[Air-l] Re: Company vs. Community

jeremy hunsinger jhuns at vt.edu
Tue Dec 18 20:41:14 PST 2001

> I believe that one cannot define things into existence. Societies, as
> Luhmann, etc. define them, simply don't exist, or rather, only exist in 
> the
> realm of the discourse of sociological theory and theorists rather than 
> in
> the world of "commonsense" action.
  I won't deny my idealist tendencies here but you can only define what 
exists, even if it is only a conceptual construction. I also concur that 
existence is not a predicate, which means stating "a" exists is not an 
argumentative point, it is an assumption gained by stating "a", adding 
existence does nothing, and worse causes problems by creating things 
like the ontological argument for god, etc. of course it is a bit more 

defining something that already exists is what I think Luhman is doing. 
I would argue though that societies as Luhman defines them, and it seems 
to me that there are variates here to deal with, always exist as long as 
humans exist.   Disputing the definition is fine and providing evidence 
that a definition is wrong is great too, but it really just gives you 
the point that there are alternative interpretations, it does not 
necessarily prove non-existence.  (warning general observation about the 
practice of theorists follow, it is not meant in reference to any 
specific individual) There becomes a point in time when one sits back 
and says in their own work and understanding of the world "either this 
theory works for my work or it does not", what they rarely follow up on 
is, "why does it work for her work and not mine?", this point is sort of 
moot because of the pragmatics of academic life, time, etc.  Instead 
they get parochial and start thinking that my theory works and others do 
not, which seems to me to be a bit problematic, but that's just  me.

This discussion though becomes an argument eventually of whether or not 
one accepts that definition or accepts competing definitions.  However, 
unless you are exceedingly strategic in the reconception or alternative 
theory that you use, it will probably collapse to another definition(or 
at least my opinion is that it could)  which is probably a weaker system 
than some would like.

now of course, I've wandered way off topic and will stop unless someone 
else chooses to continue:)

jeremy hunsinger
jhuns at vt.edu
on the ibook

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