A human, as it has been said, became a human thanks to the developed consciousness. The latter isnít given in a ready form but is developed through a teaching and upbringing that supposes adopting by the individual stereotypes and schemes circulating in the society. As a matter of fact the developed consciousness becomes possible through and as a set of according stereotypes and semantic codes. So we donít think how to use a fork or spoon during an eating for itís already put in our consciousness as a stereotype that we follow automatically. The set of various semantic codes is culture. Generally speaking, more than 250 definitions of what culture is exist but the most of them may be reduced to this definition. All that a human does is in the frame of culture. If even oneís writing an indecent word on a fence, itís also remains a culture (for animals who have no culture donít write indecent words on fences), that represent some semantic code, some attitude to the world around. The culture codes reflect many different aspects of human being. The different definitions of culture correspond to these different aspects. E. g. the definition of culture treating it as a negentropy manifestation exists. Entropy is the measure of disorder or chaos in a system; according to the second law of thermodynamics, the entropy of a closed system can only grow. Accordingly to this law, sooner or later all the material in our Universe ought to get distributed uniformly by the Universe with no structures or peculiarities (compounding the essence of any phenomenon in the world). It means the so-called thermodynamic death of the Universe will come. But in reality all the things go the quite contrary way: new structures and peculiarities emerge in the flow of evolution and no growing of chaos measure is visible. In order to explain it and to eliminate the contradiction the concept of negentropy was introduced. The culture, according to this approach, is one of the negentropy manifestations, that allows to provide further structuring of the human world.
There exists also a conception of the culture as means of catharsis (providing an inner purification of human). The most famous among different conceptions is probably the playing conception of culture. The most famous adherent and founder of it was J. Huizinga,the Dutch philosopher and culture investigator. He expounded his view in the book ďHomo ludensĒ. According to him, culture is a manifestation of free playing activity of living creature. The game or play is determined by him as an activity done of the free energy excess. Already mammals and birds demonstrate it. Human, because of its belonging to mammals, also canít be imagined without it. But the human games are much more complex and subordinated to many norms and rules. They do compound the phenomenon of culture. Heizinga showed playing elements in many fields of human activity such as justice (courts are led in the form of competition between a barrister and a public prosecutor), wars (leading a war according to special rules and agreements), business, science (the defense of dissertations in the form of competition between the author and his opponents) etc. As an addition to it the theory of the sportive origin of state should be mentioned. In compliance with this theory, states arose as a means of some sort of sportive competitions between different tribes organization. In short, our culture is a manifestation and a result of playing activity of humans, thanks to which all the human civilization became possible.
What concerns the method of cultural investigation, this method is reduced mainly to the so-called hermeneutics the art of interpreting. Hermeneutics as an auxiliary philological discipline was known as early as to the ancient Greeks. In the Middle Ages hermeneutics becomes the base scholar approach and acquires not only cultural but also ontological character. The Medieval outlook proceeded from the point that any necessary knowledge was given already in the Bible. But the text of the Bible is vague and in some places inconsistent. In short it needed interpretation the hermeneutics was occupied with. These interpretations were not only interpretations of the text but the interpretations of Godís plan and that means interpretations of the being as well. In the New Time hermeneutics got a lot of work. That was the work on interpreting the history and culture.
The main problem the hermeneutics encounters with is the problem of the hermeneutic circle. It consists in that in order to realize the whole itís necessary to understand the meaning of its parts which get, however, this meaning only in the context of the whole. In other words in order to interpret the whole itís necessary at first to understand its parts; in order to understand the parts itís necessary to understand the whole. The output from the hermeneutic circle consists in that at first one needs to enter the circle and then to move inside of it until the necessary level of understanding has been attained. E. g., trying to understand the meaning of a historic event, at first we study all the spectrum of the time historic events, reconstruct the Zeitgeist of the epoch and then come back to the particular event. This moving, from particular events to the spirit of time and back from the spirit to the events, we repeat until the necessary level of comprehension would be achieved. The same concerns the interpreting of different cultures. The investigator begins from particular details and phenomena, comes from them to the culture on the whole and back to the particular details and phenomena, correcting and specifying his interpretation of them.
In the modern humanitarian science hermeneutic approaches are used in history, cultural studies, linguistics, philology, psychoanalysis (interpretation of the unconsciousness images).
Control questions and exercises
1. What is the role of communicative aspects of human life and their role in emergence of organized human societies?
2. What are the causes and preconditions of the state emergence?
3. Which role does family play in the society functioning?
4. Which role does culture play in the society functioning?
5. What is a hermeneutic circle? Give examples of it. What are ways out of it?
6. What is a game? Give examples of playing elements in science, culture, political and social life and so forth.
7. What is a philosophical structuralism? Where is it applied?
8. Compare views of Freud and Jung on the human psychics, give arguments for each of them.
9. Analyze statements and results of transpersonal psychology from the viewpoint of postpositivistical theories of science development.