News | Posted 22/01/2017
EJPAP 8(2): Pragmatism and the Writing of History
The European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy vol.8, issue 2, has been published
Article in Journal | Posted 16/05/2016
Shogimen, Takashi (2016). On the Elusiveness of Context
How can we decide the pertinent context in which a given object of historical study should be examined? This question has long puzzled historians. In the field of intellectual history, the Cambridge contextual school represented by Quentin Skinner triggered a series of methodological debates, in part relating to its opaque notion of context; critics have argued that a satisfactory answer to the question-how to recover a relevant context-has yet to be given. This article tackles why the question has continued to elude us. The article demonstrates that it is simply impossible to propose a practical set of guidelines on how to reconstruct a correct context because the identification of the relevant context is presupposed in the logical structure of inference in historical inquiries; identifying a relevant context is logically antecedent to the inquiry. In order to show this, the article deploys Charles Sanders Peirce's theory of inference. Thus the article submits that Skinner conceptualized his method as what Peirce called 'abduction,' which specifically seeks authorial intention as an explanatory hypothesis. This observation entails two ramifications in relation to the notion of context. One is that context in Skinner's methodology operates on two levels: heuristic and verificatory. Confusing the two functions of context has resulted in a futile debate over the difficulty of reconstructing context. The other ramification is that abduction always requires some sort of context in order to commence an inquiry, and that context is already known to the inquirer. Any attempt to reconstruct a context also requires yet another context to invoke, thus regressing into the search for relevant contexts ad infinitum. The elusiveness of context is thus inherent in the structure of our logical inference, which, according to Peirce, always begins with abduction.
Manuscript | Posted 18/07/2015
Peirce, Charles S. (1903). C. S. Peirce's Lowell Lectures of 1903. Eighth Lecture, Abduction. Vol. 2. Pythagoras. MS [R] 476
News | Posted 17/07/2015
Call for Papers: EJPAP Issue on 'Pragmatism and the Writing of History'
Guest Editors: Roberto Gronda and Tullio Viola
Since its birth, pragmatism has held a more intimate relation to the empirical study of the past than almost any other philosophical school. In part because of their reevaluation and reconstruction of the nature of empirical observation, pragmatists have been particularly sensitive to the epistemic dimension of historical inquiry. Professional historians have also recognized this, and have often drawn upon pragmatism when they had to reflect on their own methodologies. Despite the richness of the interactions between pragmatists and historians, however, it is still necessary for these various scholars to locate common areas of interest. Doing this would also shed light on the central role history has already played in the work of the classical pragmatists.
A good example of the latter point is C. S. Peirce, whose writings on the history of science, although never published in his lifetime, exerted a decisive influence on his philosophy. A bit later, G. H. Mead and J. Dewey explicitly reflected on the scope and methods of historical writing. The specifically historical dimension of human affairs played for them a fundamental role – as evidenced by their insistence on process and temporality, as well as their naturalized conception of action-as-interaction, temporally connecting subjects and environments. Over the decades, their views have prodded subsequent scholars to conceive of practices and institutions as emerging from processes developing over time, in a way that required careful consideration of the tools of narrative and diachronic explanation.
The interest of pragmatist philosophers in history is accompanied by a complementary interest of professional historians in pragmatism, one which begun back in the 1920s (C. Beard, M. Curty, J. H. Randall are some notable examples) and endures today (for instance in the work of T. Kloppenberg, T. Haskell, D. Hollinger). Some contemporary historians have greeted the advent of a new “pragmatist” or “pragmatic” turn in their discipline. By doing so, they join a larger debate that is taking place among social scientists interested in the spatial and temporal situatedness of human action. Also, some historians of art and culture (such as Edgar Wind) have seized upon pragmatist ideas to shape their cultural inquiries.
The 2016/2 issue of the *European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy* will explore this broad spectrum of ideas. We invite contributions from historians, philosophers, literary scholars, and social scientists. Submissions may deal with the general relevance of pragmatism to history, by addressing questions such as the nature of historical knowledge, its relation to normativity, and the ontological status of historical concepts. But they may also focus on the relevance of pragmatism to concrete historical practice, exploring, for instance, the role played by pragmatist ideas in the process of historical research, or the potential advantages and drawbacks of a pragmatist approach to history. Finally, we encourage contributions that describe the pragmatist philosophers' takes on basic notions such as history, temporality or narrative; or submissions which present figures who have been particularly instrumental in the development of a pragmatist perspective on history.
Papers should be sent to roberto1gronda [at] gmail.com and tullio.viola [at] gmail.com by July 31st, 2016. They should not exceed 12.000 words and must include an abstract of 150-400 words and a list of works cited. Papers will be selected on the basis of a process of blind review. They will be published in December 2016.
Article in Journal | Posted 03/11/2014
Panagiotidou, Olympia (2013). Mithras and Charles S. Peirce; History Needs Theory
This article is a response to Ales Chalupa and Tomas Glomb's article "The Third Symbol of the Miles Grade on the Floor Mosaic of the Felicissimus Mithraeum in Ostia: A New Interpretation". Their interpretation is viewed from a theoretical perspective. Charles Sanders Peirce's theory of signs is applied not only to the historical evidence but mainly to the authors' interpretive attempt. The term "sign" is suggested as more accurate than the term "symbol". Thus, Chalupa and Glomb's interpretation of the third sign of the Miles grade, as it is displayed on the Felicissimus mosaic, might be structured according to the ascent from the iconic to the indexical, and from the indexical to the symbolic interpretive level. It is suggested that an appropriate theoretical framework might support their interpretation and surmount the weaknesses of their argumentation.
Manuscript | Posted 04/01/2013
Peirce, Charles S. (1903). Syllabus: Syllabus of a course of Lectures at the Lowell Institute beginning 1903, Nov. 23. On Some Topics of Logic. MS [R] 478
From the Robin Catalogue:
Published: EP 2:258-262 (“An Outline Classification of the Sciences”), EP 2:263-266 (“The Ethics of Terminology”), EP 2:267-288 (Sundry Logical Conceptions).
Keywords: Classification of Sciences, Auguste Comte, Science of Discovery, Science of Review, Practical Science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Idioscopy, Phenomenology, Phenomenon, Normative Science, Metaphysics, Physical Science, Psychical Science, Nomological Physics, Classificatory Physics, Nomological Psychics, Classificatory Psychics, Descriptive Psychics, Speculative Grammar, Critic, Methodeutic, Psychology, Ethnology, History, Ontology, Religious Metaphysics, Physical Metaphysics, Crystallography, Biology, Chemistry, Ethics of Terminology, Firstness, Secondness, Thirdness, Hegel, Consciousness, Degeneracy, Law, Dissociation