The Politics of Survival
Peirce, Affectivity, and Social Criticism
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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I use the philosophy of classical American pragmatist Charles Sanders Peirce to teach my students about unintentional racism. Many of these students, almost all of whom are Euro-American white,1 report a transformation—from not believing in the possibility of unintentional racism to fully acknowledging this phenomenon.2 The type of racism I focus on in class—and in this book—is white...
One: Peircean Affectivity
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Peirce viewed the individual human organism as a body-minded, social animal who interacts semiotically with the world outside of her. He had little patience for the Cartesian portrayal of the individual as a disembodied, solipsistic knower with immediate epistemic access to truth. I use the term ‘‘naive individual’’ to convey a Cartesian...
Two: The Affectivity of Cognition: Journal of Speculative Philosophy Cognition Series, 1868–69
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Peirce’s Journal of Speculative Philosophy Cognition Series, published in the late 1860s,1 portrays synechistic individuals whose ongoing processes of cognition and habit-formation are inescapably shaped by personalized and socialized interests. Because of the inescapable bias of human cognition, humans do well to realize the value...
Three: The Affectivity of Inquiry: Popular Science Monthly Illustrations of the Logic of Science Series, 1877–78
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In his Illustrations of the Logic of Science series, published in Popular Science Monthly in the late 1870s,1 Peirce presents a robust synechistic individual, one who stands up to her hegemonic community whose belief-habits need to be challenged. He also presents the scientific method as the preferred method of communal belief- habit formation. The scientific method—unlike the hegemonic...
Four: The Law of Mind, Association, and Sympathy: Monist ‘‘Cosmology Series’’ and Association Writings, 1890s
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For Peirce, agapic love is the ideal that communities should embrace in relationship to their individual members, especially when these members are at odds with the community itself.1 Peirce’s views on agape occur in the rich context of his 1890s Monist ‘‘Cosmology Series’’ and writings on association,2 where the synechistic individual emerges as a potential source of novelty, as a result of her...
Five: Critical Common-Sensism, 1900s
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Critical Common-sensism (CCS) is an epistemological doctrine that calls for a critical examination of the common-sense beliefs that underwrite human cognition.1 It is thus uniquely suited to address social critical concerns about discriminatory beliefs that can become ingrained within one’s background beliefs without her or his...
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These words from bell hooks and Audre Lorde underscore a problematic lack of social critical sensitivity that informs Peirce’s philosophy, as he largely failed to address the oppressive dynamics that can undermine, in actual communities, the ideal of infinite inclusion.1 While infinite inclusion itself cannot be literally...
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2010