Ethnomethods enworld

Everything is ethnomethod. Not only human behavior, but human-shaped environments. And not only these, but the language we use for discussing the human world. But it extends even further. How we use language in general — this, too, is ethnomethod.

And most people go on applying these ethnomethods in the private spaces within their ethos, where strictly speaking, this is not necessary. We normally think and behave socially even in our homes, among our intimates, and even within the radical privacy of our own minds. We internalize the social.

Some people, however, choose to establish an asocial private realm where they think or behave in ways that are incompatible with public societies. These private thoughts and actions are not ethnomethods, but they are living kernels with the potential to become ethnomethods, were they to be adopted by a group (to make sense to/of each other).

Some people, at their own peril, try to carry these protoethnomethods into the social world, and these incompatible actions clash with the established ethnomethods and are, in effect, breaching experiments.

People can, intentionally or accidentally, transform themselves into continuous breaching experiments.

Philosophies are conceptive ethnomethods or protoethnomethods.

Doing philosophy is performing conceptive breaching experiments upon oneself, and then developing new conceptive protoethnomethods to replace or, better, to subsume one’s existing (proto)ethnomethods.

Of course, ethnomethodology was developed from pragmatism. So why bother reconceiving or redescribing pragmatism in terms of the ethnomethodology derived from it?

Ethnomethodology extended pragmatism beyond the space of explicit reasons into the space of tacit conception and response. This realm of tacit conception and response, it turns out (or at least, so it seems to me) to effect not only life outside of our reasoning but also reasoning itself.

What results from changing the (proto)ethnomethods we use for thinking and speaking in a way that also changes the ethnomethods of making sense of the world and making sense in the world is a change that goes beyond changes in the content of our thoughts but changes how we spontaneously conceive and respond to reality. It changes our very enworldment.

With full awareness that I am breaching our current ethnomethods governing use of religious conceptions and language, I will say that the goal of religion has been is to shift from one enworldment to another enworldment — one that converts find less alienated and alienating, and more fulfilling than the old one.

A convert is likely to speak in terms of truth and falsehood. I believe speaking in terms of more or less fitting and preferable enworldments might help us understand religion more pluralistically. More ambitiously, I hope that enworldment language and conceptions might help secular people see how religion is a respectable option for people who wish to live better lives.


The use of philosophical means to develop better, more preferable enworldments is my core interest. This is where my interest in design, philosophy and religion intersect.

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