Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 23:02:57 +0000
Sender: PHILosophy OF HIstory and theoretical history <PHILOFHI@YORKU.CA>
From: Nikolai S. Rozov <>
Organization: Novosibirsk State University
Subject: consciousness&determinism

Consciousness & determinism

By Nikolai S. Rozov, <>, 10 January 1999

On 4 Jan 99 Haines Brown <PHILOFHI@YORKU.CA> wrote:

> So, is there freedom in history? Well, that depends on what we mean by
> it, but I see no compelling reason why we should deny that history is
> an entirely natural phenomenon. This, I suspect, is they key issue
> in this thread.
> Is human consciousness, and the behavior driven by it, in some
> fundamental way not natural? Or is it natural in its own way, just as
> every other natural phenomenon is distinct in its own way?
> I doubt that this is a real question in the sense that it can be
> resolved by logic and evidence, but is rather an ideological
> presupposition. As such its validation would depend on quite different
> criteria.
> Haines

First of all Steve Sanderson and some others (Andrei Korotaev) noticed that our history in this aspect is not homogenous: most social theories of preindustrial and especially precivilized societies bend to natural or quasinatural factors; most theories on industrial and especially postindustrial periods involve factor of consciousness, conscious decisions, choice of values and ends ,etc. The beloved Korotaev’s example is extermination of slavery in USA and serfdom in Russia in 1860–70s, that is hard to explain not only in natural but even in economic terms

my answer which i wish to make maximally sharp is YES, there are natural regularities and laws in social life and history, they are not (only) biological and geographical, but also social, cultural and psychological. Does it deny the factor of consciousness and existance of freedom (if to turn to the current threads)? NOT AT ALL!

is it so event the consciousness (individual, group and mass) is absolutely free floating and independant of any laws?

real interior freedom exists, but isn't is always constraint both from outside (a set of real alternatives provided by social surroundings—it has been already mentioned by Haines Brown), but also from inside: the very alternatives can be recognized only by means of elements of some cultural capital, ideas, concepts, etc.that largely determined by previous cultural and social story of a decision maker

no doubt that these kinds of reguarities and laws differ much from any physical patterns but it does not mean that they do not exist, and that they cannot be dicovered by research

my strongest impression of application the ideas and norms of nomological explanation and prediction to counsciousness in such an elit form as philosophical intellectualism has again its source in Collins's writings—I mean his recent Sociology of Philosophies which i keep suggeting to read and discuss this spring (f.e. since March 1.)

i can expect a flame wave against laws and determinism; but here there is also a choice: either to follow analytical philosophers and postmodernists and attack any attemps to reveal laws or to think of real explanatory research

it seems i know what will be the major choice of most part of philosophers, and even by what factor this act of self-conscious freedom is determined ...