The author presents a novel interpretation of Peirce's ‘speculative rhetoric’ (the third and culminating branch of his general theory of signs), then draws out the most important implications of Peircean rhetoric for understanding our educational practices and, more generally, human learning. Improvisation and the unanticipated emergence of novel purposes are herein stressed.
Questo saggio offre un ritratto pragmatista del sé e dunque una descrizione che parte dalla premessa per cui il sé è anzitutto un attore sociale incarnato, situato, che possiede la capacità di un’effettiva autocritica. Così, oltre a evidenziare il ruolo dell’azione, l’autore sottolinea anche quello della socialità e della riflessività. A differenza di molti ritratti abbozzati da altri autori pragmatisti, quello presente cerca di rendere una più completa giustizia alla dimensione «interiore» della soggettività umana, soprattutto attraverso la costruzione dell’interiorità come (...) riflessività (il rapporto del sé con se stesso). (shrink)
Among his other contributions to advancing our understanding of classical American pragmatism and, in particular, Charles S. Peirce, none is more worthy of our attention than Richard S. Robin's characteristically painstaking attempt to address the puzzle of Peirce's "Proof" of pragmaticism.1 In this as in so many other respects,2 he shows himself to be, in effect, the student of Max H. Fisch (see especially 1986, chapter 19).3 There are hermeneutical traditions as well as philosophical ones and often the former are (...) integral parts of the latter. This is certainly the case regarding pragmatism. A deeper or better understanding of the inaugural figures in this philosophical movement is taken, by the interpreters of .. (shrink)
The most effective—indeed, the only—way to make the future different from the past is, in the judgment of pragmatists such as William James, John Dewey, and George Herbert Mead, to remake the present. As Dewey notes, "present activity" is the only phase of human conduct really under our control (MW 14.184). 1 For just this reason, we must be mindful of the past and solicitous about the future as well as attuned to the present: "Memory of the past, observation of (...) the present, foresight of the future are indispensable. But they are indispensable to a present liberation, an enriching growth of action" unfolding in the here and now (MW 14.182). 2 Dewey goes so far as to assert: "We do not use the .. (shrink)
This essay explores important intersections between the thought of John Dewey and Michel Foucault, with special attention to the distinction between emancipation versus practices of freedom. The complex relationship between these thinkers is, at once, complementary, divergent, and overlapping. The author however stresses the way in which both Dewey and Foucault portray situated subjects as improvisational actors implicated in unique situations, the meaning of which turns on the extemporaneous exertions of these implicated agents.
From time to time, Peter H. Hare emphatically reminded me he was drawn to William James as a philosopher, not just a stylist. While Peter1 was throughout his life appreciative of James's efforts to articulate an ethics of belief (see, e.g., Hare 2003), he was skeptical of them in the context of religion. He felt compelled to hound the gods and their defenders (Hare and Madden 1969). Even so, the ethics of belief outlined and partly filled in by James provided (...) Peter with crucial insights for developing a distinctive form of responsibilism2 (Hare 2003, 240).3In addition to the ethics of belief, James's reconstruction of experience provided, Peter argued, an invaluable resource for mounting an effective defense of .. (shrink)
George Santayana was not only a poet but also a philosopher whose style, concerns, and even positions drew in his own time and continues to draw in ours the attention of poets and, more broadly, literary authors. He was, in short, a poet's philosopher. In so characterizing Santayana, however, there is no slight of his strictly philosophical achievement. The philosophical finesse with which he treated complex topics is, indeed, nowhere more evident than in his rigorous analysis of poetic utterance. The (...) author of this essay explores Santayana's nuanced account of poetic utterance and, then, interprets Santayana's own literary accomplishments, including his philosophical writings, in light of this account. Given the attention which Angus Kerr-Lawson has paid to the rhetorical strategies and literary qualities of this singular philosopher, it is fitting to contribute such an essay to an issue in his honor. (shrink)
This response affirms the content of the previous two articles but is focused on highlighting some features of Polanyi’s and Langer’s philosophies they do not emphasize. The rise of knowledge and trajectory of meaning Polanyi and Langer describe may be seen as incorporating a complex, innovative process of acknowledgment – of tradition, social norms, previous experience, and personal commitments of which one may not even be aware – for which one is responsible.
Fourteen philosophers share their experience teaching Peirce to undergraduates in a variety of settings and a variety of courses. The latter include introductory philosophy courses as well as upper-level courses in American philosophy, philosophy of religion, logic, philosophy of science, medieval philosophy, semiotics, metaphysics, etc., and even an upper-level course devoted entirely to Peirce. The project originates in a session devoted to teaching Peirce held at the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. The session, (...) organized by <span class='Hi'>James</span> Campbell and Richard Hart, was co-sponsored by the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. (shrink)
Too often C. S. Peirce’s theory of signs is used simply as a classificatory scheme rather than primarily as a heuristic framework (that is, a framework designed and modified primarily for the purpose of goading and guiding inquiry in any field in which signifying processes or practices are present). Such deployment of his semeiotic betrays the letter no less than the spirit of Peirce’s writings on signs. In this essay, the author accordingly presents Peirce’s sign theory as a heuristic framework, (...) attending to some of the most important ways that it might serve to facilitate a semeiotic investigation of our legal practices. He pays close attention to the ways the topics of history, formalism, reductionism, and generality become, from a Peircean perspective, salient features of legal studies. (shrink)
: While the work of such expositors as Max H. Fisch, James J. Liszka, Lucia Santaella, Anne Friedman, and Mats Bergman has helped bring into sharp focus why Peirce took the third branch of semiotic (speculative rhetoric) to be "the highest and most living branch of logic," more needs to be done to show the extent to which the least developed branch of his theory of signs is, at once, its potentially most fruitful and important. The author of this paper (...) thus begins to trace out even more fully than these scholars have done the unfinished trajectory of Peirce's eventual realization of the importance of speculative rhetoric. In doing so, he is arguing for a shift from the formalist and taxonomic emphasis of so many commentators to a more thoroughly pragmaticist and "rhetorical" approach to interpreting Peirce's theory of signs. (shrink)
The task of philosophy is examined in reference to the actual circumstances of academic philosophy, principally in the United States. The author challenges the still prevalent tendency to conceive academic philosophy as an affair split into two camps—most often identified as analytic and Continental philosophy. Moreover, he proposes a distinctive understanding of the dialectical approach to philosophical query, one attuned to the traditional character of the relevant alternatives and also to the ideological dimension of contemporary disputes, but not one necessarily (...) undertaken for sake of resolving disagreements or achieving consensus. The very goals animating the process of working through substantive, methodological, and other differences (in a word, animating dialectic) are themselves critical foci of an ongoing process open not only to question but also alteration: the aims of query are being continuously transformed or redefined in course of this undertaking. In proposing this understanding of dialectic, he draws heavily on the examples of Richard J. Bernstein, John McCumber, and especially John E. Smith. Finally, the author offers an example of how such an approach can be effectively eliminated, even by an individual who in almost every other respect is an exemplary philosopher. If (as John Courtney Murray, S.J., asserts) civility “dies with the death of dialogue,” philosophy can live only by the continual renewal of genuine dialogueacross diverse traditions. (shrink)
: The author of this paper explores a central strand in the complex relationship between Peirce and Kant. He argues, against Kant (especially as reconstructed by Christine Korsgaard), that the practical identity of the self-critical agent who undertakes a Critic of reason (as Peirce insisted upon translating this expression) needs to be conceived in substantive, not purely formal, terms. Thus, insofar as there is a reflexive turn in Peirce, it is quite far from the transcendental turn taken by Immanuel Kant. (...) The identity of the being devoted to redefining the bounds of reason (for the drawing of such bounds is always a historically situated and motivated undertaking) is not that of a disembodied, rational will giving laws to itself. Nor is it that of a being whose passions and especially sentiments are heteronomous determinations of the deliberative agency in question. Rather the identity of this being is that of a somatic, social, and historical agent whose very autonomy not only traces its origin to heteronomy but also ineluctably involves an identification with what, time and again, emerges as other than this agent. A strong claim is made regarding human identity being practical identity (practical identity being understood here as the singular shape acquired by a human being in the complex course of its practical involvements, its participation in the array of practices in and through which such a being carries out its life). An equally strong claim is made regarding the upshot of Peirce's decisive movement beyond Kant's transcendental project: this movement unquestionably drives toward a compelling account of human agency. (shrink)
Peirce was a thinker who claimed that his mind had been thoroughly formed by his rigorous training in the natural sciences. But he was also the author who proclaimed that nothing is truer than true poetry. In making the case for Peirce’s relevance to issues of education, then, it is necessary to do justice to the multifaceted character of his philosophical genius, in particular, to the experimentalist cast of his mind and his profound appreciation for the aesthetic, the imaginative, and (...) (more narrowly) the metaphorical in their myriad guises. My aim in this paper is to go some distance, however small, toward doing such justice to Peirce. (shrink)
One criticism of pragmatism, forcefully articulated by Stanley Cavell, is that pragmatism fails to deal with mourning, understood in the psychoanalytic sense as grief-work (Trauerarbeit). Such work would seemingly be as pertinent to philosophical investigations (especially ones conducted by pragmatists) as to psychoanalytic explorations. Finding such themes as mourning and loss in R. W. Emerson's writings, Cavell warns against assimilating Emerson's voice to that of American pragmatism, especially Dewey's instrumentalism, for such assimilation risks the loss or repression of Emerson's voice (...) in not only professional philosophy but also American culture. While granting Emerson's distinctive voice, this essay argues that the way Cavell insists on differences problematically represses recognition of the Emersonian strains in Dewey's own philosophical voice. In doing so, Cavell falsely flattens the resounding depth of Dewey's philosophical voice and narrows the expansive range of pragmatic intelligence. But Dewey all too often lends himself to such a misreading, for his writings at once repress and embody the strains of a distinctively Emersonian voice. (shrink)
This paper focuses upon "bebop" as a distinctively urban movement for the purpose of contributing to the articulation of a distinctively urban aesthetics. The author examines both how the music was taken up in such cities as New York, Los Angeles, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Chicago, and in turn how an urban sensibility was expressed in this particular movement.
John William Miller's radical revision of the idealistic tradition anticipated some of the most important developments in contemporary thought. In this study, Vincent Colapietro situates Miller's powerful but neglected corpus not only in reference to Continental European philosophy but also to paradigmatic figures in American culture like Lincoln, Emerson, Thoreau, and James.
: This paper both elaborates and interrogates the transactional model of human experience at the center of Shannon W. Sullivan's Living Across and Through Skins. In particular, it highlights the need (especially given her concerns and commitments) to supplement her account with a psychoanalytic reading of our gendered subjectivities. Moreover, it stresses the necessity to focus on such humanly important—and irreducibly somatic—phenomena as grief and eros.