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From The Ontological Roots Of Knowledge To A New Sociology Of Being

Title: “From The Ontological Roots Of Knowledge To A New Sociology Of Being”

Paper presented in the section on New Directions in Sociological Theory (TS2-A)

at the Canadian Congress for Humanities and Social Sciences, Fredericton, Canada,  Friday, 3rd June, 2011: 10:30 am.



Whether in its classical or “contemporary” expression, the very concept of sociology has been contingent on an anthropocentric understanding of society in its civilised, sedentary nation state form. Because of that, more than any other discipline (excepting political science and economics), sociology has constructed its theory and practice in response to the state’s needs for a civilised, technological, and technocratic organisation of human resources. I.e. its study objects as well as self-examination have consistently relied on anthropocentric definitions of the reality it helped to define and concurrently construct. This paper invites a cross-disciplinary examination of the ontological basis of  social relations and of the concept of “resources” (human and other animal) as well as a critique of the definitions that distinguish human society from non-human animals, for instance: language, time, empathy, intelligence, and “environmentalism”. John Zerzan’s critique of civilisation offers dynamic possibilities for sociological theory. Examined in conjunction with sentience (Bentham) and empathy (Kropotkin and Goethe), Zerzan’s critique of symbolic thought, language, time, and the technological evolution of humanity responds to the urgent demands of economic and political global crises for re-definition of sociological interests and therefore non-human and human animal
evolutionary trajectory.


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