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XIV-1, 2022 – Experience and the Research of Meaning: Pragmatism and Hermeneutics in Dialogue

Guest editors: Anna Maria Nieddu, Johann Michel, Vinicio Busacchi

Pragmatism and Hermeneutics (two of the major philosophical traditions of the twentieth century) have contributed enormously to the development of scientific research and knowledge on numerous thematic and problematic aspects. They had rare moments of explicit mutual reference and collaboration, except for what concern Rorty’s neopragmatism, as is known. From that moment onward, they have been experiencing a certain (limited) number of opportunities for mutual approaches and crossings.

In fact, starting from the second half of the twentieth century, Pragmatism and Hermeneutics have been moving in the direction of a shared opening and, in general, of an opening beyond their own fields and horizons. In the Anglo-Saxon world, we have witnessed a progressive breakdown of the “monistic” ideal of analytical philosophy in favour of a pluralism of methodical orientations and research themes that has also had a positive effect on Pragmatism.

If Richard Rorty is the greatest witness of this, already with Peirce, Mead, James and Dewey there is not only a strong vocation for scientific and interdisciplinary research, but a particular attention to those issues that concern experience and the research of meaning, which are of the greatest interest for both pragmatism and hermeneutics.

In Europe, a movement of analogous pluralist tendency has invested philosophical hermeneutics, which originally was anchored in (a) the technical problems of interpretation and then gradually entered into the dispute over scientific methods, in (b) existentialist reflection and in (c) dilemmas concerning philosophical anthropology, ontology and metaphysics. From the connotation of koiné, hermeneutics has gradually assumed the connotations of an exploded field. From this internal contrast it emerges, on the one hand, a strong differentiation of styles, conceptions and models and, on the other hand, a particular opening to interdisciplinary dialogue and work with the sciences. In this regard, Paul Ricoeur’s philosophical research reveals a paradigmatic character. More than others, Ricoeur’s phenomenological-hermeneutical approach offers the way for a productive pursuit of the confrontation and possible collaboration between Pragmatism and Hermeneutics (on the front of philosophical studies concerning the epistemic status of the human and social sciences, on gnoseological and anthropological issues, on issues regarding ontology, philosophy of mind, moral philosophy and more).

However, from a certain point of views, the difference between pragmatism and hermeneutics seems particularly marked and not easy to harmonize, that is the difference related to the interpretation of human experience in relation to: (1) the research of meaning; (2) the formation of knowledge; (3) the conception of the human being; and (4) the patrimony of practical wisdom which defines values and ways of conducting life.

The followings are some possible suggestions for all interested authors:

- the relationship between experience and identity

- the research of meaning

- the role of experience in knowledge

- the relationship between experience and practical wisdom

- similarities and differences between Pragmatism and Hermeneutics in analysing and discussing specific issues

- a critical comparison between theoretical and epistemological models

- a critical comparison between practical and anthropological-philosophical models

- a critical comparison concerning questions related to philosophy-science relationship

- the possible role of pragmatism for a renewal of hermeneutics

- the possible role of hermeneutics for a renewal of pragmatism

Papers should be sent to Vinicio Busacchi (busacchi@unica.it) by October 31, 2021. Prepared for a process of blind review, they should not exceed 8,000 words and must include an abstract of approximately 200 words and a list of references. The selected papers will be published in April 2022.

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