Toward a Metaphysics of Culture: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Toward a Metaphysics of Culture

1st Edition

By Joseph Margolis


218 pages

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Toward a Metaphysics of Culture provides an initial, minimal, and original analysis of the concept of uniquely enlanguaged cultures of the human world and of the distinctive metaphysical features of whatever belongs to the things of that world: preeminently, persons, language, actions, artworks, products, history, practices, institutions, and norms. Emphasis is placed on the artifactual and hybrid nature of persons, naturalistic and post-Darwinian evolutionary considerations, and the bearing of the account on a range of disputed inquiries largely centered on the relationship between physical nature and human culture and between the natural and human sciences. The schema offered lays a foundation for a closer analysis of the human mind, cognition, interpretation, nomologicality, normativity, intentionality, realism, and related matters. The central thesis advances the heterodox notion, congruent with post-Darwinian studies in paleoanthropology, that the human person is a natural artifact, a functional transform of the primate members of Homo sapiens, by way of a complexly intertwined biological and encultured evolution, primarily dependent on the invention, transmission, and mastery of true language and the novel hybrid abilities that that makes possible. The emergence of persons is taken to be the obverse side of the mastery of language itself.


"Stimulating, provocative, and magisterial, Margolis’ intrepid study sketches how 21st century philosophers can develop what he terms pragmatism’s best prospects. By depicting human beings not as a natural kind but as a 'second-natured, artifactual transform' Margolis presses not only pragmatism but philosophy itself toward a more productive arena, one where biology and enlanguaged culture intersect."David L. Hildebrand, University of Colorado Denver

Table of Contents

Prologue 1. Toward a Metaphysics of Culture 2. Constructing a Person: A Clue to the New Unity of the Arts and Sciences 3. Charles Peirce’s Abductive Turn 4. The Nature of Normativity

About the Author

Joseph Margolis is Laura H. Carnell Professor of Philosophy at Temple University, USA. He has taught in the United States, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, and South Africa for more than sixty-five years. His most recent work, Pragmatism Ascendent: A Yard of Narrative, A Touch of Prophecy, was published in 2012.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in American Philosophy

This series is dedicated to monographs and essay collections that examine, from diverse theoretical perspectives, any aspects of America’s rich web of philosophical traditions, from the 17th Century onwards. Frequently associated with pragmatism, particularly in the United States, American philosophy also encompasses many other schools of thought, and has had a significant impact on the development of contemporary epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and political philosophy. By publishing outstanding treatments of its many diverse threads, this series aims to become the default resource for scholars and students interested in a full picture of American philosophy.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Metaphysics
PHILOSOPHY / Movements / Pragmatism