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Changing Politics: Thoreau, Dewey and Cavell, and Democracy as a Way of Life

Changing Politics: Thoreau, Dewey and Cavell, and Democracy as a Way of Life This paper reconsiders the meaning of political action by way of a dialogue between Dewey, Thoreau, and Cavell. These philosophers demonstrate possibilities of political engagement and participation. Especially in response to the psychological and emotional dimensions of political crisis today, I shall claim that American philosophy can demonstrate something beyond problem-solving as conventionally understood in politics and that it has the potential to re-place philosophy in such a manner that politics itself is changed. First, I shall draw a contrast between the ways of political action demonstrated respectively by Dewey and Thoreau. Some points of divergence are revealed within American philosophy. I shall then explore the partially different sense of political action implied by Cavell’s ordinary language philosophy, identifying this as the politics of acknowledgment. Finally, I shall propose the idea of challenging inclusion as an alternative political education for human transformation, taking this as a key to changing politics. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

Changing Politics: Thoreau, Dewey and Cavell, and Democracy as a Way of Life

Contemporary Pragmatism , Volume 15 (2): 15 – Jun 1, 2018

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
DOI
10.1163/18758185-01502001
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper reconsiders the meaning of political action by way of a dialogue between Dewey, Thoreau, and Cavell. These philosophers demonstrate possibilities of political engagement and participation. Especially in response to the psychological and emotional dimensions of political crisis today, I shall claim that American philosophy can demonstrate something beyond problem-solving as conventionally understood in politics and that it has the potential to re-place philosophy in such a manner that politics itself is changed. First, I shall draw a contrast between the ways of political action demonstrated respectively by Dewey and Thoreau. Some points of divergence are revealed within American philosophy. I shall then explore the partially different sense of political action implied by Cavell’s ordinary language philosophy, identifying this as the politics of acknowledgment. Finally, I shall propose the idea of challenging inclusion as an alternative political education for human transformation, taking this as a key to changing politics.

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Jun 1, 2018

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