On The Irreducibility of Concepts and Their Unaccountability (Part One)
The problem of a classical theory of concepts (definitionism), which amounts to the same thing as a classification theory in general, is not only the assumption of some underlying identity of a concept (the same essentialism that Wittgenstein would critique, opting for the notion of ‘family resemblance’ instead) but also the problem of how the ‘subject’ personally associates with the concept it encounters. The critique of the definitional theory of concepts and essences has been well exemplified in thinkers such as Wittgenstein and Deleuze (through polythetic methods and pluralism) yet the critique of a neutral presupposed ground for the ‘shareability’ of concepts is sorely lacking. The two critiques should really come hand-in-hand, unless one decides to give concept formation and analysis a purely socio-historical remit which would make the signified (concept) a purely social-historical product, reducible and diaphanous with socio-historical reality.
In many ways the positivistic attitude towards the shareability of concepts mirrors that same attitude we find in contemporary capitalism and mass conformism; everything can be shared and converted without any significant amount of noise in the process (of consumption).
If we are to take anything from Wittgenstein’s family resemblances (or language games) it should not solely be the account that language determines the reality (or meaning-as-use) of the content it attempts to articulate( we could then reduce concepts to the roles words have in a language game ) but rather the opposite; that the fundamental identity of a concept is never there in the first place but rather extrapolating and assimilating in a given situation (; overlapping similarities in the games that produce and even precede the ‘family’ i.e identity). The shareability of concepts is set ‘in-the-last-instance’ (one could even say reduced in-the-last-instance) but the playfulness of the game always suggests otherwise (i.e the dialectic, conceptual animism/creatures, the agnostic disjunction/decision, the subjective affectivity of the ‘shareholder’ of the concept (the neurotic)). I will explain all these incoherent factors in the succeeding passages…