Texts Without Referents offers a detailed and systematic theory of human culture, ranging across both Anglo-American and Continental European philosophy, and their allied disciplines. In it Joseph Margolis provides an account of history and interpretation and the ontology of cultural entities (persons, artefacts, artworks, words and sentences, actions, institutions, societies). Central to the book is the question of the coherent relationship between the human and the natural sciences. The author elaborates a theory that may be said to question, and challenge, the traditional emphasis given in the Western philosophical canon to the subordination of the human sciences to the physical sciences. Margolis' strategy is to show the strong conceptual evidence offered by such diverse movements as pragmatism, naturalism, phenomenology, deconstruction, Marxism, Frankfurt Critical Theory, hermeneutics, and Wittgensteinian and Nietzschean currents, for overturning this ranking. Margolis argues that it is the physical sciences that depend on the human for their distinctive rigour, and that they need to be brought under the larger constraints of social existence if, together, they are to yield a coherent and comprehensive picture of the full powers of human inquiry. This, the third volume in Margolis' trilogy, brings the issues of the first two volumes together, reworking them within a general theory of cultural life. A number of strategic questions are examined, including the nature of texts, reference, selves, praxis, thinking, and historical time. Expansive and challenging, it represents the climax to an ambitious reassessment of the relationship, within the world of culture, between the natural and the human sciences, and a reassessment of the complexities of human existence. The books is aimed at students and specialists in philosophy, social theory and the philosophy of culture.
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