City Intelligible

A Philosophical and Historical Anthropology of Global Commoditisation before Industrialisation

Author: Frank Perlin
City Intelligible seeks to integrate a transcendental philosophical anthropology of commoditisation before industrialisation with a social and cultural, thus empirical anthropology of commodity production and exchange that is global, thus inter-cultural. It treats commodification as a singular and privileged evidence of the universal status of human reasoning, and one that grounds the translational character of human exchange throughout the early centuries, and yet that simultaneously founds ubiquitous cultural differentiation. The book constitutes, therefore, a refutation of the predominant tendency in the humanities to represent cultural difference as inhibiting the very possibility of effective intercultural translation.
It treats the factors of economic history as forms of cultural expression, but determined, in their turn, by a continuum of complex societal formation from the very beginnings of intensive agricultural and social settlement. It seeks to derive evidence for the universal foundations of human reasoning through analysis of the culture of commoditisation in marrying a thoroughgoing Kantian analysis with the historical evidence, an approach aspiring to ground the very concept and possibility of a universal human cultural nature underlying all human differentiation.

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Frank Perlin, University of London BA History Honours First Class; University of Leiden PhD; author of The Invisible City, and Unbroken Landscape, and substantial articles. Specialisations: historical-anthropological archival research; methodology interdisciplinary and comparative; philosophy of knowledge; derivation of the universal foundation of human reason and difference.
Foreword by Ravi Ahuja
Notice to the Reader
List of Illustrations
More than a Preface or Introduction!: The Transcendental Constitution of the Cultural, Historical and Empirical Object: The Problem and Task of the Two Anthropologies
 1Initial Notice—an Order of Reading
 2The Subject Matter and the Project
 3To Constitute History and Society … the Two Taxonomies
 4The Three Criticisms
 5A Critical and Transcendental Anthropology of Intercultural Translatability—the Question of Method
 6Final Resolution of a Dilemma: The A-Priori, at Once Universal and Empirical
 7The Composition of the Book

Part 1: Artifice & Nature: A Kantian and Historical Anthropology of Commoditisation before Industrialisation

1 From the Closed World to the Open Continuum
 1Complexity, Language & Uncertainty
 2Order, Unit & Convenience in Economic History. Language-Use as Problem
 3Production and Marketing as an Issue of Complexity
 4Alternative Principles of Order & Method
 iThe Propositions
 iiSampling as Method
 iiiResources for Sampling, and a Hypothesis
 ATextile Market-Censuses
 BRaw Cottons
 CPre-Spun Wools & Woollen Yarns
 DThe Knowledge Problem
 ELists of Coinages Brought to Particular Markets

2 Unpacking, Disengaging and Linking
 1The Production and Marketing of Type: Phases, Extensions, Disengagements and Articulations
 iThe « Raw Materials » of Production
 AEmpirical Linkage
 BInitial Implications
 iiCloth Typologies
 iiiSpeciation in Field & Market (Autonomy for Connection)
 2Quality and Number
3A Second Object World
 1The Continuum
 iA Problem of Method
 iiCommodity Nature
 AAn Artificial Object World, & Its Taxonomy
 BMarketisation as Communication
 aMarkets & Complexity
 bThe Issue of Translatability—Markets & Frontiers
 cMarkets & Information
 2Kant’s Tower of Babel & the Cultural Universal
 iMetaphor & Construction
 iiA Kantian Approach to Commoditisation & Translatability
 iiiThe Universal and Cultural Difference
 AThe Problem of the Very Idea of a Universal Culture and Mind
 BFirst Invalid—the Biological A-Priori
 CSecond Invalid—Plurality of Societies as a Priori
 DAn Answer—Historical Generation of the Universal as a History of Differentiation
 3Cultural and Natural Space/Times
 iIntroduction. for an Explanation of Difference
 iiNewtonian Space/Time & Practical Knowledge
 iiiSpecies Construction and Its Transcendental Space/Time
 ivExtension in Space/Time
 ARephrasing the Coordinates of Choice & Limit with Respect to Reason
 BNeither Closed nor Infinite, but Finite & Illimitable
 aA Unity of Formative and Constructional Principle of the Exotic
 bBut What Kind of Unity?
 cA Poesis of the Incomparable
 dNot an Infinity but Finitude
 eA Finitude Closed and Bounded? or Open and Illimitable? Our Return to Kant!
 fThinking the Object into Being and the Reality-Status of That Thought
 gAn Edifice Built Only with Matter Accessible to Human Kind
 CFurther Thoughts about the Meaning of a « Universal » Culture of Practice and Mind
 vIntersubjectivity and Non-Essentialist Construction

Part 2: Taxonomy & Commodity: In Global Transfers of Plant Forms and Plant Products into Early-modern Europe (the cultural production of nature, or the foundations of early botany)

Introduction to Part 2: Plant Artifice/Plant Nature
4A General Framework
 1Introduction: Artifice & Nature
 2Contexts, Empirical & Intellectual
 3Foundational Difficulties
 iProblem Domains
 iiSubstantive Discussion
 AThe Continuum of Culture, Language and Systematics, and Thus Translatability
 BThe Cultural Specificity of Any Grown Plant. Selection in Artificial Botanies
 CMarket Determination of « Artificial » Plant Variation
 DA Partial Explanation in Terms of Transmission of Cultural Universals, in the Kantian Sense
5Foundations of Botany in Western Europe
1Europe and the World: The Phases and Aspects of Botanical Taxonomy and Abstraction
 iMedical Botany, Horta Botanica, Taxonomies & Pharmacopoeia
 iiThe Concept of Type, Agricultural Part-Products & Market Continua
6A Postface: Narrative Style, Evolutionary Form, and the Shaping of an Early Science: Botany
Appendix 1Order in Artificial and Spontaneous Natures
Appendix 2« The Phenomenology Lesson ». A Commentary on the Illustrations
 1Introduction: Selection and Translation
 2Kant, Hegel and Husserl 54
 3General Bibliography
All comparative and globalist historians and anthropologists; phenomenologists and critical transcendentalists concerned with empirical studies; biological systematicists concerned with the cultural dimension of botany.