SAAP Annual Meeting 2014

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American philosophy and its Eastern strains: Crisis, resilience, and self-transcendence

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This paper will critically reconsider the potential of Dewey’s pragmatist idea of security without foundation. Deweyan critical thinking needs to be further reconstructed, and even to be destabilized, if it is to exercise its best possible power of transcendence. One way to do this is to open its boundaries towards the “East,” towards European poststructuralism as well as towards East Asia. And I propose to do this through the mediation of Stanley Cavell’s rereading of Emerson’s and Thoreau’s American transcendentalism. Cavell’s “comparative” philosophy can elucidate pragmatism’s, and more broadly, American philosophy’s Eastern strains, its troubled inheritance from Europe. It will reinforce American philosophy’s antifoundationalism through the elaboration of a distinctive sense of transcendence – transcendence in the ordinary. This is critical thinking via transcendence – of a kind that is more radically risk-taking and, hence, more critical in respect of the possibility of living beyond the risk society.

Author(s):

Naoko Saito    
Kyoto University
Japan

 

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