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In: New Philosophies of Labour


This paper challenges the commonly made claim that the work of Pierre Bourdieu is fundamentally anti-Hegelian in orientation. In contrast, it argues that the development of Bourdieu’s work from its earliest structuralist through its later ‘post-structuralist’ phase is better described in terms of a shift from a late nineteenth century neo- Kantian to a distinctly Hegelian post-Kantian outlook. In his break with structuralism, Bourdieu appealed to a bodily based ‘logic of practice’ to explain the binaristic logic of Lévi-Strauss’ structuralist analyses of myth. Effectively working within the tradition of the Durkheimian approach to symbolic classification, Lévi-Strauss had inherited Durkheim’s distinctly neo-Kantian understanding of the role of categories in experience and action—an account that conflated two forms of representation—‘intuitions’ and ‘concepts—that Kant himself had held distinct. Bourdieu’s appeal to the role of the body’s dispositional habitus can be considered as a retrieval of Hegel’s earlier quite different reworking of Kant’s intuition-concept distinction in terms of distinct ‘logics’ with different forms of ‘negation’. Bourdieu commonly acknowledged the parallels of his analyses of social life to those of Hegel, but opposed Hegelianism because he believed that Hegel had remained entrapped within the dynamics of mythopoeic thought. In contrast, Durkheim and Lévi-Strauss, he claimed, by instituting a science of myth, had broken with it. This criticism of Hegel, however, relies on an understanding of his philosophy that has been rejected by many contemporary Hegel scholars, and without it, the gap separating Hegel and Bourdieu narrows dramatically.

In: Critique Today
In: Recognition and Social Ontology


Analytic philosophers are often said to be indifferent or even hostile to the history of philosophy – that is, not to the idea of history of philosophy as such, but regarded as a species of the genus philosophy rather than the genus history. Here it is argued that such an attitude is actually inconsistent with approaches within the philosophies of mind that are typical within analytic philosophy. It is suggested that the common “argument rather than pedigree” claim – that is, that claim that philosophical ideas should be evaluated only in the context of the reasons for or against them, and not in terms of historical conditions that brought them about – presupposes an early modern “egological” conception of the mind as normatively autonomous, and that such a view is in contradiction with the deeply held naturalistic predispositions of most contemporary philosophers of mind. Using the example of Wilfrid Sellars, who attempted to combine “naturalist” and “normative” considerations in his philosophy of mind, it is argued that only by treating the mind as having an artifactual dimension can these opposing considerations be accommodated. And, if the mind is at least partly understood as artifactual, then, to that extent, like all artifacts, it is to be understood via a narrative about the particular human activities in which those artifacts are produced and in which they function.

In: Journal of the Philosophy of History