Problem: The paper’s main focus is on the question of whether Mitterer’s non-dualising philosophy is able to show a way out of the antagonistic opposition of fact and fiction, realism and constructivism. In addition, since Mitterer’s philosophy has hardly been discussed so far in historiography and theory of history, I also examine the question of whether his approach can provide new theoretical insights in these disciplines. Method: I follow a close reading of Mitterer’s texts and relate them to the propositions of a variety of publications from the field of theory of history. Results: Mitterer’s arguments show, on the one hand, how to expel the idea of creation from our historical thinking as there is no authenticity waiting behind our world of descriptions. On the other hand, they make clear that historiography no longer has to decide between realism and relativism. Rather, it is a relationist approach that shows a way to research the many entanglements and complexities between past realities and their descriptions. A different way to write history becomes visible: a history of realities. Implications: The discussion of Mitterer’s non-dualism not only shows how historical research might benefit from this philosophy (in leaving behind some dualistic foundations of the discipline or the search for historical origins) but also how non-dualism might profit from the insights of history (with regard to power, processuality, and temporality.
Purpose: To show the connections and differences between Mitterer’s concept, cultural theory, and sociology of knowledge in order to reproduce the development of non-dualizing philosophy. Problem: Mitterer’s non-dualizing philosophy explicitly places emphasis on the continuation and coherence of discourses. Consequently, it grants an epistemological option that does not focus on the object as the end of cognition and description, but rather as the beginning. This perspective not only helps to overcome fundamental philosophical problems; it also concedes that the whole concept of non-dualizing philosophy refers theoretical descriptions, on the one hand, to the status of “so far” and, on the other hand, can be described as “from now on.” Solution: It seems necessary to exemplify obvious and hidden connections to cultural theories, especially those of the early 20th century (i.e., Karl Mannheim, Heinrich Rickert, Max Weber, William James), which predominantly concentrate on the relations between language and object, experience and world. The illustration of those relations should bring out Mitterer’s arguments, as well as how his argumentation can be applied to itself. Benefits: To explain and avoid the epistemological problems of realism, as well as of constructivism, which emerge within a dualistic perspective.
Excerpt: The difference between realism and constructivism is reduced from an epistemological distinction to merely a difference in (epistemological) attitude… Both modes of thinking – the realist just like the constructivist – are manifestations of an argumentation technique.
Upshot: The article compares the standard dualistic reference-model of interpretation to a nondualistic preference-model. So far, philosophical education has propagated almost exclusively the dualistic model and has tried to establish it as a condito sine qua non of rational discourse. The development of a nondualistic alternative makes this model optional: we can opt for it, but also against it. Erratum: (a) The expression “arenas of philosophy” (§3) was coined by Kurt Flasch rather than Wilhelm Flasch. (b) In §24, the third paragraph should read “But the framework of the dualist is the result…”
Purpose: This paper aims to mediate Josef Mitterer’s non-dualistic philosophy with the claim that speaking is a process of embodied experience. Approach: Key assumptions of enactive cognitive science, such as the crossmodal integration of speech and gesture and the perceptual grounding of linguistic concepts are illustrated through selected performance pieces of multimedia artist Laurie Anderson. Findings: The analysis of Anderson’s artistic work questions a number of dualisms that guide truth-oriented models of language. Her performance pieces demonstrate that language is both sensually enacted and conceptually reflected through the integration of iconic signing (e.g. sound play, dance) with symbolic communication. Moreover, Anderson’s artistic practice demonstrates that media such as voice, gesture and recording technologies realize different forms of embodied language. Benefits: Media aesthetics in the vein of embodied cognition can overcome a number of the dualisms that inform analytical philosophy of language, linguistics, and communication studies, such as perceptual/conceptual meaning, iconicity/symbolicity, emotion/cognition, body/technology and voice/script.
Context: The relation between language and reality, the problem of truth, and ontological questions in general belong to the perennial problems of philosophy. Although non-dualism deals with these problems and their presuppositions, it still remains at the periphery of philosophical discourse. Problem: How to deal with ontological questions within the non-dualizing mode of discourse. Method: The paper tries to reconstruct the origin of, and the interest in, ontological questions addressed to non-dualists; it discusses the possible types of answers to these questions and proposes an alternative way of dealing with them. Results: Ontological questions cannot be formulated within a non-dualist conceptual framework and hence they cannot be answered. Implications: This paper tries to pave the way for leaving ontological questions behind and moving on to a different range of philosophical queries ensuing from a non-dualizing perspective.
Context: In recent years, the debates surrounding radical constructivism have increasingly paid attention to the problematic dualist logic of radical constructivism as well as that of realism. Mitterer’s non-dualism is an attempt to overcome such approaches. Problem: Although Mitterer succeeds in identifying the flaws of dualism, he takes a reductionist position that does not account for materiality and is therefore not convincing when it comes to describing epistemic processes appropriately. Method: Having identified the conceptual problematic to be found in Mitterer, I introduce Whithead’s basic framework as an alternative non-dualistic approach. I argue that starting from Whitehead’s notion of “prehension” allows for more appropriate accounts of epistemic processes. Results: By following this train of thought, it is possible to develop a position that is non-dualist, realist, and constructivist at the same time. Implications: The article demonstrates the need to develop process theoretical approaches to epistemology and contributes to developing an epistemologically relaxed way of arguing, as was recently called for. This implies the requirement of developing a radical process constructivism that integrates concepts such as performativity and enactment.
Purpose: The paper aims at examining whether George Herbert Mead’s theory of language is an appropriate candidate for developing a non-dualistic conception of experience and empirical research. Problem: Josef Mitterer has limited his theory of a non-dualizing way of speaking to criticizing dualistic positions in philosophy and sciences but has not developed a non-dualistic conception of empirical research. To do this, the task is to forego the notion “description” as a remainder category of dualism to develop a new understanding of language. Findings: Mead’s communication and action theory contains a non-dualistic nucleus. His gesture theory of communication allows us to distinguish action and speech and connect them in a non-dualizing way. Further research should especially focus on the relation between immediate and reflective experience in Mead’s work.