The Philosophy of Gesture: Completing Pragmatists' Incomplete Revolution

The Philosophy of Gesture: Completing Pragmatists' Incomplete Revolution

Giovanni Maddalena

Language: English

Pages: 206

ISBN: 0773546138

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In everyday reasoning - just as in science and art - knowledge is acquired more by "doing" than with long analyses. What do we "do" when we discover something new? How can we define and explore the pattern of this reasoning, traditionally called "synthetic"? Following in the steps of classic pragmatists, especially C.S. Pierce, Giovanni Maddalena's Philosophy of Gesture revolutionizes the pattern of synthesis through the ideas of change and continuity and proposes "gesture" as a new tool for synthesis. Defining gesture as an action with a beginning and an end that carries on a meaning, Maddalena explains that it is a dense blending of all kinds of phenomena - feelings and vague ideas, actual actions, habits of actions - and of signs - icons, indexes, and symbols. When the blending of phenomena and signs is densest, the gesture is "complete," and its power of introducing something new in knowledge is at its highest level. Examples of complete gestures are religious liturgies, public and private rites, public and private actions that establish an identity, artistic performances, and hypothesizing experiments. A departure from a traditional Kantian framework for understanding the nature and function of reason, The Philosophy of Gesture proposes an approach that is more attuned with our ordinary way of reasoning and of apprehending new knowledge.

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this continuity will be the subjects of the next point. The second aspect that may be derived from the formula of this new paradigm is that synthesis coincides with “recognizing an identity”: the action of establishing an identity between two “objects” is the judgment itself. Which is this “action”? And what are these objects? These are the questions that I have to clarify. Let us start with the “objects.” The pragmatist view of experience does not distinguish between subject and object because

works: mathematics is one of the most developed and successful sciences. According to Peirce it is so because it imagines hypotheses and draws from them necessary conclusions. Therefore if we cannot doubt that it works, at the most we can wonder how it works. Here we find the first hint of the syntheticity we are looking for. Mathematical diagrams work because they act synthetically, namely – according to the already mentioned Kantian definition that Peirce knew very well – in mathematics we are

experiences and disciplines in the way Kant, and the subsequent idealist and historicist philosophies, proposed. A personal anecdote may illustrate this point. In 2008 I had the chance to participate in the conference “Discovery as Event” held in San Marino. Among the scholars there were C. Townes (a Nobel laureate for the discovery of the laser), J.C. Mather (Nobel laureate for the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation), J.C. Polkinghorne (Professor of Mathematical Physics at

as the latter is normally understood (CP 1.444). The paradigm we are developing makes this insight more clear. 6 For scholarly studies on this topic see both Moore 2007a and Maddalena 2009, 137–92. 7 The chronology of changes is now well established. For the latest solutions see Havenel 2008 and Maddalena 2009, 193–24. The genesis of Peirce’s continuum is well explained by Moore 2007, and its possible mathematical development by Zalamea 2001. 8 Zalamea subsumes transitivity under modality

as a literary report without entering the discussion about its historical truth. 8 See ch. 4, section 1. 9 See Niño 2007 and Maddalena 2009, 57–78. 10 For my interpretation of abduction, see ch. 1, section 1. 11 I am grateful for this suggestion to Vincent Colapietro. 12 See note 5. 13 See ch. 3, section 3. 14 Cf. Ricoeur 2005. 15 See ch. 5, section 3. CHAPTER SEVEN 1 For the story of the manuscript and the entire work of recognition of Grossman’s writing, see the website of the Vasily

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