Kant and Living Waters

Út 26 dubna 2005

While reading this morning next chapter of Carey (1989), I again hit some of my familiar spirits. I was thinking yesterday about the symbolic interactionism (the first chapter of Carey is actually a thorough explanation of the background of ideas feeding into the symbolic interactionism and similar constructivist sociological tradition), and it came to me that I should write into my dissertation proposal about the relation between the symbolic interactionism and the tradition of those who (following Kant, among others) considered “the real world” impossible (or hard) to understand directly. Actually, I am really not that interested in Kant’s philosophy itself (it is tempting to write “in itself” :-)) — I have never read any of his Critics — I use him more as a symbol of a whole line of thinking, which includes also Wittgenstein and the whole bunch of postmodern thinkers.

That is obviously just a small (and not that important) note, that could be added to the proposal in a minute. However, much more important is that I was actually thinking about this whole relation between “Kant” and the symbolic interactionism (and I was certainly not the first one, who thought about that — I wonder, what has been written on this theme in the “Handbook of Symbolic Interactionism” (2003)). I was actually saying to myself, that these things I found about SI remind me of discussions with my brother about Kant. And yet, I have not thought that I could actually use it for my dissertation, because what I really tried to do was to create a work which would resemble other scientific works I have read. However, the path to truly interesting stuff and to finding out something new goes exactly in the other direction — to use my own resources and thoughts as much as possible. The dissertation (especially with qualitative methods) should be as personal as possible — I don’t mean personal in terms of sharing my personal issues, but I have to go deeper in finding out what I actually think, what really matters to me, etc.

Actually, somewhere here may lie a root of my father’s dissatisfaction with sociology. Citing (again, there are more cites here than my own thoughts :-), oh well) my advisor Len Buckle, “real sociological truths are either common sense or nonsense”. Except that it sometimes requires a lot of uncommon thinking to discover common sense. And unless we go to the personal depths and appreciation of the artistic dimension of science, we don’t find anything that really matters.

Citing (indirectly) Markus Hoffmann, whenever we are insecure in our world, it is a reliable sign that we should go deeper in our healing. Whenever I feel bored and drained by the routine work, I should go deeper as well.

Category: research Tagged: dissertation BostonMiracle