Objectification in common sense thinking


Markova I (2012) Objectification in common sense thinking. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 19 (3), pp. 207-221.

In epistemologies of both scientific and common sense thinking "objectification" characterizes the formation of knowledge and concepts, yet in each case its meaning is different. In the former, objectification in acquiring knowledge refers to the individual's rationalistic reification of an object or of another person and to disengagement or alienation. Formation of concepts refers to the attainment of common features of persons, objects, or events. In the latter case, objectification is a dialogical process that takes place in daily activities and in communication. It rarely, if ever, pursues dispassionate ways but is judgmental and ethical. In this process, old myths, collective images, and historical narratives as well as habits of the mind, consciously and unconsciously present, refer to previous forms of knowledge and generate new ones. In this article, objectification in common sense thinking is discussed using an example of haemophilia in relation to HIV/AIDS. Haemophilia is a genetically transmitted disorder of blood clotting that has already been known as a family disease in Talmudic rulings in the second century. It seems that social representations of this disorder, which in its most common form affects male individuals because they inherit the defective gene from their mothers, evoke beliefs prevalent in various religions and mythologies. These beliefs and the lack of scientific knowledge about haemophilia have led, throughout history, to a wide spectrum of psychological and behavioural challenges with respect to patients, carriers, their relatives, and the general public. The nature of these challenges is not stable: They undergo alterations with technological advances in diagnosis and treatment as well as with changes in the understanding of medical complications including HIV/AIDS.

Mind, Culture, and Activity: Volume 19, Issue 3

Publication date31/12/2012
Publication date online31/05/2012
PublisherTaylor & Francis