, Tübingen, Germany, 1925.
  • Weber, Max (1930/1992), The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Talcott Parsons (trans.), Anthony Giddens (intro.), Harper Collins, 1930. Reprinted, Routledge, London, UK, 1992. First published in the Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, 1904–1905. Translated from the revised version in Weber's Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Religionssoziologie (Collected Essays on the Sociology of Religion), 1920–1921.