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The Social World of the Imagination: A Timeline

This Prezi is part of a class project at UC Davis in the Department of Sociology (Prof. David Kyle).

David Kyle

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Transcript of The Social World of the Imagination: A Timeline

SOC 195, UC Davis
Summer 2012
Prof. David Kyle

The Social World of the Imagination:
A Timeline from Plato to C. Wright Mills*
Ancient Writers
C. Wright Mills
“Hope is a waking dream.”- Aristole
August 28, 1916- March 20, 1962
Medieval Writers
Vis Imaginativa
Modern Writers
Main Ideas
Imagination Displaced
We don’t need to differentiate between sense perception and image because they occur within us.

We don’t need to differentiate between images and ideas because all representations of our sense are equally perceptual.

The primary source of knowledge (sensation) and the secondary source of knowledge (reflection) both represent themselves to us as ideas.

Contemplation is the continual maintenance of ideas brought into the mind.

Memory is the ability to revive ideas in the mind with the perception that the mind has had it before. Before ideas are revived they are only a potential of the mind and are nowhere. He does suppose that all ideas leave an image/impression to be revived.
Space and time is purely relational – how different beings coexist physically and temporally.

No real place for the imagination. Because Leibniz believes the mind and body exist in distinct realms, he leaves little room for “an internal spatial medium” such as the imagination.
He doesn’t displace/ignore the imagination like the previous three thinkers but his emphasis on its active nature disregards its unconscious/passive depths.

Saw the imagination as an active capacity that was linked to the creative will.

Impressions and images are inert and powerless to interact, but in our active imagination.
Other than this he largely excludes the imagination.
1711- 1776
Hegel’s ideas concerning the imagination and memory are important because he saw mental processes building on each other instead of being their own independent processes (Brann 1993 pp.103).
20th Century Ideas
“The term was explicitly adopted as a
self-description by Jean-Paul Sartre
, and through the wide dissemination of the postwar literary and philosophical output of Sartre and his associates—notably Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Albert Camus—existentialism became identified with a cultural movement that flourished in Europe in the 1940s and 1950s. Among the major philosophers identified as existentialists (many of whom—for instance Camus and Heidegger—repudiated the label) were Karl Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, and Martin Buber in Germany, Jean Wahl and Gabriel Marcel in France, the Spaniards José Ortega y Gasset and Miguel de Unamuno, and the Russians Nikolai Berdyaev and Lev Shestov. The nineteenth century philosophers, Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, came to be seen as precursors of the movement” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existentialism/).
"The meaning of conceptions is to be sought in their practical bearings, that the function of thought is to guide action, and that truth is preeminently to be tested by the practical consequences of belief"
Analytic Philosophy:
A style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century. It is a broad philosophical tradition characterized by an emphasis on clarity and argument (often achieved via modern formal logic and analysis of language) and a respect for the natural sciences. (Wikipedia)
“ Plato does also have something to say about phantasia, the term that in Greek texts was soon to mean imagination in the usual sense. It is cognate with “phenomenon” and therefore means “something having to do with appearance,” sometimes even appearance itself. In the Platonic context it might most accurately, if awkwardly, be rendered as “the capacity of being appeared to” (Lycos 19640).
“The point of interest is that for Plato perception works from the inside out, for appearance arises only when sensation is judged by thought” (Brann, 40.)
“It would not be too far off to say that Platonic phantasia turns sensation in to perception by means of rational affirmation” (Brann, 40.)
Main Ideas:
He was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues and the founder of the Academy in Athens (first institution of higher learning in the Western world). He has influenced educated readers and thinkers of nearly every period by raising profound questions and tackling them so richly suggestive. Plato invented the rigorous and systematic examination of ethical, political, metaphysical, and epistemological issues, armed with distinctive method that has made up the subject of philosophy. ( Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) [first published March 20, 2004; revision August 16, 2011]
Historical Significance:
“How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in a waking state?” -Plato
Plato was a student of Socrates . Aristotle studied under Plato.
From Brann: “Aristotle is at pains to show that phantasia is not independent power. It is rather an activity of sensation, a psychic process. The process is nonetheless indispensable to cognition, since its function is to present to the intellect that interpreted sensation without which there is no thought. Aristotle’s theory of the imagination is a prize example of what I have called the “missing mystery.” Furthermore, it must be said that Aristotle uses the phrase “ I have a phantasia” just as we use “I imagine”- that is to say, with a wide range of casual meanings such as “it appears to me” and “I have the impression.” (Brann, 40.)
427-347 BC
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher that lived from 384 BC to 322 BC. He studied and wrote about many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology and zoology. But he probably most well known as being a founding figure in Western philosophy. Aristotle was the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing morality, aesthetics, logic, science, politics, and metaphysics. (Wikipedia)
384-322 BC
Alexander the Great, who was a King of Macedon, a state in northern ancient Greece. was taught by Aristotle until the age
of 16. By the age of thirty, he
had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from the Lonian Sea
to the Himalayas. He was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history’s most successful commanders. (Wikipedia)
Aristotle's Students
“Aristotle’s energetic distancing of his notion of phantasia from Plato’s is an index and a consequence of their deepest differences. For Plato the appearances delivered by sensation are themselves image-like and constitutionally deceptive, so that their very apprehension requires judgment. For Aristotle, in contrast, sensation is activated by a world of the individual, physical substances which require some function that will properly present them to the intellect.” (Brann, 41.)
Differing views...
appearance or impression
Important Ideas
Phantasia is considered as an element in truthful thinking. The Stoics are preoccupied with the “criterion of truth,” that is, with the ways of obtaining the certainty of having it. If the phantasia is a “criterion” or standard of truth, it cannot well be a faculty. It is rather an occurrence, an affection of the “ruling” or rational part of the soul. To have a phantasia is to have in the soul something belonging to the object. In the Stoic context the word is often translated as “presentation.” Phantasia is the presence of the object as an internal appearance, it’s showing up in the soul.
Stoicism was one of the new philosophical movements of the Hellenistic period. The name derives from the porch in the Agora at Athens decorated with mural paintings, where the members of the school congregated, and their lectures were held. Unlike ‘epicurean,’ the sense of the English adjective ‘stoical’ is not utterly misleading with regard to its philosophical origins. The Stoics did, in fact, hold that emotions like fear or envy (or impassioned sexual attachments, or passionate love of anything whatsoever) either were, or arose from, false judgments and that the sage—a person who had attained moral and intellectual perfection—would not undergo them. The later Stoics of Roman Imperial times, Seneca and Epictetus, emphasize the doctrines (already central to the early Stoics' teachings) that the sage is utterly immune to misfortune and that virtue is sufficient for happiness. Our phrase ‘stoic calm’ perhaps encapsulates the general drift of these claims. It does not, however, hint at the even more radical ethical views which the Stoics defended, e.g. that only the sage is free while all others are slaves, or that all those who are morally vicious are equally so. Though it seems clear that some Stoics took a kind of perverse joy in advocating views, which seem so at odds with common sense, they did not do so simply to shock. Stoic ethics achieves certain plausibility within the context of their physical theory and psychology, and within the framework of Greek ethical theory as that was handed down to them from Plato and Aristotle. It seems that they were well aware of the mutually interdependent nature of their philosophical views, likening philosophy itself to a living animal in which logic is bones and sinews; ethics and physics, the flesh and the soul respectively (another version reverses this assignment, making ethics the soul). Their views in logic and physics are no less distinctive and interesting than those in ethics itself. (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/stoicism/)
The sociological imagination: the ability to use biography history and social structure.
Sociological Imagination
Sociology is still heavily influenced by Mills' sociological imagination. Often times it is the first article sociology students read and it happens to be the foundation of the sociological field.
Here is Zeno of Citium, the first head of the school of stoics. He has a statue raised to him in Athens.
He lived from 334 BC - 262BC.
Here is a picture of 'logos" in greek writing. In stoic philosophy, the "logos" was the active reason pervading and animating the universe. It was conceived of as material, and is usually identified with God or Nature. This was very important to the Stoics.
Thomas Aquinas argued that the imagination is a “phantasia” for combining divided imaginary forms, which is in play when, for instance, a golden mountain is imagined, is found only in humans and might as well be assigned to the imagination itself." The intellect cannot understand without phantasms. Aquinas said that we need images in order to know because we are human beings that are comprised of our body and soul. Thomas thinks human beings are bound to enter the world, which is for him the sole source for the images of the imagination. They must become worldly because to know anything at all they must always turn toward an image.
"Cogito ergo sum"
"I think, therefore I am"
“Mind, the thinking substance, and extension, it's antithesis, between them define the nature and function of the imagination." “The imagination is ordained as the guarantor of the extension/ space/body identity.” The imagination is itself a “corporeal organ”, the pineal gland corporeal imagination is to be viewed as a genuine part of the body. “Images imprinted on imagination-organ are ‘corporeal ideas. Organ can receive imprints from the inside, their mind, Descartes likes to call “factitious”
can receive external impressions from the outside, called adventitious figures of imagination, whether internal or external, is some sort of corporeal configuration. Mind interface between mind and corporeal world: “The mind is able to view with intuitive evidence not only itself but also those ideas clearly re-presented in the imagination.”
The imagination only deals with one extended thing.
Historical Significance
French philosopher, mathematician and writer.

“Father of Modern Philosophy”

Father of analytic geometry.

Analytic geometry crucial to finding of infinitesimal calculus and analysis.

Cartesian coordinate system: algebraic equations expressed as geometric shapes- named after him.

A key figure in Scientific Revolution.

Early modern period where mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed views of society and nature (wikipedia).
"Meditations on First Philosophy" is still used in many university Philosophy classes today.
Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia
Thomas Aquinas was an Italian Dominican Priest of the Roman Catholic Church. He was an influential philosopher and theologian of scholasticism. He came from a family that was amongst the noblest in the Kingdom of Naples. Aquinas is the father of Thomism, a philosophical school created by him. Aquinas was greatly influenced by Aristotle, and shifted scholasticism from neoplatonism views to Aristotle. Thomism is also greatly influenced by Catholicism. He is also known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis or Doctor Universalis.
Elizabeth Anscombe in her book "Intention" mentions Thomas's theory of principle of double effect and theory of intentional activity have been influential, along with other twentieth century philosophers.
Walter Freeman written article "Nonlinear Brain Dynamics and Intention According to Acquinas" used Thomism philosophical system explaining cognition that it is most compatible with neurodynamics.
James Joyce was also influenced by Thomas.
Media Coverage
Richard Knapwell, William Macclesfeld, Gile of Lessines, John of Quidort, Bernard of Auvergne, Thomas of Sutton defended Aquinas’s work.
Those who criticized Thomas Aquinas were John Peckham and Bonaventure, William de la Mare, Henry of Ghent, Giles of Rome and Jon Duns Scotus
Those who followed Descartes:
Those who contradicted
Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley,
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Hume.
The imagination plays small role for these thinkers because they present cognitive processes that require no mediating power.
Strong proponent of empiricism. Empiricist political philosophers had profound impact on the philosophies underpinning the American Revolution.
is just a capacity for combining/associating thoughts derived from our physical sense perceptions.
....on the imagination:
(Brann 1993 pp.78-79)
Human sensation is what the sense organs gather from external stimuli and transmit to the brain.
Our brain interprets this input as images, which are solely the consequence of our interactions with the matter/physical world.
Imagination is just “decaying sense” – what our mind retains of sensory perceptions
after the actual sensing is over.

When sense is very deteriorated it is a memory, and a lot of memory is experience.
Imagination Brann: Mirandola: “ It is a power that follows upon sensation and precedes intellection, a motion, and a force related to all the other powers. It's source is present sensation, though it produces images even of things ‘that cannot be brought to light by nature’’. . . “visible pictures of the imagination must be seen in the interpretive light of the believing intellect if they are not to be more seductive illusion” (Brann p. 65)
Mirandola was an Italian Renaissance philosopher. He is most famous for the event of 1486, where he proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy and magic. He also wrote the Oration on the Dignity of Man, which became known as the Manifesto of the Renaissance and a key text to Renaissance humanism called “Hermetic Reformation” cite: http://didattica.spbo.unibo.it/pais/bori/articolo010.html
Media:Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Giovanni Pico della Mirandola". Catholic Encyclopedia
Empiricism is at odds with Cartesian and Aristotelian views
24 February 1463 – 17 November 1494
Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz, & Berkeley
For Hume, the mind isn’t simply a host that awakens images. In contrast with these thinkers (especially Berkeley) he ascribes a motive power to images themselves.

Locke saw images merely as ideas, each with the same degree of impression on the mind. Hume saw all ideas as possible images on the mind, capable of leaving different impressions, and thus making some ideas more revivable or apt for memory.

Kant believes the imagination to be both a passive and active faculty.
1541 – November 16, 1603
Imagination Brann: Charron: “Faculty of imagination described as capable of presenting to mind and thought images so strong and lively that it ‘does the very same to the understanding now which the object itself did, by the first and freshest impression heretofore’” “Imagination itself is not a faculty, it's only one of several methods by which the same mind moves and exerts itself...all intimations, enthusiasms, and fancies people experience, as well as the apparitions and demons they see, are due to their own imagination...fixed faculty of imagination is fluid... and a method of the mind and a mode of operation” (Brann p. 65-66).
Charron was a French 16th Century Catholic theologian, philosopher, and disciple of Michel Montaigne. Charron’s first published works were anonymous, then under the surname Benoit Vaillant, an advocate of the Holy Faith. Charron is considered a founder of modern secularism. He is most famous for his published work De la sagesse, which was a popular system of moral philosophy. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03633b.htm
Bacon was influenced by Charron.
Jesuit Francois Garasse opposed many of Charron's views.
“The Humean
is studied in 3 stages. First, the exposition of it implicit universality; then the explicit Humean description of the power; finally the delineation of the more restricted faculty of metaphysical and poetic fictions” (Brann 1993 pp.82)
“…for Hume the mind’s sole function is the imagination…’modification’"(Brann 1993 pp.83)
Major ideologies on the imagination
January 22, 1561- April 9, 1626
Brann: “Faculty specifically devoted to poetry”
Bacon argued that the “imagination plays the role of messenger from sensation to understanding as well as from reason to appetite...“sensation refers it's deliverances to the imagination before reason judges, and reason refers it's judgments to imagination before action takes place” (Brann p. 66-67).
Bacon was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist and author. He was a philosophical advocate and practitioner of scientific method during the scientific revolution. He was the creator of Empiricism. He is the inventor of the scientific method, also known as the Baconian method. He was an Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. He died by contracting pneumonia while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat. He created Baron Verulam (1618) and Viscount St. Alban (1621). He is also known as the father of Experimental Science. cite: http://www.iep.utm.edu/bacon/
Sir Thomas Browne was greatly influenced by Bacon. Spinoza and Hegel opposed Bacon's ideas.

“Impressions appear when people are looking through open eyes”

(Brann 1993 pp.83) Impressions have no originals they root back to the first sensory encounter.
Ideas are representations of visual (or sensory) impressions that are made when the eyes are shut” (Brann 1993 pp.83) They resemble images taken by the mind as originals.

Perceptions have these two apparently inconsistent characteristics:
Being particulars having quantity and quality as truly sensory
No reference to externally existing objects as purely intra-mental
(Brann 1993 pp.84)
Hume’s Theory of Imagination BY: Gerhard Streminger
Further Reading....
More information regarding Hume and his life’s work
Hume pulls some ideologies from the modern Stoics and the ancients, specifically to the Stoics phantasia, Locke and Plato. Kant looked up to
He had conflicting ideas with Descartes.
as a transcendental faculty; it participates in creating experience by projecting thinking into the field of sensation (the physical world) deep below our consciousness.
Laid foundation (with concepts of space and time being a priori for all knowledge and thought) for classical physics, i.e. Newtonian laws.
The transcendental imagination: totally responsible for knowledge, “a meeting ground for the understanding and the sensibility”
Cognitive products – science, knowledge etc. – are grounded in the imagination.
Understanding is the faculty of thinking concerned with experience. Its finite number of ways are “a priori” = from the very first – meaning that it precedes all experience and makes experience possible. It is our ability to synthesize information and things presented to us that make articulated knowledge possible. Things don’t necessarily present themselves to us as they are in themselves. Sensations are merely indeterminate material for cognition. The true form of external objects cannot be known through sensation. Thought can bring us only known to the subject. Thoughts produce only knowledge of the internal self. The sensations of the intuition are appearances.

Space and time are a-priori. We can’t represent our selves to objects without those objects being in space and time. Our sensibility receives matter intuitively through presentation of “pure time” and “pure space.”
Intuition consists of two “senses”
Outer sense: space = all that is outside of all other objects
Inner sense: time = consciousness (the form in which our inner condition appears to us
Time can only appear through space. In order to be conscious of self, one must be conscious of things in space.
Space is the priority for consciousness. Time is the priority for experience.

Sensibility and understanding are opposed powers – it is the transcendental power of the imagination that enables them to interpenetrate each other.The imagination allows us judge our sensations as concepts – it enables the faculty of judgment. The outside world of objects is only knowable when thought grasps sense.

Imagination is both passive and active:
It is passive because it belongs to the sensibility, or where objects are presented to us.
It is active because it presents to us objects that are not sensorily given. It is thus spontaneous, or on its own. This is the productive imagination. It can represent real objects in the absence of real sensation.

Thus, it is the ideal mechanism to connect sensibility and thinking.
The imagination is located beneath the three cognitive powers of sensibility, understanding and reason as their common root.
Kant's main ideas regarding the imagination:
Hegel based his dialectical method on elements of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.
"Immanuel Kant: still relevant after all these years"
(UCLA article on Kant, 2003)
Hume claimed the imagination as a purely representation faculty of impressions. Kant’s imagination is a far more dynamic and pluralistic capacity.
“He is perhaps most well-known for his teleological account of history” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hegel/)
This journal article claims that Hegel is still relevant: http://cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal/article/view/66/132
Marx used Hegel’s ideas to create his own views. Students from the Frankfurt School and the Budapest School had their ideas influenced by Hegel. Dieter Henrich and Klaus Hartmann interpreted Hegel and made his ideas popular again in the late 1900s (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hegel/).
Hegel contradicted Schelling first, but then Schelling contradicted Hegel when he was made the Philosophy Chair at the University of Berlin. Kierkegaard was a student of Schelling and also critiqued Hegel. Schelling’s critiques influenced how people thought of Hegel for years afterward. Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore claimed that Hegel’s ideas were invalid because they were based on Aristotle’s ideas and Aristotle’s ideas were no longer accepted (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hegel/).
Hegel is also connected to Kant, Plato, and Aristotle. (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hegel/)
"Before Kant, philosophers had relegated the imagination to the “lower faculties,” along with feelings and sensations. But Kant insisted that imagination functions hand in hand with the “higher” rational and intuitive faculties of the mind. What’s more, he argued, imagination helps shape all perception as well as the capacity to contemplate what lies beyond perception.

Because Kant exalted the imagination, he grounded his aesthetics in reason. He saw the beautiful as that which satisfies the rational sense of harmony, order and proportion. In contrast to the beautiful, he proposed the idea of the sublime — the third of his concepts to which I routinely pay homage. Sublimity, in Kant’s terms, is inherently boundless and characterized by the intrusion of two alternating emotional factors: an inhibition and an overflowing. To experience the sublime, said Kant, is to confront a grandeur so vast or powerful that the imagination is jolted, leaving the viewer consciously frail and incapacitated. This is followed by an awareness of not only perceiving but also participating imaginatively in sublimity’s grandeur."
*Inspired by: Brann, Eva. 1991. "The World of the Imagination: Sum and Substance," (Rowman and Littlefield).
In a world flooded with powerful images and words "capturing our imaginations" -- and with such high stakes about how we imagine the future -- we urgently need to better understand the biological and social bases of the imagination.

When sociologist C. Wright Mills advocated a "sociological imagination," he contributed to a millennial debate about how we use our imaginative capacities to live in an emotional social reality continually structured through memory and future projections beyond our immediate senses.

This Prezi timeline serves as a primer on historical debates about the imagination, whether privileging atomistic individuals or a collective, social understanding of this uniquely human ability.
How do you imagine the imagination?

How does anyone do it?

Does it matter (literally)?
Where would art or science be without the imagination?
This term means the imaginative power especially in the use of faculty psychology. "it seeks to distinguish and enumerate the powers of the soul and to locate them physically in the cells or ventricles of the brain (Brann, 57).
According to the thinkers the imagination is located in two cells and has several functions. It is placed in the front of the head, along with common sense, as the power for retaining absent sensibles, and it occurs in the middle, where it performs two different functions related to the will.
William James
"For William James, pragmatism was personal and pluralistic. His attention to the affective elements of experience, such as feelings of volition, intention, and personal identity, mark the breaking point from Peirce's version of pragmatism. James was always more the psychologist, Peirce the logician and mathematician. Author of numerous influential books and essays, James's popularizing of pragmatism gained both him and the movement great notoriety" (http://science.jrank.org/pages/10826/Pragmatism-William-James.html).
"It does not follow that it is meaningless to talk of beliefs being true or untrue. It only means that there is no noncircular set of criteria for knowing whether a particular belief is true, no appeal to some standard outside the process of coming to the belief itself. For thinking just is a circular process, in which some end, some imagined out-come, is already present at the start of any train of thought. "Truth happens to an idea," James said in the lectures he published in 1907 as 'Pragmatism'. "It becomes true, is made true by events. Its verity is in fact an event, a process: the process namely of its verifying itself." And, elsewhere in the same lectures: " 'the true' is only the expedient in the way of our thinking, just as 'the right' is only the expedient in the way of our behaving." Thinking is a free-form and boundless activity that nevertheless leads us to outcomes we feel justified in calling true, or just, or moral" (Menand. Ch.13 p.353)
"It does not follow that it is meaningless to talk of beliefs being true or untrue. It only means that there is no noncircular set of criteria for knowing whether a particular belief is true, no appeal to some standard outside the process of coming to the belief itself. For thinking just is a circular process, in which some end, some imagined out-come, is already present at the start of any train of thought. "Truth happens to an idea," James said in the lectures he published in 1907 as 'Pragmatism'. "It becomes true, is made true by events. Its verity is in fact an event, a process: the process namely of its verifying itself." And, elsewhere in the same lectures: " 'the true' is only the expedient in the way of our thinking, just as 'the right' is only the expedient in the way of our behaving." Thinking is a free-form and boundless activity that nevertheless leads us to outcomes we feel justified in calling true, or just, or moral" (Menand. Ch.13 p.353)
"It does not follow that it is meaningless to talk of beliefs being true or untrue. It only means that there is no noncircular set of criteria for knowing whether a particular belief is true, no appeal to some standard outside the process of coming to the belief itself. For thinking just is a circular process, in which some end, some imagined out-come, is already present at the start of any train of thought. "Truth happens to an idea," James said in the lectures he published in 1907 as 'Pragmatism'. "It becomes true, is made true by events. Its verity is in fact an event, a process: the process namely of its verifying itself." And, elsewhere in the same lectures: " 'the true' is only the expedient in the way of our thinking, just as 'the right' is only the expedient in the way of our behaving." Thinking is a free-form and boundless activity that nevertheless leads us to outcomes we feel justified in calling true, or just, or moral" (Menand. Ch.13 p.353)
James hints at his religious concerns in his earliest essays and in The Principles, but they become more explicit in The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy (1897), Human Immortality: Two Supposed Objections to the Doctrine (1898), The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) and A Pluralistic Universe (1909). James oscillated between thinking that a “study in human nature” such as Varieties could contribute to a “Science of Religion” and the belief that religious experience involves an altogether supernatural domain, somehow inaccessible to science but accessible to the individual human subject.
For your viewing pleasure click the following link:
John Dewey (1859-1952) was an American philosopher, associated with pragmatism. Over a long working life, Dewey was influential not only in philosophy, but as an educational thinker and political commentator and activist. (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dewey-political/)
"He was one of the three major figures in American pragmatism, along with Charles Sanders Peirce, who invented the term, and William James, who popularized it" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dewey).
"Dewey's pragmatism was a consequence of the success of the Laboratory School. The school established for him the validity of his hypothesis that thinking and acting are just two names for a single process-the process of making our way as best we can in a universe shot through with contingency . . .. Philosophers, Dewey argued, had mistakenly insisted on making a problem of the relation between the mind and world, an obsession that had given rise to what he called "the alleged discipline of epistemology"-the attempt to answer the question, How do we know? The pragmatist response to this question is to point out that nobody has ever made a problem about the relation between, for example, the hand and the world . . .. Dewey thought that ideas and beliefs are the same as hands; instruments for coping. An idea has no greater metaphysical stature than, say, a fork" (Menand Ch.13 p.360-361).
Fictional ideas (like mythical creatures) are simply “compounds of the imagination,”
or layers of memory from things sensed in the physical world but of which we retain
only faded images.

Only thought exists. Imagination is only thought itself. What we see as the
imagination – trains of thought, daydreams, and fantasies are only successions of
Our thoughts may seem to “wander” but really they are all linked by:
• Unconscious, random associations that we have within us OR
• Desire
When these thoughts are verbalized through speech, that is human understanding.
Reason is only the process of deciding/changing how we signify our thoughts.
Like Hobbes and Locke, he links sensation and imagination.

Clarity and distinction characterize objects of the imagination, NOT spatial qualities –as in those of the external world.
Charles Sanders Peirce: The Denial of Mental Images
There are no mental images. This is because images are singular, which means they are determinant of inferences. Every sort of modification of consciousness is an inference. Since preceding ones logically determine
every cognition, we have no power of introspection, no power of immediate intuition, and no power of originating cognitions. What we really have is a consciousness and what we have taken for a picture, or an image, was really a construction by the understanding from attenuated data (from what we observe from the real data). Furthermore, not even actual perception
involves images because it is only an impression of general features, not an agglomeration of infinite detail.
Peirce was the founder of American pragmatism, a theorist
of logic, language, communication, and the general theory of signs, an extraordinary prolific mathematical logician and general mathematician, and a development of an evolutionary, psycho-physically monistic metaphysical
system. A practicing chemist and geodesist by profession, he nevertheless considered scientific philosophy, and especially logic, to be his vocation. In the course of polymathic researches, he wrote voluminously on an exceedingly wide range of topics, ranging from mathematics, mathematical
logic, physics, geodesy, spectroscopy, and astronomy, on the one hand, to psychology, anthropology, history, and economics, on the other. (http://
This clip of Jim and Pam from The Office is a good example of “No Mental Images” because vision does not involve seeing pictures.
Wilhelm Dilthey was a German philosopher. He is best known for the
way he distinguished between the natural and human sciences. Whereas the primary task of the natural sciences is to arrive at law-based explanations, the core task of human sciences is the understanding of human and historical life. Dilthey’s aim was to expand Kant’s primarily cognitive Critique of Pure Reasons into a Critique of Historical Reason that can do justice to the full scope of lived experience. Understanding the meaning of history requires both an inner articulation of the temporal structures of our own experience and the interpretation of the external objectification of others. Dilthey’s reflections on history and hermeneutics influenced thinkers in the twentieth century, especially Ortega, Heidegger, Gadamer, and Ricoeur. (http://
Dilthey’s objective and subjective experiences are still relevant today, especially in acting.
Here is a clip of Robert DeNiro being “objective”:
Here is a clip about introspection
explaining what it means to be “subjective” and discussing the imagination of
who we want to be:
Analytic Philosophy and Philosophy of Mind
Modern Sociology
How have Mead, Cooley, and Goffman influenced Mills?
“study of that which appears”

Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the

first-person point of view
. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object. An experience is directed toward an object by virtue of its content or meaning (which represents the object) together with appropriate enabling conditions. . . . Phenomenology has been practiced in various guises for centuries, but it came into its own in the early 20th century in the works of
, Heidegger,
, Merleau-Ponty and others.
Relevance today
Phenomenological issues of intentionality, consciousness, qualia, and first-person perspective have been prominent in recent philosophy of mind” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/).
Example of phenomenological thought. How do you know you or anything else exists?
: “some of the terms used, such as “computing center,” are interchangeable with human related terms, such as “brain.” I appreciate how this film puts a satirical twist on the existential crisis-inducing aspect of questioning reality.
The bomb conversation brings up the
issue of objective reality
. The world as you see it could only exist inside your mind. Linking together experiences, people, and places does not provide any evidence for an objective reality”
“What makes this current of inquiry distinct is not its concern with ‘existence’ in general, but rather its claim that thinking about human existence requires new categories not found in the conceptual repertoire of ancient or modern thought; human beings can be understood neither as substances with fixed properties, nor as subjects interacting with a world of objects” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existentialism/).
Existentialism in popular media:
“By the mid 1970s the cultural image of existentialism had become a cliché, parodized in countless books and films by Woody Allen” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existentialism/).
Because existentialism is often parodied “It is sometimes suggested, therefore, that existentialism just is this bygone cultural movement rather than an identifiable philosophical position; or, alternatively, that the term should be restricted to Sartre's philosophy alone”.
But existentialism does impact philosophical inquiry and influences fields
such as theology (through Rudolf Bultmann, Paul Tillich, Karl Barth, and others) and psychology (from Ludwig Binswanger and Medard Boss to Otto Rank, R. D. Laing, and Viktor Frankl)” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existentialism/).
"Summery: Baby is unauthentic existentialism. doesnt realize the choices, adult isn't either if choices and values are set and done for him. only through insight and self reflection can u set your own values and accept the concequences of your choices and any responsibility that comes with them".
Short Film by Daniel Gonzales
Phineas and Ferb - Existentialist Trading Cards
Cognitive and Existential Therapy
Prof. Mick Cooper from the University of Strathclyde speaks to The Counselling Channel's Niall O'Loingsigh about his existential approach to counselling.
Sartre's Transcendence of the Ego
More at: http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com
"Existence precedes essence"
Jean Paul Sartre
“first major philosophical writer in its long history to devote a whole book. . .to the subject” (Brann p.131).
In "Imagination: A Psychological Critique" (1936), Sartre argues that mental images are the same as perception and that images are not object-like in being. "As Sartre puts it, they [previous philosophers] confuse the identity of the essence of the image and its object with the identity of their existence" (Brann p.131).
Sartre states that there is no creator and that people are fully responsible for their actions.
"We are left alone, without excuse" -Sartre
“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does” -Sartre
Sartre’s existentialism in doodles
Historical significance:
“He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism, and one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy and Marxism. His work has also influenced sociology, critical theory, post-colonial theory, and literary studies, and continues to influence these disciplines” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Paul_Sartre).
Albert Camus and Friedrich Nietzsche are related to Sartre through existentialism.

Husserl and Sartre are connected in their critiques of each other and through phenomenology and existentialism.
Founder of philosophical phenomenology movement in the 20th century.
“devotion to the theoretical search for essence. . .” (Brann p.131).
“advocate or rational cognition-Phenomenology is the ‘self-reflection’ specifically of cognitive life-in his method he in fact gives imagining a central place”
(Brann p.122).
Husserl argues, “against mental images as constituting the meanings of expressions and against mental images as objects” (Brann p.122). Brann states that Husserl discusses “the imagination as a kind of consciousness that is distinguished from perception by a ‘neutrality modification,’ in which objects are made to be present. . . in consciousness without being. . .asserted as real existents” (Brann p.122).
There is a difference, “between memory and imagination with respect to their temporality. Yet in one way of speaking memory is identified with ‘fancy,’ [because] it is always apparitional, intuitively full and present” (Brann p.122).
According to Brann, “What Husserl has left unsaid is what imagination might be in its own right, for he understands it strictly relatively, as a modification of perceptual consciousness” (Brann p.128).
“Memory images. . . are in Husserl’s analysis only perceptions affected with a time-modification” (Brann p.129).
“after the phenomenological bracketing of existence, how will one tell the perceptual from the imgage. . .” (Brann p.129).

“Kuspit faults Husserl for failing to appreciate the power of the inventive imagination when he considers it only as a modification of perceptions” (Brann p.130).
Philosophy of Mind:
is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. the mind-body problem, i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as one key issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body such as how is consciousness possible. (Wikipedia)
Explanation: This implies that aspect-seeing is a visual experience in the sense that a change is noticed perceptually, from one state to another.
as aspect-seeing, which is the experiences seen and providing a criterion for distinguishing between two kinds of perceptual awareness. When one sees a picture, they then report what they see using a non-temporal formulation. For example, one would say ‘It is a face’, ‘I see a face’, this implies seeing is an unchanging perceptual state rather than a visual experience. In contrast, a change of aspects is signalled by a temporal formulation of the report. For example, ‘ Now it is a duck, now I am seeing a rabbit, now it is a duck again’ (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations op. cit., p. 194-195)
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)
was an Austrian-British philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was a professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947. In 1999, his posthumously published Philosophical Investigations was ranked as the most important book of the 20th-century philosophy, by the Baruch Poll. It was said to be “ the one crossover masterpiece in the twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations.” Other philosophers such as Bertrand Russell described him as “the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived, passionate, profound, intense and dominating.” (Wikipedia)
The French Neoromantics were focused on making the imagination important as opposed to the English who were focused on intellect. Neoromanticism focused on Gaston Bachelard and his ideas, termed “bacheldardism” (Brann 180).
Gaston Bachelard
Bachelard thought that the imaginary world was superior to the real world. He thought that the imagination “deformed” what the senses received and changed the images. He felt that imagination gave us the real reality instead of our perceptions (Brann 181).
Bachelard “opposes self to reality, poetry to science, and, above all, imagination to reason, with imagination, of course, triumphant.” He was significant for the “…pitting of concept against image…” (Brann 182).

Bachelard’s ideas influenced Thomas Kuhn’s idea of paradigm shifts in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Kuhn, T. (1996). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
In his study Lefebve described his perception of dreams, appearances, and images. A large landscape could be frozen, broken down, and seen in its individual parts. The viewer can then use these familiar individual parts to understand the larger landscape. These parts can then be put back together into a new “surreality” for the viewer. (Brann 184)
He is
for his idea of the
“mysterious empire”
and the
“fascinating image”
. The “mysterious empire” is created by “fascinating images”. Images can be anything that naturally occur or “appearances that may suddenly seem imagelike.” Images were “fascinating” when they appeared to show a new reality by “suddenly cast[ing] doubt on the reality of the visible object…” According to Lefebve, this process gives the viewer a new reality, what he calls a “surreality”. His study said, “The universe is an appearance corrected by a transparency.” (Brann 184).
George Herbert Mead
B a c o n
Mead presents the self as the mind in terms of a social process: as gestures are taken in by the individual organism, the individual organism also takes in the collective attitudes of others, in the form of gestures, and reacts accordingly with other organized attitudes. -The “Me” is the social self and the “I” is the response to the “Me”. -The “I” is the response of an individual to the attitudes of others, while the “me” is the organized set of attitudes of others that an individual assumes. -The “me” is the accumulated understanding of “the generalized other” i.e. how one think one’s group perceives oneself. -The “I” is the self as subject and the “me” is self as object.-The “I” is the knower, and the “me” is the known. -The thinking process is the internalized dialogue between the “I” and the “me”.
American philosopher and social theorist, often classed with William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, and John Dewey as
one of the most significant figures in classical American pragmatism
. Dewey referred to Mead as “a seminal mind of the very first order”. Yet by the middle of the twentieth-century, Mead's prestige was greatest outside of professional philosophical circles. He is considered by many to be the
father of the school of Symbolic Interactionism
in sociology and social psychology, although he did not use this nomenclature.
Perhaps Mead's principal influence in philosophical circles occurred as a result of his friendship with John Dewey. There is little question that
Mead and Dewey had an enduring influence on each other
, with Mead contributing an original theory of the development of the self through communication. This theory has in recent years played a central role in the work of Jürgen Habermas. While Mead is best known for his work on the nature of the self and intersubjectivity, he also developed a theory of action, and a metaphysics or philosophy of nature that emphasizes emergence and temporality, in which the past and future are viewed through the lens of the present. Although the extent of Mead's reach is considerable, he never published a monograph. His most famous work, Mind, Self, and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist, was published after his death and is a compilation of student notes and selections from unpublished manuscripts.
He was one of several distinguished pragmatists, and he is regarded as one of the founders of social psychology and the American sociological tradition in general. James’ influence: Nature of the self-The mind as the individual importation of the social process.
Charles Horton Cooley
American sociologist best known for his concept of the looking glass self, which is the concept that a person’s self grows out of society’s interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others.
James’ influence on Cooley: The “Looking Glass Self”
Cooley's famous idea expands James’ idea of self to include the capacity of reflection on its own behavior.
“A self-idea of this sort seems to have three principal elements: the imagination of our appearance to the other person; the imagination of his judgment of that appearance, and some sort of self-feeling, such as pride or modification.”
Phenomenological Definitions
Brann 46,47
Pragmatism and Phenomenology:
Sociology of Knowledge and Cognitive Sociology

Where is it in these theories?
Explicit? Implicit?
For most of this time period the imagination WAS RELEVANT for all theories and branches of psychology, but was largely IGNORED or considered a fruitless intellectual pursuit!

The good news: It has resurfaced in modern psychology and sociology!
History of Psychology and IMAGINATION
Swiss psychologist/psychiatrist

ANALYTIC PSYCHOLOGY: psychology based on the concept of the collective unconscious and the complex

Freud: influence and divergence

Motivations for Human Behavior

The Complex
Collective Unconscious

The Imagination?
JUNG (pronounced yoong)
Erin & Michelle
Early Biological & Psychological
Constructions of Mind

The pattern that human motivations generally move through
self actualization: innate drives and needs but they are somewhat different

CRITIQUE: depends if you’re raised in an individualist or collectivist society – then your hierarchy is more selfish. Not a lot of evidence for a hierarchy.
Where is the IMAGINATION?
-seems to be totally outside of this branch
-time travel?
-Learning itself uses time travel, imagining consequences from past experiences
American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher

RADICAL BEHAVIORISM EVERYTHING an organism does - thinking, feeling, perceiving - is a form of behavior, valid for psychological analysis. These “squishy” forms of behavior - dreaming, desiring, etc. - are not unique, they are simply more forms of behavior- can only be analyzed through behavioral expression. Although it includes them, it doesn’t really address them.
-Regular Behaviorism? Behave is what organisms DO.
-No difference in states of mind if no demonstrable behavioral difference
Promotes the Scientific study of behavior: measuring, counting, timing
-BASED ON POSITIVISM: intuition/introspection rejected, what we can measure/observe/sense/ calculate is source of knowledge.
-Stimuli, responses, learning history, reinforcement
The social history of consequences?
-Operant psychology: behavior = f(environmental history of reinforcing behavior)
The Imagination?
Austrian Neurologist

Founder of psychoanalysis: between patient and analyst – investigates relationship between conscious and unconscious
Hypnosis Free Association

Psychosexual Development

Critique: pseudoscience? Sexist?
conflict, repression, symptoms
Fantasy Dreams
“The reason for dwelling on a specifically cognitive theory of consciousness is that if attended to, it would effectively inhibit imagery-investigations. For there is “no room in sub personal explanation for images” (Dennett 1981a.) Mental images, by their very nature, require to be “perceived” and recognized as images. If the mind’s eye is nothing at all but a metaphor, every reason for holding on to the term imagery is gone (Brann, 216).
“On the other hand, in verbal report can ever adequately represent a specific image, any more than words can render a spatial picture without remainder; words may do perfect justice to thoughts but never to sights. So the imaginal representations are actual nowhere if not before the subject’s inner eye (Brann, 216).
“There are several function areas in consciousness. For example, there is a perceptual component, which takes sensory input and stores percepts in the memory component. Functionally, above these is the control component, which has access to them all. It directs the perceptual function through the focusing attention, it sends commands to the speech components to perform speech acts, and it is in control of their execution. Above all, it directs inquiries and receives replies from memory. The control component can introspect, for introspection is said to be nothing more than the control sub-routine of addressing inquires to and processing answers form memory” (Brann, 215).
“Information-processing is an approach to cognition which supports the functionalist obliteration of the distinction between human and a-human mental states and events.”

Brann says: “information” does not imply any matching of thought to thing. “Processing” is the central cognitive term that means any transformation of such representations, be it by elaboration or reduction, by storage or retrieval, applied in sequence or in parallel, from top to bottom up.

“The stages and routes of the processing are the preoccupations of cognitive science” (Brann, 212).
Cognitive science: the setting of imagery-investigations
“The cognitivist attitude or method, leading to many theories, amounts to what historians of science currently call a paradigm-a paradigm being to scientists more or less what a world-view is to the intellectuals, namely the prevailing frame of hypothesizing” (Brann, 211).
Brann states in cognitive psychology embattled issues of cognitivism become simpler and sharper, whether as hopes or hypotheses.
“The point is that in cognitive psychology the hope is strong and the hypothesis is general that to each particular state or event a corresponding brain state can be matched” (Ch. VI).
Brann Part 2, Chapter 1.

Michelle & Erin
Cognitive neurosciences, time travel and mental simulation
Mental simulation
Mental simulation is our mind’s ability to imagine taking a specific action and simulating the probable result before acting. (Josh Kaufman, Founder of personalMBA.com)
We use mental simulation everyday: role play, strategy, better preparation, and practice.
Perception of time
Time perception is a field of study within psychology and neuroscience. It refers to the sense of time, which differs from other senses since time cannot be directly perceived but must be reconstructed by the brain. (Wikipedia)
Perception of time is our own creation.
Time travel
Time travel is the mental ability to see past and future.
Uses of perception of time.

Examples of mental time travel:
Waiting for a birthday or holiday to come
Picturing what you would do if you won the lottery.
Planning what you will do after graduation.
Fantasizing about a person or place.
Remembering past experiences and events.
“A representation is a spatial or temporal configuration of symbols which is regarded as standing in a certain relationship to something else. Mental images are representations in just this sense (Richardson, 1980).

“Along with representation ‘code’ and ‘encoding’ are the key notions of cognitive science. Encoding refers to the way information is readied for internal processing (Brann, 221).
“The difficulty cognitive science has with consciousness, and a fortiori with self-consciousness is reciprocally related to the locus of its interest, which is below or behind consciousness. Most cognitive processes are in fact unconscious in the sense that they are not experienced by the knower (Brann, 213).

“Though aspects of the cognitive unconscious can on occasion become conscious-trains of thought having run underground for long stretches may slowly surface and imagery may make sudden epiphanies before the mind’s eye-it is conceived not as itself mental but as the explanatory mechanism of mental activity ( Richardson 1980; 38).
Information Processing
Psychology: The having of imagery
“ The capture of the imagination as an observable piece of nature starts with devising ways to extract measurable evidence about imaginal structures and processes (Brann, 209).

Brann states it begins with the tortuously difficult formulation of criteria for the existence of mental images, or better, for having imagery.
“The chief tool in imagery-experiments will be the measurement of reaction times. The very fact that mental processes take measurable time suggests a physical underpinning (212).

Reaction time is the elapsed time between the presentation of a sensory stimulus and the subsequent behavioral response (Wikipedia).
Feel free to explore the following presentations.
Karl Popper
"Science must begin with myths, and with the criticism of myths; neither with the collection of observations, nor with the invention of experiments, but with the critical discussion of myths, and of magical techniques and practices. The scientific tradition is distinguished from the pre-scientific tradition in having two layers. Like the latter, it passes on its theories; but it also passes on a critical attitude towards them. The theories are passed on, not as dogmas, but rather with the challenge to discuss them and improve upon them."
-Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Left school at 16 years old to attend lectures in math, physics, philosophy, psychology and the history of music as a guest student at the Vienna University.
In 1919 Popper was attracted by Marxism and joined the Association of Socialist School Students and the Social Democratic Workers Party of Austria.
Abandoning the Marxist ideology.
Karl Popper
July 28, 1902-September 17, 1994
Austro-British philosopher and professor at the London School of Economics.
Popper is known for his attempt to reject the classical observationalist/inductivist form of scientific method in favour of empirical falsification. He is also known for his opposition to the classical justificationist account of knowledge which he replaced with critical rationalism, "the first non justificational philosophy of criticism in the history of philosophy". In political discourse, he is known for his vigorous defence of liberal democracy and the principles of social criticism that he came to believe made a flourishing "open society" possible.
aka interpretivism or interpretive sociology
Max Weber and Georg Simmel rejected the positivist doctrine thus founding the antipositivist tradition in sociology.
view in social science that the social realm may not be subject to the same methods of investigation as the natural world
academics must reject empiricism and the scientific method in the conduct of social research
Positivism Criticism
fails to prove that there are not abstract ideas, laws, principles
doesn't prove that material and corporeal things constitute the whole order of existing beings
Key Features of Positivism as of 1950's
1. A focus on science as a product, a linguistic or numerical set of statements;
2. A concern with axiomatization (mathematical system), that is, with demonstrating
the logical structure and coherence of these statements;
3. An insistence on at least some of these statements being testable, that is
amenable to being verified, confirmed, or falsified by the empirical observation of
reality; statements that would, by their nature, be regarded as untestable included the teleological; thus positivism rejects much of classical metaphysics.
4. The belief that science is markedly cumulative;
5. The belief that science is predominantly transcultural;
6. The belief that science rests on specific results that are dissociated from the
personality and social position of the investigator;
7. The belief that science contains theories or research traditions that are largely
8. The belief that science sometimes incorporates new ideas that are discontinuous
from old ones;
9. The belief that science involves the idea of the unity of science, that there is,
underlying the various scientific disciplines, basically one science about one real
philosophy of science based on the view that in the social as well as natural sciences, data derived from sensory experience, and logical and mathematical treatments of such data, are together the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge
Jacques Derrida
BORN July 15, 1930 - DIED October 9, 2004
Born in Algeria (French colony)
Moved to Parris in 1949
Published over 40 works
Very influential in literature, anthropology, and sociology
He frequently addressed political and ethical themes in his later writings
Important point of view: one must do what is needed so that two concepts stay separate and non hierarchical. In order to achieve this, one must intervene in the field effectively, to create new marks, a new concept that no longer be, and never could be included in the previous regime.
Anti-Structuralism: Deconstruction
thru the eyes of Jacques Derrida:
rejects systematic approach to analysis
idea that philosophical thinkers are not dealing with peaceful coexistence but of violent hierarchy. cannot get rid of all structure at once.
must recognize difference of things. break the connection. not try to connect the interrelations of actions
there could be multiple meanings within a structure
EX: structural linguistics claims everything black and white one meaning. BUT anti-structuralism dissects language meanings by context.
patterns of thought in all forms of human activity."
systematic approach to analysis
believed to have been derived from materialism: everything can be understood by the physical: energy and matter
similar to structuralism because structuralism is it systematic and firm
everything has its place within a structure
people's behaviors and actions would be associated to the structure they participated in. people are unable to decide own behavior.
general theory
the domain of culture is understood by structure
the elements of culture will be understood better if studied under an organized far reaching "structure"
structures can extend to all forms of life to better understand it
rigid ideology
Structuralism has been defined as "the search for the underlying patterns of thought in all forms of human activity."
French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss was first to brand structuralism
Structuralism is "the belief that phenomena of human life are not intelligible except through their interrelations. These relations constitute a structure, and behind local variations in the surface phenomena there are constant laws of abstract culture".
peaked populartiy in the 1950s and 1960s
has been applied to many different fields
linguistics, anthropology, sociology, economics, psychology, literary criticism and architecture
Skyeler & Diana
How do structuralism and positivism relate?
Structuralism is the belief that everything must happen within a structure. It all has a place and a ranking.
Postivism functions well within structuralism because it argues everything must be accomplished through science and the scientific method
Anti stucturalism/positivism abandons the original theories or deviates from the original thought.
Karl Popper-Main Works
First book The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1934) criticized psuchologism, naturalism, inductionism, and logical positivism, and put forth his theory of potential falsifiability.
Brought about many works in various fields and retired from academic life in 1969, but remained intellectually active for the rest of his life.
Popper died in Croydon, UK at the age of 92.
antipositivism equated with qualitative research, while positivism research is quantitative.
first wave of German sociologists introduced sociological antipositivism
Weber, Tonnies, Durkheim, Simmel
Karl Popper- postivism and antipostivism
Postivism states that the only authentic knowledge is that which allows positive verification.
sociological positivism was reformulated by Emile Durkheim.
Structuralism Critiques:
In the 1970s Structuralism's main critique was that it was too rigid and ahistoricism
this birthed post-structuralism
structuralism was continued on in this form.
Nicholas A. Christakis (born 1962) is a Greek American physician and social scientist known for his research on social networks and on the socioeconomic and biosocial determinants of health, longevity, and behavior. He is a Professor of Medical Sociology in the Department of Health Care Policy and a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; a Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; and an Attending Physician at the Harvard-affiliated Mt. Auburn Hospital.
In 2009, Christakis and his wife, Erika Christakis, were appointed Co-Masters of Pforzheimer House, one of Harvard's twelve residential houses. At Harvard, Christakis is also known for his popular undergraduate lecture class "Life and Death in the USA" which is podcast publicly, and for attracting a diverse group of faculty and students from across the University's departments and professional schools into his research group.
In 2009 and again in 2010, Christakis was named by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top global thinkers. In 2009, he was named to the Time 100, Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006, and he was named a Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010.
Nicholas A. Christakis
Social Networks- Macro Level
Social Networks- Meso Level
Meso level
In general, meso-level theories begin with a population size that falls between the micro- and macro-levels. However, meso-level may also refer to analyses that are specifically designed to reveal connections between micro- and macro-levels. Meso-level networks are low density and may exhibit causal processes distinct from interpersonal micro-level networks.[38]
Organizations: Formal organizations are social groups that distribute tasks for a collective goal.[39] Network research on organizations may focus on either intra-organizational or inter-organizational ties in terms of formal or informal relationships. Intra-organizational networks themselves often contain multiple levels of analysis, especially in larger organizations with multiple branches, franchises or semi-autonomous departments. In these cases, research is often conducted at a workgroup level and organization level, focusing on the interplay between the two structures.[40]
Randomly-distributed networks: Exponential random graph models of social networks became state-of-the-art methods of social network analysis in the 1980s. This framework has the capacity to represent social-structural effects commonly observed in many human social networks, including general degree-based structural effects commonly observed in many human social networks as well as reciprocity and transitivity, and at the node-level, homophily and attribute-based activity and popularity effects, as derived from explicit hypotheses about dependencies among network ties. Parameters are given in terms of the prevalence of small subgraphconfigurations in the network and can be interpreted as describing the combinations of local social processes from which a given network emerges. These probability models for networks on a given set of actors allow generalization beyond the restrictive dyadic independence assumption of micro-networks, allowing models to be built from theoretical structural foundations of social behavior.[41]
Social Networks- Meso Level
Social Networks- Micro Level
Major developments in the field can be seen in the 1930s by several groups in psychology, anthropology, and mathematics working independently.
In psychology, in the 1930s, Jacob L. Moreno began systematic recording and analysis of social interaction in small groups, especially classrooms and work groups.
In anthropology, the foundation for social network theory is the theoretical and ethnographic work of Bronislaw Malinowski, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, and Claude Lévi-Strauss. A group of social anthropologists associated with Max Gluckman and the Manchester School, often are credited with performing some of the first fieldwork from which network analyses were performed, investigating community networks in southern Africa, India and the United Kingdom.
In sociology, the early (1930s) work of Talcott Parsons set the stage for taking a relational approach to understanding social structure. Later, drawing upon Parsons' theory, the work of sociologist Peter Blau provides a strong impetus for analyzing the relational ties of social units with his work on social exchange theory. By the 1970s, a growing number of scholars worked to combine the different tracks and traditions.
Social Networks- Major Developments
Some writings going back to the ancient Greeks.
Late 1800s, both Émile Durkheim and Ferdinand Tönnies foreshadow the idea of social networks in their theories and research of social groups.
Tönnies argued that social groups can exist as personal and direct social ties that either link individuals who share values and belief (Gemeinschaft, "community") or impersonal, formal, and instrumental social links (Gesellschaft, "society").
Durkheim gave a non-individualistic explanation of social facts arguing that social phenomena arise when interacting individuals constitute a reality that can no longer be accounted for in terms of the properties of individual actors.
Georg Simmel, pointed to the nature of networks and the effect of network size on interaction and examined the likelihood of interaction in loosely-knit networks.
Social Networks-History
Studies relationships between individuals, groups,organizations, or even entire societies.
One common criticism of social network theory is that individual agency is often ignored, although this may not be the case in practice. Precisely because many different types of relations, singular or in combination, form these network configurations, network analytics are useful to a broad range of research enterprises.
In social science, these fields of study include, but are not limited to anthropology, biology,communication studies, economics, geography, information science, organizational studies, social psychology, sociology, and sociolinguistics.
Social Network
Emerged from social psychology, sociology, statistics, and graph theory.
Georg Simmel authored early structural theories in sociology emphasizing the dynamics of triads and "web of group affiliations."
Jacob Moreno is credited with developing the first sociograms in the 1930s to study interpersonal relationships. These approaches were mathematically formalized in the 1950s and theories and methods of social networks became pervasive in the social and behavioral sciences by the 1980s.
Social Networks-Background
A social network is a social structure made up of a set of actors (such as individuals or organizations) and the dyadic ties between these actors.
The social network perspective provides a clear way of analyzing the structure of whole social entities.
The study of these structures uses social network analysis to identify local and global patterns, locate influential entities, and examine network dynamics.
Social Network- Defined
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How does culture and the imagination relate to one another?
Refer to C. Wright Mills and the social imagination
Being able to reflect on history and biography
Culture is how we relate to one another and how interact with each other. We use the imagination to relate and group ourselves and create social ties.
We formulate stereotypes in order to imagine how we will get along or understand one another
Culture and the Imagination
Pierre Bourdieu saw culture as
A resources that can be monopolized, used to access scarce rewards, transmitted from one generation to the next
EX: Study skills are an abstract idea
Culture was composed of different types of capital:
*economic capital
money and financial resources
* social capital
social networks, family unit, hs counselors,
* cultural capital
Embodied dispositions, material objects, educational credentials
The most important in terms of reproducing inequality
Major Figures & Ideologies
Georg Simmel
Elements of culture
Symbols: Anything that carries particular meaning recognized by people who share the same culture
Language:A system of symbols that allows people to communicate with one another.
Values: Culturally defined standards of desirability, goodness, beauty and many other things that serves as broad guidelines for social living.
Beliefs: Specific statements that people hold to be true.
Norms: Rules and expectations by which a society guides the behaviour of its members.
The two types of norms:
Mores are norms that are widely observed and have a great moral significance.
Folkways are norms for routine, casual interaction.
Major Figures & Ideologies
Social Networks- Christakis
Social Networks- Macro Level
Partial map of the Internet based on the January 15, 2005 data found on opte.org. Each line is drawn between two nodes, representing two IP addresses. The length of the lines are indicative of the delay between those two nodes. This graph represents less than 30% of the Class C networks reachable by the data collection program in early 2005. Lines are color-coded according to their corresponding RFC 1918 allocation as follows:
Dark blue: net, ca, us
Green: com, org
Red: mil, gov, edu
Yellow: jp, cn, tw, au, de
Magenta: uk, it, pl, fr
Gold: br, kr, nl
White: unknown
Rather than tracing interpersonal interactions, macro-level analyses generally trace the outcomes of interactions, such as economic or other resource transfer interactions over a large population.
Large-scale networks: Large-scale network is a term somewhat synonymous with "macro-level" as used, primarily, insocial and behavioral sciences, in economics. Originally, the term was used extensively in the computer sciences (see large-scale network mapping).
Complex networks: Most larger social networks display features of social complexity, which involves substantial non-trivial features of network topology, with patterns of complex connections between elements that are neither purely regular nor purely random (see, complexity science, dynamical systemand chaos theory), as do biological, and technological networks. Such complex network features include a heavy tail in thedegree distribution, a high clustering coefficient, assortativity or disassortativity among vertices, community structure, and hierarchical structure. In the case of agency-directed networks these features also includereciprocity, triad significance profile (TSP, see network motif), and other features. In contrast, many of the mathematical models of networks that have been studied in the past, such as lattices and random graphs, do not show these features.[44]
Scale-free networks: A scale-free network is a network whosedegree distribution follows a power law, at least asymptotically. In network theory a scale-free ideal network is a random networkwith a degree distribution that unravels the size distribution of social groups.[42] Specific characteristics of scale-free networks vary with the theories and analytical tools used to create them, however, in general, scale-free networks have some common characteristics. One notable characteristic in a scale-free network is the relative commonness of vertices with a degreethat greatly exceeds the average. The highest-degree nodes are often called "hubs", and may serve specific purposes in their networks, although this depends greatly on the social context. Another general characteristic of scale-free networks is the clustering coefficient distribution, which decreases as the node degree increases. This distribution also follows a power law.[43] The Barabási model of network evolution shown above is an example of a scale-free network.
Social Networks- Macro Level
At the micro-level, social network research typically begins with an individual, snowballing as social relationships are traced, or may begin with a small group of individuals in a particular social context.
Dyadic level: A dyad is a social relationship between two individuals. Research on dyads concentrates on structure of the relationship, social equality, and tendencies toward reciprocity/mutuality.
Triadic level: Research at this level may concentrate on factors such as balance and transitivity, as well as social equality and tendencies toward reciprocity/mutuality.
Actor level: The smallest unit of analysis in a social network is an individual in their social setting, i.e., an "actor" or "ego". Ego network analysis focuses on network characteristics such as size, relationship strength, density,centrality, prestige and roles such as isolates, liaisons, and bridges.
Subset level: Subset levels of network research problems begin at the micro-level, but may crossover into the meso-level of analysis. Subset level research may focus on distance and reachability, cliques, cohesive subgroups, or other group action, group actions or behavior.
Social Networks- Micro Level
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Sociology of Culture: Defined
Culture in the sociological field can be defined as the ways of thinking, the ways of acting, and the material objects that together shape a people's way of life.
It was first defined by Weber
Cultural sociologists tend to reject scientific methods, instead hermeneutically focusing on words, artifacts and symbols.
has a structuralist and post-modern approach
Skyeler & Diana
Sociology of Culture
and Social Networks

Anti-structuralism &

"Goffman's greatest contribution to social theory is his study of symbolic interaction in the form of dramaturgical analysis that began with his 1959 book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life"
Goffman pioneered the study of face-to-face interaction, or micro-sociology and connected the "
dramaturgical approach
" to human interaction.
Goffman built on the central concepts of symbolic interactionism
"For Goffman, society is not homogeneous. We must act differently in different settings. The context we have to judge is not society at large, but the specific context. Goffman suggests that life is a sort of theater, but we also need a parking lot and a cloak room: there is a wider context lying beyond the face-to-face symbolic interaction".
"The term "symbolic interactionism" has come into use as a label for a relatively distinctive approach to the study of human life and human conduct. (Blumer, 1969). With Symbolic interactionism, reality is seen as social, developed interaction with others. Most symbolic interactionists believe a physical reality does indeed exist by an individual's social definitions, and that social definitions do develop in part or relation to something “real.” People thus do not respond to this reality directly, but rather to the social understanding of reality" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolic_interactionism).
Erving Goffman
Solomon Asch
Born in 1907
Taught at Swarthmore College
Known for his experiments on group conformity
Asked participants which line was the same length
Found that when in a group, people are reluctant to disagree, even when it is obvious they should
People wondered how the Nazis were able to participate in a campaign as violent as the Holocaust
This led to a number of experiments being performed
Solomon Asch’s conformity experiment
Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiment
Moves from Pragmatism to be more practical
Psychologists who came over from Europe brought Gestalt ideas with them
Behaviorism was popular in the United States at the time
Leon Festinger
Born in 1919
Taught at a number of universities
Known for his theory of Cognitive Dissonance
Occurs when a person holds two conflicting beliefs or desires
Published in his book When Prophecy Fails in 1956
Social Cognition
During the 1950s and 1960s, social psychology became more interested in cognitivism
Studies how people perceive, think about, and remember information about others
understanding how people understand themselves, the worlds around them, and their relationship with those worlds
Information processing models focus on cognitive processes resulting from content and context
"Imagined Interaction as an Element of Social Cognition" by Renee Edwards, James M. Honeycutt, and Kenneth S. Zagacki. (1998)
Beginnings of Social Psychology
First published study was an experiment conducted in 1898 by Normal Triplett on social facilitation
Chicago School: Symbolic Interactionism started
considers the meanings underlying social interactions to be situated, creative, fluid and contested
Germany: In the 1930's many Gestalt psychologists went to the U.S. from Nazi Germany to develop the field of social psychology as separate from the behavioral and psychoanalytic schools that were dominant during this period
Attitudes and small group phenomena were common topics
George Herbert Mead
American philosopher, psychologist and sociologist
Affiliated with the University of Chicago
Pragmatic philosopher influenced by John Dewey, Charles H. Cooley and William James
Presented the self and the mind as a social process
Developed James distinction between the "I" and the "me"
Known for Symbolic Interactionism
"Generalized Other"-understanding the emergence of the social self in human beings
Travis Brown and Cassandra Ventura
Philip Zimbardo
Born 1933
Taught at Stanford
Famous for his prison experiment
Created a mock prison at Stanford
Guards told not to physically harm prisoners
Ended the experiment early
Relevance to today
Stanley Milgram
Born in 1933
Taught at Yale
Known for his experiments on obedience to authority
Had the participant “shock” a “student” when given wrong answers
Milgram concluded that anyone could become violent and destructive and people were unwilling to resist authority
Symbolic Interactionism roots from pragmatism and social behaviorism
3 main tenets of pragmatism is key to symbolic interactionism:
The focus on the interaction between the actor and the world
View of actor and the world as dynamic processes
Actor's ability to interpret the social world
Mead and symbolic interactionists see consciousness as not a separate component from action and interaction, but is key to both
Mead's theories were carried on by graduate students of the University of Chicago
Social Psychology
Personhood is emergent from causal capacities
Persons are centers of things
What matters in personhood is ability for consciousness and possibility for future promise
Persons are the efficient causes of their own responsible actions and interactions
Purpose and the center are interdependent
purpose needs the center to be constituted, pursued and achieved by an intentional, coherent somebody
centers exist for intentions
needs purpose to be a center for something
Personhood and the Center
Causal Capacities are emergent from the brain
Humans possess 30 causal capacities (ex: mental representation, valuation, symbolization, etc.)
Those capacities are used to bond people together in social relationships and engages social relationships with other humans
Capacities are used to endow humans to bring about change in material or mental phenomena to produce or influence objects in the world
They are socially and interactively rooted
Capacities are basic facts out of which normal personhood exists emergently at a higher level
Causal Capacities
"Emergence is a process of constituting a new entity with its own particular characteristics through the interactive combination of other, different entities that are necessary to create the new entity but that do not contain the characteristics present in the new entity" (Smith p. 25)
Smith says the reality we live in is composed of many levels of emergent phenomena and properties
Smith uses emergence to explain social structures and institutions
Emergence vs. Reductionist: Reductionists often miss the important facts because they are blind to emergence
Emergence enables us to see all elements come together to create a new entity which possesses characteristics and capacities
o Smith defines person as: "conscious, reflexive, embodied, self-transcending center of subjective experience, durable identity, moral commitment, and social communication who.. exercises complex capacities for agency and intersubjectivity in order to develop and sustain his or her own incommunicable self in loving relationships with other personal selves and with the nonpersonal world" (Smith p. 61)
What is a Person?
The brain uses other parts of the body to process information
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson
Conceptual Metaphor
Embodied Cognition
Born 1922
Political involvement in Greece
Moved to France
Became involved in politics there
Created his own political group
Turned against Soviet Union
Contributed to Social Theory
Capitalism and Democracy
Cornelius Castoriadis
Grew up in Germany
Started studying Nazism
Came into contact with Pragmatism as a student
Wanted to use it to reconcile his own beliefs
Works to understand human action
US pragmatism
Relates it to social theory
Hans Joas
By: Travis Brown and Cassandra Ventura
Embodied Cognition
Our goal in life as Smith said is to sustain and develop the person's own incommunicable self in loving relationships with other personal selves and with the nonpersonal world
Humans play an intentional role as agents in influencing which outcomes become actual
We want to escape our grievances
Use some of the causal capacities to explain motivation for involvement in social movements (ex: moral awareness and judgment, valuation, truth seeking, etc.)
When we see others act it causes us to feel the need to join social movements
Social Movements
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