Thursday, September 8, 2011

Remembering Johann Herder

by Matthew Raphael Johnson:
The sciences themselves impose an ideological and a priori grid upon nature, the quantitative measures to which science reduces all visible phenomena. To treat man as an object of science is to standardize him, to standardize him is to reject all that is human about him, to reduce him to a mechanical being, a being easily manipulated from outside; the esoteria of the social sciences. In other words, this sort of standardization is to reduce civilization—for Herder the ethno-nation—to a set of material causes and effects which ensures that only the most formal and formalizable aspects of the people under study will be understood. Even here, though, precisely because that which is formal (or formalizable) is removed from the rest, that then is misunderstood. Peoples are distorted if they are a priori standardized in a quantitative formula. This is the central proposition of Herder’s social theory, and, importantly, the starting point for the countercritique of Enlightenment mythology. more >>

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