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Understanding as a Construction of Social Reality


Oleksandr Bilokobylskyi

The article suggests an interpretation of human understanding as a threelevel process of aligning sensory material with intersubjectively fixed patterns of social games, whose repertoire and general characteristics (which shape tactical game goals, priorities, general norms, and values) are ordered by the ontological schemes of cultural ideas about existence as such. Ontological schemes are assimilated by each social individual as limiting notions of the order of the universe, of the possible and the impossible, and such schemes constitute the limiting background of understanding. The system of social games, which are included in the cultural repertoire, presupposes a certain configuration of the cultural field of its own realization and the type of subjectivity as well as a specific rationality as an invariant and mediator of social activity, and, therefore, this system constitutes the lifeworld of a specific culture. It is shown that stable empirical complexes (things) are functions of social games, which, in turn, cannot falsify cultural ontology. Due to that, the fundamental ideas of a cultural subject about the world, society, and a person remain stable for a long period. In the past, changes in ontological schematism could be associated with transitional breaks in cultural paradigms, for example, between ancient culture and Christianity. At the same time, purposeful actualization of various “regions” of the lifeworld, even in a short period, can change the beliefs of a particular social group or community as a whole. If the process of understanding in the form of translating empirical material into playing and ontological schematism can be identified as the construction of social reality, then, in the case of purposeful manipulation of the repertoire of social games (via media, social networks, political regulations, political technologies, etc.), one cannot but see an external interference in natural processes of reproduction of the semantic universe of culture.


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