Purpose: To show the convergences between Josef Mitterer’s non-dualizing way of speaking and actor-network theory. Method: Comparative analysis of Mitterer’s non-dualizing philosophy and actor-network philosophy. Findings: Profound convergences between the two accounts may lead to a unified account that could redefine traditional philosophical problems. Benefits: The paper extends the range of Mitterer’s non-dualizing philosophy and actor-network theory enabling both to face new problems. Among them, extended non-dualizing philosophy may undergo empirical investigations.
Context: Traditional research on the fiction/non-fiction distinction is the fruit of an essentialist methodology in which the procedures of ontologizing and textualizing are assumed as obligatory. Ontologizing and textualizing form the basic discursive technique, in which analyses are focused on the object as the semantic centre. Theory of literary fiction – deeply rooted in Alexius Meinong’s theory of non-existent objects – is object-orientated and, as a result, is always ontologically involved/engaged. Problem: The re-description of the fundamental literary problems as a kind of epistemological experiment for which non-dualizing philosophy is a foundation. Considerations are aimed at providing answers/solutions to the three following issues: 1. Is it possible to connect non-dualism with a literary discourse about literary fiction? 2. What difference does the non-dualizing perspective make in comparison to a philologically-orientated discourse? 3. What difference does the non-dualizing perspective make in comparison to the constructivist approach to the problem of fiction? Approach: Mitterer’s non-dualism is considered from both the context of ontologically-orientated discourse about fiction and literary research and the context of constructivist discourse about fiction. Results: Mitterer’s non-dualizing conception may be considered a foundation of a radical non-essentialist way of thinking about literary fiction. As a result, the philologically-orientated research on literary text, focused on the explanation of its semantics, would rather move towards a culturally-, pragmatically-, and/or sociologically- orientated type of discourse. The notion of (literary) fiction should be reformulated as follows: fiction is not the reason for interpretation; fiction is the result of interpretation because the description comes from the object of speech (from-object-cognition). Implications: This is only an introduction to the project of a potential non-ontologizing discourse about literary fiction. Therefore it should be developed and discussed as the option for the dualizing type of the discourse as it still stirs up a lot of controversies.
In the reception of Josef Mitterer’s writings up to now, there are two predominant types of motifs: the radical constructivist background of his philosophy and the ontological and epistemological foundations and consequences of non-dualism. The critics are focused rather on some problematic consequences of non-dualism, ranging from the problem of infinite regress up to the thesis assuming that Mitterer’s philosophy presupposes a world reduced to descriptions. However, these two types of readings are founded on dualizing assumptions which are not coherent with non-dualism. \\Thus, in the present paper I interpret non-dualism in the frame of non-dual-ism, based on non-dualizing assumptions. I argue that non-dualism is a rhetorical project resulting in far-reaching consequences in the field of academic and scientific debates, poetics and practice of negotiations and deliberations, as well as in ordinary discourse. Non-dualism fulfills Richard Rorty’s dream of culture as a never-ending conversation in which the argument of power is successfully replaced by the power of argument. Mitterer makes transparent the rhetorical techniques performed in the dualizing discourse (not only in situations of conflict) in order to present an alternative – the non-dualizing mode of discourse. Mitterer’s philosophy – reread in the context of Rorty’s pragmatism, Foucault’s conception of discourses, Perelman’s new rhetoric – offers the new vocabulary (in Rorty’s meaning) which may change the practice of speaking
Purpose: To develop a realistic view that integrates the idea that knowledge is a constructive process. Problem: In the controversy between realism and constructivism, both sides have often misunderstood each other. Many realists still consider constructivism as a kind of idealism. And constructivists often assume that realists believe they have direct access to things as they really are. It seems necessary to clarify the statements of either side, to rule out some misunderstandings, and then to discuss anew the central epistemological problems. Solution: A version of realism is proposed that takes into account constructivist ideas and objections. Realism as presented here is not opposed to the idea that cognition is a constructive process. According to this view, reality is something we presuppose in any attempt to attain knowledge though we can never be certain how things really are. Having knowledge amounts to the preliminary judgment that some hypotheses seem to correspond to reality better than others. In addition, it is demonstrated that a constructivist position that reduces the claim to knowledge even further does not solve the problems better but creates new ones. Finally, Mitterer’s non-dualizing view of descriptions is discussed. It is argued that description necessarily presupposes something different from language.
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.
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.
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.
Purpose: The paper tries to explore the possibility of developing a theory of science that is compatible with the non-dualizing way of speaking. Problem: The difficulty of developing a non-dualism-compatible theory of science consists in the difference of the perspectives of the theory of science and the non-dualizing way of speaking. The non-dualizing way of speaking deals with descriptions as results of inquiries, whereas science theory thematizes the process of gaining descriptions in empirical research. If we want to reach compatibility between these different perspectives, we are led to the question of what kind of relationship exists between inquiry and description and what is the source of attaining knowledge. In respect of social sciences, there is the additional problem that a great deal of their objects are text; therefore the relationship between text and interpretation is relevant for the empirical research process of social sciences. Findings: George Herbert Mead’s theory of action and communication allows a productive approach to the above-mentioned problem to be found. Mead conceives of speaking as potential acting, as action that is initiated but not carried out. In this way, describing and inquiring can be connected non-dualistically. The source of gaining knowledge and descriptions is, however, according to Mead’s action theory, practical activities. Objects are not presupposed, but are results from action. New experiences and descriptions come from inquiries that are stimulated by action problems and action inhibition and the endeavor to overcome the inhibition. Implications: The result of the argumentation is that Mead’s conception of action and language can serve to develop a theory of science that is compatible with non-dualizing thinking. The reason for this is that in Mead’s conception, acting and speaking, experiencing and describing are not conceived of as categorical differences but are related to each other as executed and initiated.
Excerpt: Is Josef Mitterer’s non-dualizing philosophy yet another philosophical flavor, of which there are so many in the academic world? Yet another philosophical trinket that arouses the short-lived attention of some people and disappears quickly thereafter? Yet another dalliance without implications either for philosophy or for science? We are convinced of the contrary. For many years Mitterer has steadily built up a reputation as an innovative but at the same time also very careful thinker. His claims have been discussed in various circles, but, unfortunately, this has so far happened in German- and Polish-speaking countries only. Meanwhile “take your time” has taken time and Mitterer celebrated his 60th birthday in July 2008, an opportunity we used to gather connoisseurs of his work to discuss, for the first time in the English language, his achievements and impact. The result is in no relation to the limited spread of his ideas so far. We have collected some 22 contributions covering a large variety of intellectual terrain and pointing out the potential impact of his philosophy from now on.
Purpose: Explaining the relationship between theory and empirical research within the research process. The main motivation is to show that non-dualizing epistemology and constructivism have approximately the same ideas to explain this relationship. Problem: Josef Mitterer criticizes constructivism as a dualizing epistemology and “overlooks” that non-dualizing philosophy and constructivist perspectives are similar with regard to the relationship between theory and empirical research. Method: (1) Reconstruction of non-dualizing argumentation, (2) non-dualizing implications for the description of the relationship between theory and empirical research, (3) comparison of non-dualizing implications for the relationship between theory and empirical research with constructivist implications for this relationship. Solution: Finding a position on the description of the relationship between theory and empirical research that fits both epistemologies i.e. non-dualizing philosophy and constructivism. If we discard the critical rationalist idea to falsify theory with the help of empirical research (which reflects reality), we better conceive the relationship between theory and empirical research as a permanent and mutual refinement, stabilization and irritation. Implications: With the help of non-dualizing argumentation, constructivists have to clarify their position towards the relationship between theory and empirical research, particularly towards the choice of methods and the interpretation of the results; and non-dualizing epistemology can profit from constructivist second-order argumentation.