Central European Pragmatist Forum - Bratislava, Budapest, Praha, Warszawa, Wien (www.cepf.sk)

Board of Directors

Emil Visnovsky
co-chair, Slovakia
Department of Philosophy and
History of Philosophy

Faculty of Arts
Comenius University
Šafárikovo nám. 6
818 01 Bratislava
Slovakia
visnovsky@fphil.uniba.sk

John Ryder
Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
American University of Ras Al Khaimah
PO Box: 20012
Ras Al Khaimah
United Arab Emirates
john.ryder@aurak.ae

James Campbell
USA

Michael Eldridge †
USA

Igor Hanzel
Slovakia

Krystyna Wilkoszewska
Poland

Leszek Koczanowicz
Poland

Sandor Kremer
Hungary

Sami Pihlstrom
Findland

Lyubov Bugaeva
Russia

Radim Šíp
Czech Republic

Gert-R. Wegmarshaus
Germany

Carlos Mougan
Spain

Jane Skinner
South Africa

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FOREWORD

FOREWORD

Pragmatists are still rather heady—unprepared, perhaps even bewildered—by the news that pragmatism has begun a new career. They were plainly caught off guard by its revival in the closing decades of the last century, triggered largely by the import of Richard Rorty’s having identified himself as a postmodernist pragmatist and by his running dispute with Hilary Putnam, who willingly marked himself as a more orthodox proponent of a pragmatism more indebted to James and Dewey than to Peirce, but in any case strongly opposed to Rorty’s deconstructive tendencies. The doctrinal allegiances hardly matter now. What matters is the recovery of the daring of the classic beginnings of pragmatism centered—as Rorty and Putnam have emphasized—on the stubbornly problematic nature of the standard questions of meaning and truth in the context of a viable life, and the sense that life itself is a flux, not a chaos.

Pragmatism had run its course in the 40s, seemed to have come close to the end of its string. Rorty’s declaration signaled a loss of confidence in the zeal of analytic philosophy itself—a distinct sense of a profound misreading of its own powers. Putnam countered but was caught short with too much of the baggage of the old hegemony and not enough of a viable compromise to show the way to a fresh beginning. His Carus Lectures, for instance, ended in an intolerable “internal realism” and his strongest statement, in Reason, Truth and History, seemed to rest on an untenable Grenzbegriff, which Rorty saw at once would never stand. Each treated the other as implicitly committed to an untenable relativism, where relativism might have appeared more reasonable than the extreme views each espoused. In any case, now, in the first decade of the new century, pragmatism has taken fire throughout the Eurocentric world (and beyond), with a willingness to morph into new forms hospitable to the local philosophical histories of the societies thus contacted that had no developed allegiance to the special loyalties of a parochial American world.

I have myself felt in a most personal way the enthusiasm of the resurgence of pragmatism in the Slavic world, which champions a level of intellectual liberation of a rather thrilling sort. Better than naïve, I would say, fresh with a kind of hope the Americans might themselves wish to warm their minds by. At the moment, the conferences that are springing up like wild flowers in Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Spain, Finland, Germany, Italy, Britain, Brazil—to name a few of the livelier sites—mingle a nostalgia for the classic authors and a need to hybridize the recovering culture in a way that is almost deliberately experimental. The work that’s emerging shows every sign of bringing into play a run of new forms of discipline that could hardly have been generated from America alone and is clearly prepared to abandon the partisan loyalties of the past. Which is all to the good, since the energies of late American pragmatism spanning, say, the interval from the fifties to the seventies and eighties was distinctly out of touch with the strongest currents of Eurocentric philosophy.

I think the lesson must be a general one. The philosophical energies of the Western world have been feeding on recycled nourishment for a long time now. They’ve honed their talents in a technically impressive way, but they’ve lacked a new vision for a long time. Evidently the new breed wanted cannot be produced by brute will alone. It must be fostered with some quiet care. It’s not a gift to be passed on; it’s a hybrid possibility. The clue I recommend is a political one. We cannot produce the convincing strains that are needed without enlisting the best powers of the new soil. The Americans are fond of invoking the democratic model. (Some of the papers in the present collection make this perfectly clear.) But even democracy will take diverse forms in diverse soils (as American foreign policy has yet to learn). The new energies are unlikely to come from pragmatism’s original soil, except as American philosophers may have learned to absorb the dawning visions of pragmatism’s new hosts. Dewey and James and Peirce would have found the stubborn fixities of post-classic pragmatism more than a little strange. How could their own daring be transformed into a canon? From the side of the custodians of the American doctrine, you must enlist the alien traditions you never knew before. There’s the innovation behind the present collection. Not merely a movable feast of Americans performing in new cities, but a mingling of the homegrown and its adventurous possibilities abroad.

Pragmatism was never a finished doctrine. It couldn’t have been. But it hardly engaged its natural opponents during its first hegemony. And so it dwindled into near-oblivion. The trouble is, nearly every large movement that dominated Western philosophy in the last century has lost its vigor and now finds no replacement on the horizon. So pragmatism’s revival is a second chance, unearned perhaps but possibly more promising than the failed fixities of its rivals. That is what I suppose the new enthusiasm signifies: a conceptual flexibility that avoids the scientisms of the analysts and the anti-naturalisms of the continentals, and through it all remains committed to the most generous vision of humanity it can conceive. It gains ground from the exhausted assurances of its opponents, and we ourselves are witnesses to its brief reprieve. But what the philosophical world will make of it has still to be spelled out by its newest adherents. It will have to find a common thread that can negate the one-sided transient victories of all the recent movements that are all but defeated now—including the remembered forays of its own insufficient past.

I find it impossible to keep myself from speculating—in the briefest of ways—about the central themes of pragmatism’s evolving second (or third) future. I think it will have to recover a deeper mastery of the meaning of the innovations that span the work of Kant and Hegel, which together usher in the whole of “modern” modern philosophy. For one thing, all that is meant by the trifurcation of pragmatist, analytic, and continental inquiries is historically grounded in the same sources, which make them legible to themselves and one another and still inspires the best work that attends to the questions of truth, meaning, and knowledge that motivated the original work of the early pragmatists and the main themes of Western philosophy to this day. The analytic/pragmatist discussion has pretty well come to a stalemate—not quite to the extreme skepticism Rorty tendered as the successor form of pragmatism itself, but certainly something quite close to it that needs to be addressed head on. For a second, according to my own preferences, pragmatism joining with whatever movements in whatever creative union we may devise, will have to explore the neglected conceptual resources of historicity and evolution (linking, say, Hegel and Darwin), perhaps inventively enough to restore a sense of the fruitfulness of epistemology’s importance.

I think the touchstones of pragmatism’s past may fairly be said to include the following issues: the flux of the world; the early forms of the pragmatic theory of meaning; fallibilism and the finite/infinite continuum of science and inquiry; the human being as itself a sign (perhaps the principal sign) of and in a thoroughly semiotized or semiotically transformed natural world; and the explication of the endlessly evolving complexities of the democratic vision of human possibility in accord with the doctrines just mentioned. Success enough in the near future must, I think, count on the isolation and engagement of the strongest currents of congenial thought in all the movements that pragmatism might hope to co-opt or penetrate or be penetrated by.

As I see the matter, the single most inclusive undertaking that might bring all of this together in a pointedly productive way would feature the analysis of the cultural world and the relationship between physical nature and human culture. It’s a startling fact that the analysis of the cultural world has been remarkably neglected in both analytic and pragmatist philosophies, even where the materials and issues of that world are favored in our inquiries. Continental philosophy, hermeneutics in particular, has never failed to acknowledge its primacy. If pragmatism could reach a sustainable, mutually enriching exchange with hermeneutically-minded philosophies, whether hermeneutic in the classic sense or neo-Kantian or phenomenological (as, in a close comparison between Peirce and Cassirer), it would greatly strengthen philosophy’s sense of the validity of pragmatism’s reprieve. These are of course terribly abbreviated suggestions. But they do begin to mark what we should be thinking of in considering how to redeem pragmatism’s new opportunity. You may disagree and I would certainly support your right. But then what I offer is at least a target of opportunity of the right sort.

Joseph Margolis


PREFACE

The Central European Pragmatist Forum (CEPF) was founded in 2000 as a mechanism with which to bring together American and European specialists in American philosophy. The value of doing so was and continues to be based on two observations. The first is that over the past several decades there has been sustained, occasionally growing, interest on the part of European scholars in the history of American philosophy in general and American pragmatism in particular. It is in the interest of the scholarship undertaken by European specialists that they be as conversant as possible with the work being done in the US itself, and there is no better way to do that than to have the opportunity to meet and talk with American specialists in the field. The second observation is that though in general it seldom happens, it is in the interest of American specialists in American philosophy (or history, or literature, or culture...) to be familiar with how their subject matter is understood abroad. It is therefore as valuable for American scholars to meet and speak with their European counterparts as it is for Europeans to become familiar with the Americans.

With all of this in mind it was decided that the CEPF would host a conference every two years that would be an attempt to create something of an international community of scholars of American philosophy. The first Pragmatist Forum was held in Stara Lesna, Slovakia in 2000, the second in Krakow, Poland in 2002, the third in Potsdam, Germany in 2004, and the fourth in Szeged, Hungary in 2006. The meetings are all small by design, with fifteen American and 15 European scholars. It lasts for a week, all participants give presentations, and all presentations are plenary sessions. In other words, the conferences are occasions for leading specialists in the field to listen to one another and to discuss issues germane to the field. The fifth Pragmatist Forum was held in Brno, Czech Republic, in May 2008.

The organizers and participants in the CEPF have been fortunate to be able to publish selections from each of the CEPF conferences. The current volume consists of selected papers from the Fourth Central European Pragmatist Forum that took place in Szeged, Hungary in May-June, 2006, hosted by the University of Szeged. The theme of the Szeged meeting was Self and Society, and the papers that comprise the volume address issues that in some way deal with the theme, some more directly than others.

The editors have organized the conference papers in five sections: I . Self and History; II . Self and Society; III . Self and Politics; IV . Self and Neopragmatism; V . Interview with Richard Rorty. Each section consists of papers that elaborate various dimensions of the topics.

The papers in Section I, Self and History, focus on the traditional pragmatist approach to the self. Ramon Rodriguez Aguilera argues that today we have a special need for a confluence of personal identity and our socio-cultural situation. He assumes that the interdependence of self and society is getting stronger and stronger in a globalizing world. According to his view, "an appropriate and well orientated Self does require some social commitments for a desirable, peaceful life, embracing at present (potentially) the whole human community; the life and death of others cannot be completely indifferent to one.s meaning of life, when we all share a world in common." Aguilera points out that C. S. Peirce.s philosophy can provide the framework for such an approach today. Peirce convincingly argued that individual persons are constituted through their identification with a community. In addition, "in our current historical moment the emergence of such a cultural or social community, first conceived by Peirce as a semiotic community, is a major task." "Interdependence" is also central notion for James Campbell. He is concerned above all with William James.s social understanding of the self. In analyzing James.s views in The Principles of Psychology, Campbell shows us how James distinguished the "I" and the "me," and then he explains the constituents of the "me": "the material Self," "the social Self," and "the spiritual Self." We have as many different but connected selves within us as we have relations to our material and spiritual features and to other human beings and communities. In showing "me" in situations of self-evaluation and the conflicting aspects of "I" and "me," Campbell persuades us that

American Pragmatism offers us an understanding of the human self that is both embodied and social. The human individual has emerged through a complex process of problem-solving that was carried on by ancestors of an increasingly social nature. James.s volume, The Principles of Psychology, helps us to understand this evolutionary process. He helps us, in particular, to understand how our sense of self . of self-identity, of self-worth, and of self-improvement . is tied up with our life in community. In his descriptive psychology, much more than in his ethical and political thought, James presents an understanding of the self as a social being.

Richard E. Hart compares John Steinbeck.s and John Dewey.s views about the relationship between individual and community. He stresses the point that the interconnectedness of these two poles is inevitably important for both American "Johns." However, for both "Steinbeck and Dewey the various relations between individual and community have to be characterized in terms that are both fluid and dynamic. Neither adheres to a firm, unbending manner of explaining the nature of the relations and interactions." There are differences regarding consistency of their views, but essentially they had the same standpoint in this respect. It is also among their similarities that both Steinbeck and Dewey were influenced by evolutionary science and the fundamental concept of ecology. "Both American .Johns. it turns out have a great deal to tell us about the nature of individual and community relations." Don Morse returns to John Dewey.s original intention that our pragmatist task is not to "practicalize" intelligence but to intellectualize practice. Such an interdependence and interconnectedness is beyond question in Dewey.s philosophy. Pragmatism provides detailed theoretical arguments for recognizing that society helps to shape the self, but this is not the real question according to Morse. "Yet when the theoretical arguments are all laid out, and when all is said and done, the more pressing issue is a concrete one . what types of selves are shaped by what types of societies? How can we use this knowledge of social self-definition to improve the kinds of selves we become?" Dewey has shown us in Human Nature and Conduct and Individualism Old and New, where he wrote about the "lost individual," that an inadequately democratic society can shape only lost individuals, and such individuals in turn reinforce such a society. Morse argues that

as a concrete instance of this fact, one can say that American society shapes the self into a lost self. This is the exact situation that pragmatism must work against, preventing the social misshaping of individuals as happens to Americans today. American individuals, lost, detached from any stable social framework, are at the mercy of external forces. They are confused and bewildered, open to suggestion, unable to form a self-directing public. It is a dire situation. There is a lesson here, I suspect, for pragmatism. It must resist becoming the new scholasticism. Rich in theory, it must nonetheless remain true to its practical roots. Pragmatism must use its theoretical insights to illuminate concrete problems.

The papers in Section II on Self and Society concentrate explicitly on the very rich relationships between the two. Michael Eldridge expresses his concern that pragmatic values would not provide one with sufficient leverage to oppose such moral evils as slavery in the United States prior to the Civil War or the Nazi holocaust. One needs objective values to counter conventional moral practice. Dewey and Mackie.s rejections of fixed ends and objective prescriptions are unacceptable forms of social relativism. Dewey the pragmatist was unconventional in his ethical thinking. That a historicist can adopt unconventional ethical norms should not be unthinkable, but apparently it is for some. They can only conceive of ethical norms as given or found. They cannot regard one.s (or their predecessor.s) constructions as being action-guiding when the action required is unconventional. Yet in this paper Eldridge offers examples in Dewey.s and Mackie.s thought that the conventionalist critic would not regard as either a fixed end or an objective prescription. Dewey thought, for example, that it was a significant implication of the scientific approach for our common practice that it showed us how to be a self-correcting society. By adopting an experimental, collaborative approach to deliberation we would be able to modify our dysfunctional practices. To accuse him of being convention-bound is to reject Dewey.s "life-long effort" to "make our present beliefs, attitudes, and institutions more intelligent than they would be otherwise." We can as individuals and a society self-correct. Eldridge holds that we are not bound to the way things are at any given time.

Larry Hickman analyzes the interesting similarities between Bruno Latour.s and John Dewey.s understanding of the social. Given the fact that "pragmatism" is a very loose term that has many meanings, Hickman says that Dewey was a pragmatist in the limited sense of the theory of meaning that he shared with Peirce and James. However, his functionalism, geneticism, instrumentalism, and experimentalism all had to come into play if his pragmatism were to be applicable within the spheres that he wished it to be. Having registered that caveat, Hickman proceeds with a suggestion that the work of Latour advances the work of Dewey in interesting and admirable ways. He shows that Dewey.s account is remarkably similar:

There is no fixed society or social structure, and there is no atomic individual. Individuals form publics and are in turn informed as a part of Latour.s .cascade of transformations.. An individual may be (and probably is) a member of many overlapping publics, some of which may even be working at cross-purposes. Publics come and go. They come into existence as required, they are transformed as a consequence of changing conditions, including interactions with other publics, and they pass out of existence when the conditions that called them into being are no longer present.

In short, "both Dewey and Latour reject the essentialism that is often apparent in traditional accounts of the social. Both emphasize the functional-instrumentalist nature of social entities." According to Hickman, both are deeply pragmatist in the mentioned narrow sense of "pragmatism."

Carlos Mougan.s paper aims to show how Mead.s philosophical anthropology and Dewey.s political philosophy provide the basis for an understanding of social cooperation as a civic virtue and as a normative model for democracy. After his thorough analysis he emphasizes the point that cooperation can become a civic virtue only if it gains a moral content. Social cooperation acquires ethical meaning when it serves central values of democracy such as freedom and equality. K. A. Wallace is interested in the view of the self, inspired by Buchlerian metaphysics, as a self-process having both a gross or total self-process dimension and a cumulative, cross-sectional dimension of the self-process, what she calls the imminent self. This view allows for a conceptualization of the self as constituted by its history, as having spatio-temporal spread and as constituted by plural relations. It has resources to account for the identity of a relationally constituted self and of a self over, or rather through, time, and for conceptualizing the notion that it is a whole self that is present at any time and that has a unity of relations with its earlier and subsequent temporal dimensions. If the idea of a relationally constituted self that is its history is to be taken seriously as an ontology of the self, Wallace says, then the self cannot be thought of in static terms, or in merely physical, that is bodily or biological, or psychological terms.

In her paper on the Russian writer Maxim Gorky.s novel Mother, the founding novel of Socialist Realist literature, Lyubov Bugaeva argues that there is an influence on Gorky that has hitherto been unnoticed. While in the US in 1906 Gorky met and corresponded with William James, and spent a good deal of time with John Dewey. Bugaeva.s analysis of Mother demonstrates the degree to which Gorky was influenced by ideas, especially of the self, education and social change, drawn from James and Dewey, as well as from the Fabian Socialists John and Prestonia Martin

Section III, Self and Politics, is devoted to a variety of political values, institutions and problems. Thomas C. Hilde concentrates on the institutional dimension of global governance. Global institutions, from treaties to sets of norms and methodological axioms, are built upon an outmoded conception of the self and its epistemology. This older conception posits a rational, self-interested benefit-maximizing individual. The influence of this conception is broad. One major influence is found in the assumptions regarding global agreement (or disagreement) on pressing collective action issues. In international agreements, for example, much of the analytical and procedural work assumes that state and individual actors reflect the old conception of the self. The analytical focus is thus largely placed on the problem of why a state or other entity would agree to limit its own self-seeking when interacting with other states and international entities. In other words, compliance with agreements in tension with assumed motivations to cheat becomes the focus problem. In a speculative mood, the paper suggests that a fuller account of a descriptively richer and more ambiguous self - the "traveling self" - as well as what Hilde calls "epistemic cosmopolitanism" could provide a more complex and more contemporary understanding of normatively evolving international institutions.

Armen Marsoobian wants to understand genocide as thoroughly as possible on the basis of Dewey.s and Mead.s pragmatism. Starting with the recent controversies in the historical debate about the Armenian genocide he raises several intellectually challenging philosophical and historiographical problems. Taking Dewey.s relational notion of the self as a point of departure, he analyzes the phenomenon of genocide from the points of view of its concept, public declarations, circumstances, perpetrators and victims. Marsoobian points out how good history trumps bad philosophy, and how good philosophy can aid history. He puts his ultimate point this way: "In conclusion, what I have sketched above about the nature of genocidal intentions and the suffering of genocide victims is only by way of a beginning in my attempt to understand the concept of genocide. For it is only through such an understanding that the evil of genocides past can be repaired and of genocides future be prevented."

John Ryder concentrates on the possible implications of American pragmatism and naturalism for foreign policy. He is asking the question what a reasonably thoughtful and consistent pragmatist would do if in a position to make foreign policy. Two of Ryder.s presumptions are, citing Dewey, that "philosophy recovers itself when it ceases to be a device for dealing with the problems of philosophers and becomes a method, cultivated by philosophers, for dealing with the problems of men," and citing Timothy Garton Ash, that "it is a great mistake, made by many Europeans, to assume that America.s moralistic rhetoric of freedom is merely a cloak for self-interest...Americans were Wilsonian long before Wilson." Ryder provides an extremely wide and thorough philosophical, historical and political overview of the problem.s background, he analyzes Dewey.s concept of democracy in relation to other theories of democracy, and shows us the methods and possibilities of a pragmatist foreign policy. It is clear for him that "because of its commitment to a deep and thorough form of democracy, a pragmatist foreign policy will not be easy to implement, especially in the US in the current political environment. Many things would no doubt have to change before it would become possible. Nonetheless, there are many reasons to think that pragmatism has a good deal to bring to foreign policy, and that a nation would be well served by a foreign policy conceived on pragmatist principles."

Emil Visnovsky is interested in a pragmatist approach to the relations between self and society via social norms and normativity. After a general description of the social role of norms, Vi..ovsky examines Mead.s and Dewey.s concepts of norm. Having recognized the lack of a special pragmatist theory of norms and normativity, he tries to create a propedeutic of a detailed pragmatist theory of normative community and participatory democracy with the help of F. L. Will and Beth Singer. Gert-Rudiger Wegmarshaus. paper analyses two distinct concepts of the political self and their significance for contemporary, modern democracies: the liberal-individualistic concept of the political self and the republican-communitarian self. Tracing the emergence of the liberal self in the Europe of early modern times, the text addresses the shortcomings of the liberal understanding of politics and society, among which is a considerable split between the political elite and the people, resulting in a low involvement in politics from the side of the ordinary citizen. Turning to the republican-communitarian political self, the paper demonstrates the significance of a more participatory understanding of politics, inviting citizens to take care for the "res publica," to show commitment to the commonwealth, and to develop forms of political inclusiveness. The comparison of both concepts of the political self reveals strengths and weakness alike: John Rawls. understanding of the liberal self stresses individual rights along with justice based on the equality of opportunity, an approach that is well suited for the plurality of modern society. Nonetheless, the republican-communitarian understanding of the political self highlights how citizens are at the same time socially embedded, thus inviting political responsiveness. In a liberal society the freedom of the individual is unconditional; but individual liberty should be complemented by civic mindedness and it should be sustained by a political participation that benefits the individual self and the community.

Section IV, Self and Neopragmatism, focuses on the self from the point of view of Richard Shusterman and Richard Rorty. Dorota Koczanowicz points out that the problem of personal identity in contemporary culture has been widely discussed in philosophy and elsewhere in the humanities. This discussion has provoked a change in thinking about human beings and about their place in society. The question Koczanowicz wants to be answered is whether it is possible to have a harmonious society of autonomous individuals. In her opinion a new understanding of the self as an existence that grows in time without any premises, or a priori known substantial features, has enabled philosophers, humanists, and social scientists to use the category of "narration" in their work. Narration as well as life is a time structure that flows from beginning to end with some hope of fulfillment. From this perspective, science does not hope to find an objective, true reality independent of language and mind. To understand is rather to put experiences and events into an adequate narration. Koczanowicz shows us that in Rorty.s and Shusterman.s reception of "the aesthetics of experience" we can notice the influence of pragmatist ethical theory. For both philosophers, pragmatism is an important point of reference, but it is far more obvious in Shusterman.s version than in Rorty.s. "It is clear," she says,

that one of the founders of pragmatism, John Dewey, worked out the non-foundational idea of ethics, placing an emphasis on individual responsibility. Thus, when Rorty and Shusterman refer to pragmatism, they concentrate on only one of its aspects. In its Jamesian form, pragmatism stresses the role of self-realization and individualism; but other versions of pragmatism emphasize the important role played by community and social bonds. These two tendencies exist in pragmatism, and this is one cause of the inner tensions in this theory. The best example of this is Mead.s division of "me" (social part of personality) and "I" (creative part of personality). We can say that Rorty as well as Shusterman derive their ideas from pragmatism, but each of them explores only one thread.

We go from one extreme to other, and in this way the question asked by the ancient Greeks about the possibility of harmony between a person and society remains alive.

Alexander Kremer is interested in Richard Rorty.s philosophy. It is well known that Rorty, a promising analytic philosopher, changed his mind in the early 1970s and became a neo-pragmatist thinker who knew well not only the American but also the European philosophical traditions. By describing some of his main philosophical views (truth, language, relative separation of public-private, etc), Kremer first provides the framework of Rorty.s interpretation of selfhood, and second he shows how Rorty understands the contingency of the self, the self as the "Center of Narrative Gravity." It is also clear for him that this narrative identity of the self is "nicely integrated with the rest of Dennett.s system and thus a fortiori with Davidson.s system."

In his article Miklos Nyir. reconstructs several aspects of Rorty.s postmodern version of liberalism, and intends to show how far his philosophical, neopragmatist views are motivated by these political assumptions. Examining Rorty.s national utopia reveals that he advocates a morally reformed democracy achievable by the restoration of social hope and fraternity. Global egalitarian utopia, however, requires a cosmopolitan, global alternative to the ethnocentricity of such fraternal feelings, namely, solidarity. The explication of the possibility and conditions of global solidarity within the circumstances of pure historicity and contingency points to the central role of imagination (rather than that of reason) as the capacity for recognizing the only common feature of human beings beyond their linguistic individualization, that is, suffering. One of the enumerated consequences drawn from such argumentation is that Rorty.s famous private-public distinction is necessitated precisely by the issue of suffering, the basis of solidarity. In his attempt to situate Rorty.s imaginative liberalism, Nyir. highlights its opposition to the representationalist and rationalist features of the Enlightenment, being a project of completing the Enlightenment.s de-divinization process, of securing responsible human self-reliance. In his paper Radim .ip points out the weaker aspects of Richard Rorty's great philosophical ideas. According to .ip, the weakness is a consequence of the postanalytic tradition derived from Sellars and Davidson that handles experience as something opaque and unimportant. The tradition overly stresses language and discourse. In this respect, Rorty is not the heretic he has been taken to be. He continued in the broader tradition established by analytic philosophy as well as by phenomenology and hermeneutics. At the end of his text, .ip attempts to show that this limitation influences in a negative way the conception of the interrelation between self and society. He also argues that this tradition cannot adequately explain where an innovation might come from, that is if we are really determined by the language of society.

Section V is devoted to an interview with Richard Rorty. This final part is a special contribution from Alexander Kremer who took the interview with Rorty on December 20, 2005. This was perhaps Rorty.s last interview, or in any case one of the last interviews, before his unfortunate death on June 8, 2007.

Alexander Kremer and John Ryder



Hurghada Sharm El Sheikh Mallorca / Malorka

Mgr. Peter Krakornik - AKRONET

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