On the Concept of 'human' and the Aporia of Social Sciences

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Abdurrahman GUELBEYAZ , Graduate School of Language and Culture, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan
It is to be ascertained by way of a simple juxtaposition that the set of concepts “human / human being / humanity / humanness”, which forms the very core of modern scientific production in its entirety, belongs to a category that qualitatively differs from all those morphologically, lexically, pragmatically comparable concepts. The concept of “human” does not assign any manageable features, or assessable parameters, to those phenomena subsumed by it.

It belongs to a class of concepts that I provisionally call “hoax”. A concept of this category pretends to indicate a set or subset of conspecific phenomena in that one or more shared accidents are applied as differential features of the construction. The concept “human” is the best and truest of this kind. It is the epitome of “hoax”. Withal, it doubles its uniqueness by appointing itself to both the source and the guarantor of its own legitimacy and virtuousness. To top it all, one of the most significant features of “humanness” and human existence consists in the circumstance that the humanness of the concrete units of human society is determined heteronomously. The simple, but nonetheless devastating, consequence of this briefly described construction and operating principle of the concept “human” is that the whole edifice of modern social science, no matter the path taken, no matter how sublime the respective motive and objective may be, is damned to always end up in a cul-de-sac of some type of biologism.

Parallel to a radical critique of the central conceptual edifice of the modern social sciences, and, within the framework of a theory of ‘modified and extended semiotics’, and a qualitatively different mode of knowledge production developed on the basis of this, my paper offers a radically new line of approach to the texture and the mode of operation of human society.