By Paul Kockelman
This publication bargains either a naturalistic and significant concept of symptoms, minds, and meaning-in-the-world. It presents a reconstructive instead of deconstructive conception of the person, one that either analytically separates and theoretically synthesizes more than a few colleges which are frequently stressed and conflated: corporation (understood as a causal capacity), subjectivity (understood as a representational capacity), selfhood (understood as a reflexive capacity), and personhood (understood as a sociopolitical means attendant on being an agent, topic, or self). It argues that those amenities are most sensible understood from a semiotic stance that supersedes the standard intentional stance. And, in so doing, it bargains a pragmatism-grounded method of which means and mediation that's normal adequate to account for methods which are as embodied and embedded as they're articulated and enminded. specifically, whereas this conception is concentrated on human-specific modes of that means, it additionally deals a common conception of that means, such that the brokers, matters and selves in query needn't consistently, or maybe frequently, map onto people. And whereas this conception foregrounds brokers, individuals, matters and selves, it does this by way of theorizing procedures that regularly stay within the heritage of such (often erroneously) individuated figures: ontologies (akin to tradition, yet generalized throughout agentive collectivities), interplay (not purely among humans, but additionally among humans and issues, and whatever open air or in-between), and infrastructure (akin to context, yet generalized to incorporate mediation at any measure of remove).
Paul Kockelman, affiliate Professor of Anthropology, Barnard collage and Columbia collage.
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Additional resources for Agent, Person, Subject, Self: A Theory of Ontology, Interaction, and Infrastructure
The economist Veblen, himself a student of Peirce, merged both of these visions (1971 ), theorizing the relation between seemingly nonpecuniary values (such as social status) and seemingly noncommunicative signs (such as indices of effort). Inspired by Darwin’s account of sexual selection (1981 ) and the expression of emotions in man and animals (1965 ), and providing the basic template for many influential theories (such as Bourdieu’s [1984 account of distinction and Labov’s  account of hypercorrection), his vision of pecuniary emulation was an attempt to explain the selection (and sieving) of social processes over historical time by relatively unintentional pathways.
And suppose S2 (= I1) is the sound of that call, I2 is fleeing from the context of that call, and O2 is just O1 as stood for by a different sign. Indeed, just as O1 and O2 are essentially instances of the same object (or two relatively overlapping objects) as stood for by different signs (the latter indexically “inherits” its meaning from the former), A1 and A2 are really instances of the same agent as instantiated in different individuals. Genetically speaking, they are both parts of a single unit of accountability (a concept we will come back to).
For example, to know who “I” refers to may require that we know who is speaking, qua context (Jakobson 1990), and to know who “he” refers to may require that we know who was previously spoken about, qua co-occurring text (Halliday and Hasan 1976). And there is creation: Certain signs, as effects, make sense only relative to other signs, as causes. For example, Mead (1934) and Goffman (1981a) were hyper-sensitive to the ways in which the meaning of an utterance may make sense only in the context of its roots (for example, the utterance it is in response to) and fruits (for example, the utterance that will respond to it).