Hamner seeks to discover what makes pragmatism uniquely American. She argues that the inextricably American character of pragmatism of such figures as C.S. Peirce and William James lies in its often understated affirmation of America as a uniquely religious country with a God-given mission and populated by God-fearing citizens.
Prof. H. Odera Oruka started the sage philosophy project, in which he interviewed wise elders in Kenyan rural areas to show that Africans could philosophize. He intended to create a “national culture” by drawing upon sages from different ethnic groups and he downplayed religious differences, as did Kwame Nkrumah, who had a similar goal of building “national culture” in Ghana. Both projects were secular insofar as they preferred to emphasize rationality and downplay religious belief or “superstition” as backward and needing (...) to be cast off. I deal with one apparent counter-example: at the burial trial for S. M. Otieno, Odera Oruka seemed to defend the traditional Luo belief of spirits. I note, however, that Odera Oruka is evasive and indirect in how he answers the questions and his responses could be due to his wanting to appear connected to his rural compatriots, a value explained by Frantz Fanon in his treatment of the topic of national culture. The paper concludes by alluding to extensive interviews done with the sages from Kenya on topics related to religious beliefs and practices, during which sages subject those beliefs and practices to rational scrutiny. (shrink)
"M. F. Simone Roberts's A Poetics of Being-Two is animated by a lively and engaging voice, drawing readers in with a sense of serious purpose working (delightfully) in tandem with a sense of humor. Roberts's aesthetics and her close readings of Yves Bonnefoy, St-John Perse, and Jorie Graham clearly demonstrate the literary effectiveness of Irigarayan sexual difference as an analytic trope, even as they emphasize the philosophical and political possibilities sexual difference opens up for feminism, environmentalism, and all levels of (...) contemporary cultural critique and activism."—Gail M. Schwab, Hofstra University -/- In An Ethics of Sexual Difference, Irigaray calls for a new poetics in the sense of both art and life. Rather than a critique from within philosophy, A Poetics of Being-Two tests Irigaray's ethics by extending it to other sites of cultural production. Where Irigaray's method finds stirrings and repressions of sexual difference in philosophy, this project explores that tension in poetics. Building from Irigaray's ethics, the book describes a poetics of being-two as concerns gendered subjectivity in literary poetics and then traces the on-going emergence of a poetics of being-two in the post-symbolist poetic tradition. Irigaray scholars will be interested in the sustained interpolation of Irigaray's ethical concepts as principles for a critical aesthetics and in their hermeneutic application in reading a literary tradition. Readers in comparative literature will find the first sustained feminist engagements with the major French poets Bonnefoy and Perse and an elucidation of their influence on the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Jorie Graham. (shrink)
The paper applies insights from Axel Honneth's recent book, The Struggle for Recognition , to the South African situation. Honneth argues that most movements for justice are motivated by individuals' and groups' felt need for recognition. In the larger debate over the relative importance of recognition compared with distribution, a debate framed by Taylor and Fraser, Honneth is presented as the best of both worlds. His tripartite schema of recognition on the levels of love, rights and solidarity, explains how (...) concerns for equality and difference are two separate needs, even though both must be satisfied. Past and ongoing struggles in South Africa can be understood as struggles for recognition. The African Renaissance itself, to be successful, must address economic and recognition issues simultaneously. Key Words: African Renaissance recognition social movements. (shrink)
This project continues our interdisciplinary research into computational and cognitive aspects of narrative comprehension. Our ultimate goal is the development of a computational theory of how humans understand narrative texts. The theory will be informed by joint research from the viewpoints of linguistics, cognitive psychology, the study of language acquisition, literary theory, geography, philosophy, and artiﬁcial intelligence. The linguists, literary theorists, and geographers in our group are developing theories of narrative language and spatial understanding that are being tested by the (...) cognitive psychologists and language researchers in our group, and a computational model of a reader of narrative text is being developed by the AI researchers, based in part on these theories and results and in part on research on knowledge representation and reasoning. This proposal describes the knowledge-representation and natural-language-processing issues involved in the computational implementation of the theory; discusses a contrast between communicative and narrative uses of language and of the relation of the narrative text to the story world it describes; investigates linguistic, literary, and hermeneutic dimensions of our research; presents a computational investigation of subjective sentences and reference in narrative; studies children’s acquisition of the ability to take third-person perspective in their own storytelling; describes the psychological validation of various linguistic devices; and examines how readers develop an understanding of the geographical space of a story. This report is a longer version of a project description submitted to NSF. This document, produced in May 2007, is a L ATEX version of Technical Report 89-07 (Buffalo: SUNY Buffalo Department of Computer Science, August 1989), with slightly.. (shrink)
A recent story in USA Today about the war in Afghanistan drew a direct parallel to the film Black Hawk Down : When the history of the war is written, the traumatic battle in the mountains around the Shah-e-Kot Valley will be remembered as a testament to heroism: A bloodied, outnumbered band of US servicemen held off a determined al-Qaeda force on frigid rocky terrain at least 8,000 feet above sea level. Call it Black Hawk Down in the snow. (Jonathan (...) Weisman, "Deadliest day for US", USA Today 3/6/02). Why would a reporter (Jonathan Weisman) interrupt his recitation of the facts of the battle, right near the start of his article, to suggest that readers should mimic the judgment of the film? Because the film seems to have a message, not only about history, but about the current US war on terrorism: support our troops, and donï¿½t question a warï¿½s intent or methods. (shrink)
Research on the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of human genomics has devoted significant attention to the research ethics issues that arise from genomic science as it moves through the translational process. Given the prominence of these issues in today's debates over the state of research ethics overall, these studies are well positioned to contribute important data, contextual considerations, and policy arguments to the wider research ethics community's deliberations, and ultimately to develop a research ethics that can help guide (...) biomedicine's future. In this essay, we illustrate this thesis through an analytic summary of the research presented at the 2011 ELSI Congress, an international meeting of genomics and society researchers. We identify three pivotal factors currently shaping genomic research, its clinical translation, and its societal implications: (1) the increasingly blurred boundary between research and treatment; (2) uncertainty — that is, the indefinite, indeterminate, and incomplete nature of much genomic information and the challenges that arise from making meaning and use of it; and (3) the role of negotiations between multiple scientific and non-scientific stakeholders in setting the priorities for and direction of biomedical research, as it is increasingly conducted “in the public square.”. (shrink)
The paper explores the methodology and goals of H. Odera Oruka’s sage philosophy project. Oruka interviewed wise persons who were mostly illiterate and from the rural areas of Kenya to show that a long tradition of critical thinking and philosophizing exists in Africa, even if there is no written record. His descriptions of the role of the academic philosopher turned interviewer varied, emphasizing their refraining from imposition of their own views (the social science model), their adding their own ideas (like (...) Plato), or their midwifery in helping others give birth to their own ideas (like Socrates). The accuracy and consistency of the various metaphors used by Oruka is the main focus of the article’s analysis. The article sums up the shortcomings of Oruka’s method as well as its strengths and concludes with Oruka’s challenge to academic philosophers to rethink their own roles in society. (shrink)
This paper explores Odera Oruka’s sage philosophy project, focusing on his insistence of the parallels between Socrates and the rural Kenyan sages whom he interviewed and who he considered to be orally philosophizing. Sages, he explained are those who possess wisdom, insight, ethical inspiration, and who use their talents for the benefit of the community. Key parallels between the sages and Socrates are: Socrates’ criticisms of conventional morality; his insistence on the moral virtues of practicing temperance; his emphasis on dialogue (...) and his methods of guiding dialogue; and his guiding individuals as well as the community. Socrates says he is called by the god to challenge individual Athenians to become morally better; this descriptor, while fitting some contemporary academic philosophers, accurately reflects the convictions and actions of most African sages. Socrates often depicted his wisdom as listening to a “voice” within him that came beyond himself; similarly, Kenyan sages interviewed attributed their wisdom to God. But both Socrates and the Kenyan sages assess the truth of insights communicated spiritually, and are able to explain the ideas to others using reason. (shrink)
: Gail Mason's Spectacle of Violence undertakes an important project in confronting a number of serious questions about definitions of violence and power, and about the nature of experience, subjectivity, and mind/body dualisms. Hartsock's comments on the book focus on issues of experience, embodiment, and standpoint theories.
: This response seeks to pick up on the key questions and concerns raised by Nancy C. M. Hartsock and Karen Houle in their critiques of The Spectacle of Violence. I mold my response around two emotions that are never far from the question of violence: fear and hope. Is it fear of ambiguity that stops us from delicately blending the experiential with the discursive, the nodal with the circular, the corporeal with the epistemic, or the oppressive with the (...) constitutive? If so, we can only hope that the power of such ambivalence lies in its ability to unsettle these treasured lines of force. (shrink)