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Lecture 13

SOCY 122 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Northrop Frye, Legal Positivism, Critical Philosophy

Social Sci, Edu and Soc Work - Sociology
Course Code
SOCY 122
Rob Beamish

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Week 13: Engaging with the Social World
Explain the three ways humankind engages with the world
Northrop Frye The Educated Imagination focuses on how we engage with the world
Three levels of engagement:
o Contemplative/speculative (observe, contemplate and speculate about the world
around us)
o Action (level in which people become active, engaging with environment around
o Imagination (individuals begin to imagine different types of possibility)
Human mind engaged with the world at each of those levels
Two aspects of the mind:
o Intellect- the basis for science
o Emotions- the basis for arts
1. The contemplative/speculative level
o The world is external and opposed to us, world is an object before us
o Intellect and emotions act separately
o Intellect assesses that world (makes sense of the world; classifies, categorizes)
o Emotions give us a impression of that world, gives us a sense or feel for the world
o The world of nouns and adjectives
o The language of self expression
o A feeling of identification with the world (apart of the world)
o It is where science and arts begin
o As long as you can identify with the landscape whether its a lake where we can swim
or fish, or a frozen ice surface where we can skate, there's no need to move beyond
the level of contemplation and speculation, but as soon as we feel as if we need to
change someone (ice is covered in snow), then we need to move to the next level of
engagement, the level of action
2. The action level
o "I want to change something" means you must act upon the world- the realm of
o We begin to humanize the world around us- a world in which human intervention
takes place
o Intellect and emotions work together and are combines
o "no longer the subject and object, the watcher and the thing being watched"- "what
you have to do and what you want to do"
o A world of what we want to do and what we will do
o World of verbs and active participation, build our everyday stocks of knowledge,
practical sense
o A higher level than the contemplative/speculative one because we are fully and
actively engaged with the world, but also more primitive since we are simply
changing our environment
3. The imagination level
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o Anything is possible
o We establish a new identification with the world that we have began to humanize
and begin to imagine a future of unlimited possibility
o Overcoming the separation of subject and object- (re)establishing identity with our
o Nothing happens at the level of imagination, we must return to the level of action to
actually make something happen
Language at each level:
o Contemplation- nouns and adjectives
o Action- verbs
o Imagination- full range of language
Relationship between intellect and emotion, type of knowledge required for each level
and the nature of the knowledge that the intellect and emotions generate at each level
Discuss the fundamental similarities shared by science and the arts
Both distinct forms of knowledge
o Draws upon creativity of emotions and imagination- grasping complex relations
o Is it the creative and imaginative capacities of science that allow it to actually
observe and classify more accurately
o It is the combination of emotions, intellect and action that allows science to develop
and progress in the accuracy of the knowledge it develops and our ability to apply
that knowledge to create change
o Language allows for the integration of intellect, emotion and action to occur
o Language is a critical dimension of science-conceptual development
o Tied to the intellects ability to observe and classify so that the products of artistic
imagination resignate with peoples lived experiences and allows them to fully relate
to and enjoy artistic creations
o Employs aspects of reality and life experience with imagination
Identify the fundamental differences between science and the arts
o Stems from the interface/opposition of the intellect and the world (empirical)
o Emphasis on observation and classification
o Seeks regularities that exists within the world- makes "precise" sense of the world
o Develops conceptually
o Progresses in accuracy and utility, measured by its increasing accuracy and observing
the world and utility, and permitting humankind to act on the world
o Stems from the emotions
o Limitless potential, has no possibility of progress
o Part of the world of action- a human construct that inspires, reflects, disturbs
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