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Action and Reflection ( II)

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This is the second article in a series of two on the topic of “action” and “reflection”. The first article appeared last year in the fall issue of this journal (Vol. 79 (2), 140–171). This second article is divided into two sections. The first section deals with reflection, mainly in the form of reflexivity, a central notion in contemporary sociology and an attitude characteristic of the modern secular mind. The second section discusses second-order agency ( SOAG), subdivided into spiritsand powers. Most instances of (humanly engendered) spirits fall under an “as if” category: all these cases are about certain communalities expressing themselves in such a strong way that it seemsas if a supra-personal agent is at work. Zeitgeisterare a point in case. The only incidence of a SOAG-kind may be that of mobs. Powers fit our model better than spirits and for that reason most of the second part of this essay is dedicated to that topic. The foremost distinction that will be made is that between incomplete and full powers. The thesis presented in the final section is that powers can only come to completion by taking a “religious turn”. The notion of “assent” as a basic ingredient of human action is what connects the first to the second part of the essay.

Affiliations: 1: vu University Amsterdam, The Netherlands, griffioen.sander@gmail.com

10.1163/23528230-08002005
/content/journals/10.1163/23528230-08002005
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2015-11-12
2017-11-18

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