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The Hidden GodPragmatism and Posthumanism in American Thought$
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Ryan White

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231171007

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231171007.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

The Double Consciousness

The Double Consciousness

American Thought and the Theory of Theory

(p.29) 1 The Double Consciousness
The Hidden God

Ryan White

Columbia University Press

In many respects the “thesis statement” of the book as a whole, this chapter attempts to theorize the meaning of paradoxical statements in the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Charles Sanders Peirce. Utilizing and extending Gregory Bateson’s theory of communication, this essay observes a distinction between content and form which then entails a “second-order” observation as articulated in the systems theory of Niklas Luhmann. Form is theorized as radical discontinuity, a concept without identity, the “double consciousness.” This thesis not only allows Emerson and Peirce to be drawn into the purview of systems theory, but it also discovers an unheralded “posthumanist” tradition in American thought.

Keywords:   Posthumanism, Systems Theory, Niklas Luhmann, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Sanders Peirce, Gregory Bateson

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