n South African Journal of Higher Education - Social space : philosophical reflections

Volume 23, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Our analysis of the phrase 'social space' first of all concentrates on the modal or functional nature of the different aspects of reality, including the social and spatial aspects. Subsequently this leads to an analysis of the problem of modal analogies - one way in which an answer is given to the perennial philosophical problem concerning the coherence of irreducibles. In this account both the core meaning of diverse aspects surfaced as well as the way in which they display their meaning through their coherence with all the other aspects of reality. In addition we shall argue that a distinction must be drawn between the internal and the external coherence between the social aspect and the other aspects of reality. This points in the direction of acknowledging that all societal collectivities in principle function in all the aspects of reality, including the spatial aspect. Finally a plea is formulated for the internal space (sphere-sovereignty) of every distinct social form of life found within a differentiated society on the basis of rejecting an overestimation of the whole-parts scheme (also found in system theory), while keeping in mind that the whole-parts relation has its original (modal, functional) 'seat' within the aspect of space. This plea includes a brief analysis of the concept of an Umwelt and the term autopoeisis as well as the social space required by educational and academic institutions within a differentiated society. Finally the social space of universities within a differentiated society is assessed with special reference to the task of 'community service' and 'affirmative action'.

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