Pragmatism and the Cultivation of Digital Democracies

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“Pragmatism and the Cultivation of Digital Democracies.” In Richard J. Bernstein and the Expansion of American Philosophy: Thinking the Plural, edited by Marcia Morgan and Megan Craig, 37–59. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2016.

As technology enables us to communicate with one another in unpredictable ways that allow for an unprecedented public exchange of diverse ideas, cultivating the philosophical habits of an engaged fallibilistic pluralism gains in urgency. Read More

On Touch and Life in the De Anima

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“On Touch and Life in the De Anima.” In Phenomenology and the Metaphysics of Sight, edited by Antonio Cimino and Pavlos Kontos, (Leiden: Brill Academic Publisher, 2015, 69-94).

Although Aristotle is often thought to give canonical voice to the priority of vision as the most noble of the human powers of perceiving, this article demonstrates that in Aristotle, touch has a priority vision lacks.

By tracing the things Aristotle says about touch in the De Anima and specifically the manner in which he identifies touch as a kind of mean condition, this essay argues that a deeper understanding of the nature of touch connects us humans more deeply to animal life and the natural world we inhabit. Read More

The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle

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“The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle.” In The Bloomsbury Companion to Aristotle, edited by Claudia Baracchi, (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014).

Published in The Bloomsbury Companion to Aristotle (Bloomsbury Companions), this essay, entitled “The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle,” attempts to articulate the manner in which Aristotle’s thinking unfolds.

You can read the The Peripatetic Method on the Bloomsbury site, where they have made it openly accessible.

Drawing on the poetry of Wallace Stevens and the remarkable series of lectures Frederick J. E. Woodbridge gave at Union College in 1930 entitled, simply, “The Philosophy of Aristotle,” but published under the title Aristotle’s Vision of Nature, this paper identifies the path of Aristotle’s thinking, its method, as a “peripatetic legomenology.” It is a legomenology because it attends carefully to the manner in which things are said (ta legomena), and peripatetic because it follows the things said as a way into the nature of things. Read More

Plato's Method in Madness

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Long, Christopher P. “Is there Method in this Madness? Context, Play and Laughter in Plato’s Symposium and Republic.” In Philosophy in Dialogue: Plato’s Many Devices, edited by Gary Alan Scott. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2007.

For modern philosophy, method is designed to set forth objective rules of procedure so as to establish philosophy as a rigorous science. For Plato, however, method cannot be divorced from the contingent contexts in which philosophy is always practiced. While modern method permits no madness, there is madness in Plato’s method.

This article traces three strategies that constitute the method of madness that operates in the Symposium and Republic. The first is a distancing strategy in which Plato systematically distances himself from the content of the ideas expressed in the dialogues in order to provoke the sort of critical self-reflection required for philosophy. The second is a grounding strategy whereby Plato embeds philosophical debate in determinate social and political contexts so as to anchor philosophy in the concrete world of human community. The third is a demonstrative strategy in which Plato models philosophy as an activity intent on weaving a vision of the good, the beautiful and the just into the contingent world of human politics. Together these three strategies function methodologically to show the powerful conception of philosophy embodied in the dialogues.

To read a review of the book Philosophy in Dialogue: Plato’s Many Devices, see the Bryn Mawr Classical Review account written by Rebecca Benson Cain.