Lectures Abstracts

Dewey and Foucault: Inherited Situations and Situated Improvisations
Vincent Colapietro
The Pennsylvania State University - USA

John Dewey was as much as anything else engaged in the critical task of articulating genealogical narratives for the manifest purpose of unsettling current practices and established traditions. So, too, Michel Foucault was in many respects more of a pragmatist than are many avowed pragmatists, not least of all in his commitment to undertaking a series of experiments and his willingness to alter the course of his research in light of the results of these experiments. Both the pragmatic dimensions of Foucault's thought and the genealogical character of Dewey's project have received attention (see, e.g., John J. Stuhr's Genealogical Pragmatism and more recent essays by Colin Koopman). But there is much more to be done in bringing into sharper focus the overlapping concerns of these two pivotal thinkers. The immediate aim of this paper is, thus, to help bring these concerns into such focus. But my ultimate objective is not so much comparative as critical and constructive. That is, my most fundamental concern is not so much to highlight affinities between Dewey and Foucault but to illuminate critical features of human practices by consideration of these important theorists. In particular, I wanted to develop a thoroughly pragmatist, but also explicitly genealogical, conception of human action as situated improvisations and, in turn, just such a conception of inherited situations as implicit invitations for improvisatory responses. The root metaphor here is jazz improvisation. The fruits of this conceptualization of human action and the situations in which our improvisations unfold are nothing less than a radically revised understanding of action, agency, and practice. It is ironic and, indeed, unfortunate that nowhere in the pragmatic tradition can one find a finely detailed account of human practices. This paper can be interpreted as a step in the direction of providing such an account of our historically evolved and evolving practices. In this and other respects, it is a constructive endeavor, not simply or primarily a comparative sketch of two important thinkers.

Cosmopolitan Community Solidarity and Economic Justice: Pragmatism and Prophetic Traditions
Judith M. Green
Fordham University, New York City, USA

In this essay, I offer a pragmatist phenomenology and genealogy of the emergence of norms and practices of cosmopolitan community solidarity and associated understandings of economic justice. Widely shared individual experiences of the need for personal liberation of various kinds may lead us to recognize others' equally important though differing needs, and may thereby motivate us to develop caring, thoughtful, educative practices of cosmopolitan community solidarity in daily living that advance the actualization of these values, including episodes of conflict and the mutual shock of otherness. Such an interactive growth process can be greatly enhanced by gaining a historically realistic understanding of how cosmopolitan community solidarity has emerged as an ideal and how the meanings of social and economic justice have developed within differing earlier contexts. As valuable supplements to secular social and political histories, the liberatory and prophetic strands of various religious and spiritual traditions can function as both "outer" and "inner" histories of practices of caring for and with others amidst prolonged struggles for justice, including the wisdom gleaned from these struggles. These prophetic traditions offer a deep background for intelligently expanding the meaning of the ideals of liberty, equality, and community solidarity that have inspired democratic theorists and democratic movement activists toward democracy since the late eighteenth century. Such an intelligent expansion of shared ideal meanings can advance reasonable democratic agreement among diverse contemporary thinkers and actors about how to achieve cosmopolitan community solidarity and how to do justice in real-world contexts.

Determining Cores in Artworks: With Peircean Assistance
Carl R. Hausman
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy - The Pennsylvania State University – USA

This lecture raises the question whether there are fundamental conditions that contribute to limits on interpretations. A crucial assumption that originated this question is Charles Peirce's notion of dynamic objects, which limit or constrain acts of interpreting semeiotic referents. Cores are the dynamic objects that, as Peirce put it, "determine" the sign and in turn, the Interpretant. Although interpretations usually differ, there are cores, centers of constraints on the extent to which such differences vary.

Pragmatism and the Problem of a Cosmopolitan Aesthetics
Robert E. Innis
University of Massachusetts Lowell – USA

Ben-Ami Scharfstein in his Art Without Boundaries contends that "Art is not a single problem, nor does it have a single solution, rational or mystical". Nevertheless, proposing what he calls an "open aesthetics" and an "aesthetic pluralism" he still tries to open a path to a positive answer to a ferociously difficult question: "Is there really an aesthetics that cuts across all human cultures?" This is the core issue of a 'cosmopolitan aesthetics'. It must proceed in the face of what Scharfstein calls the ineluctable "difference between generalizations and their examples". 'Art', 'beauty', and the other cognate concepts such as 'form,' 'meaning', 'expression', 'order', and so forth are clearly notions that are meant to mark boundaries between themselves and their opposites. Does pragmatism, in its many varieties, offer conceptual or analytical tools that enable us to navigate along and between the boundaries? Does pragmatism create a 'place' for a cosmopolitan aesthetics, an aesthetics without boundaries that recognizes and valorizes differences without disappearing into the vapors of ungrounded generality? What types of categories would we need to have at our disposal to be in a position to both appreciate and understand the various manifestations of art and beauty, no matter what 'place' they come from? At what level, if any, does, or can, the American philosophical tradition engage this theme? In light of its own claim to be a 'distinctive' tradition, with a distinct location, does it have a universal enough scope to go beyond its own 'location' to supply if not the whole framework at least essential elements of a truly open aesthetics?
However, such aesthetics is not concerned with definitions or instances of art alone. The problematic status of the 'beautiful' must also be attended to as well as a host of other categories such a 'form', 'meaning', 'expression', 'order', and so forth that intersect it in differing ways and at different places. Is there, then, a way of approaching our experience of art and beauty that transcends 'place?' Or is 'place' a determining factor in defining what is to count as art and as beautiful—or as significant, ordered, expressive, formed? It is clear that there are many artistic traditions in the world and many conceptions of the beautiful and of the other general categories. Stendhal wrote that "Beauty is the promise of happiness." But he also qualified this assertion: "There are as many styles of beauty as there are visions of happiness". Styles of beauty, to be sure, are not restricted to art in any formal sense. They are embodied in and deeply penetrate ways of life at the 'lower threshold' of human culture, as the cultural geographer Yi-Fu Tuan has explored in his pathbreaking Passing Strange and Wonderful: Aesthetics, Nature, and Culture and Ellen Dissanayake in her anthropologically nuanced studies, Homo Aestheticus, What is Art For?, and Art and Intimacy.

Does Nelson Goodman's Languages of Art Belong to Semiotics?
Peter Mahr
University of Vienna - Austria

One of the major works in 20th century American philosophy, Nelson Goodman's Languages of Art, can be shown as a work of semiotics despite the author's will to not situate the book in that field and tradition. Goodman's intellectual background is shed light on with the preoccupation of earlier 20th century philosophizing about the symbol in logics and other concerns of philosophy, note Peirce, Lewis, Leonard, Morris, Cassirer, Langer and Jakobson. It is given some evidence that although notation as core notion seems to have been solely derived from a philosophical analysis of denotation in the arts as verbal and nonverbal languages or symbol systems in general, semiotic concerns come into play as late as to delineate the aesthetic by aesthetic symptoms with the fulfillment of semantic and syntactic requirements in density, repleteness, exemplification and multiple reference.

Structures of Belief: Architecture as Propaganda
Steve Skaggs
University of Louisville – USA

It is widely held that the design arts, including architecture, reflect and portray attitudes and beliefs of the client, the architect and the wider culture. However, a small percentage of edifices go beyond portrayal and act solely as vehicles of persuasion. This paper positions such propagandistic architecture at one end of a continuum marked by five distinct positions according to a building's stance vis-a-vis self and idea. Pragmaticist concepts undergird the discussion of self, of idea and of propaganda.

Peircean Seeds for a Philosophy of Art
Ivo A. Ibri
Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo – Brazil

It is common knowledge to scholars of Peirce's philosophy that he did not bequeath, amid his enormous work, something akin to a philosophy of art. This notwithstanding, I hold that Peirce's philosophy comprises a system of ideas based on which one can conceive a conceptual structure that will provide quite an original reflection on art. This originality derives, I believe, from the major metaphysical directives of his thought, namely, his realism-idealism, whose synthesis can be considered in his theories of continuity or synechism. Semiotics, albeit a normative science, has to base itself on the dialogue between signical forms and object forms, as a consequence of the main hypothesis of synechism. It cannot, therefore, be confined to the universe of the sign in its normative task. This dialogue between sign and object will restrain a nominalist understanding of that task; in other words, the generality of Semiotics will not originate from any hypothesis of transcendentality, neither could it be the source of a world founding language. These considerations are of capital importance to the founding of a philosophy of art inspired in Peirce's philosophy, since it cannot be a reductionist analysis of the language of art, or mere justification for human creativity. Therefore, this article will expand what, to my mind, could be a philosophy of Peircean art based on the seeds bequeathed by the author for a reflection on the theme.

Foucault and Kant's Pragmatic Anthropology
Márcio A. Fonseca
Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo – Brazil

We endeavor to show precise aspects of Michel Foucault's interpretation of Kant's Anthropology text from a pragmatic perspective, with the aim of indicating in what way Kantian thought will serve as fundamental reference to the French philosopher for the development of some of the main problems of his theoretical reflection, such as the notion of "ontology of the present", conceptualization of "critical attitude" and ethical conception based on the idea of "practices of the self".

Thomas Reid's Common Sense and C.S. Peirce's Critical Common-Sensism
Roberto Hofmeister Pich
Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul – Brazil

The philosophy of Thomas Reid (1710-1796) plays an important role in C.S. Peirce's pragmatism – also called by Peirce himself "critical common-sensism". Peirce certainly learned of Reid originally from the lectures by Francis Bowen (1811-1890) in Harvard. What is Peirce's philosophical debt to Reid, what are the pragmatic elements that he saw in the thoughts of the Scottish philosopher? Peirce had a personal and explicit interpretation of Reid's "principles of common sense" – they should be taken as "the instinctive result of human experience". How can Reid's principles of common sense, that turn to the very possibility and meaning of ordinary human operations, be linked to Peirce's theory of knowledge and belief? These are the questions to be explored in our study.

Induction as a Process of Progressive Determination of Concepts
Lauro F. B. da Silveira
Universidade Paulista / Marília – Brazil

Through the adoption of the pragmatic method, undetermined concepts, from their vagueness to their generality, find in inductive reasoning the way by which, throughout time, they move toward an increasingly full determination. To them will apply finally the principles of non contradiction and of the excluded third. As opposites there are borderline representations, to which none of the two principles would apply, leading to the establishment of a rule in the Existential Graphs that impede boundary cases to be considered in their strict sense.


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