Sunday, September 16, 2012

Metaphysics and the Great Divide: Neoclassical- vs. Neo-Pragmatism

I thought that this post (and comment) by Jason Hills from immanent transcendence blog was interesting. Peirce, the founder of pragmatism, is essentially unknown to Huw Price (cited in Jason's post) who is a proclaimed pragmatist extraordinaire with an interest in deflating metaphysics. Peirce has a robust metaphysics, perhaps one that is more systematically developed than other pragmatist metaphysics on either side of the divide.

Regardless of this fact, Peirce's metaphysics and speculative philosophy, his non-correlationist phenomenology and his aesthetics, even his "speculative grammar," all receive short shrift today. Another very important figure who is neglected (not a pragmatist, but a philosopher for whom Peirce was key) is Justus Buchler.

I keep hammering on how a retrieval of Whitehead by contemporary metaphysicians demands a retrieval of both Peirce and Buchler. When it comes to metaphysics, most pragmatists are anemic compared to these two.

To some credit however, recent speculative philosophers (philosophers of the new metaphysics, for example) such as Quentin Meillassoux have given a nod to Peirce's semiotics with the Meillassouxian "kenotype," as found in Meillassoux's 'Repetition' Berlin paper. Nathan Brown also has given a nod to Peirce, as has Adrian Ivakhiv and Jane Bennett.

But Buchler's Peircean-Whiteheadian "ordinal" metaphysics is up for first-grabs for any contemporary speculative philosopher and I would like to see it happen.