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Questions about "solidarity" according to Richard Rorty

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Gerardo
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Questions about "solidarity" according to Richard Rorty

Post by Gerardo » November 24th, 2018, 12:55 pm

I know a little about philosophy authors, but I don't have a degree on philosophy. I'm skimming around different theories in order to choose one of the main authors for my thesis proposal. One of its main aspects will be ethics.

I wonder if Rorty's "solidarity" will work in regards to what I wish to propose. I read some articles, written by others, offering an interpretation of his ideas and I skimmed his book "Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity". I wish to ask the following questions so to decide if I should take my time to read the book comprehensively or move on to another author instead.

First, I'm still not clear if "solidarity" has to do with the perspective of others being just as valuable as oneself and a departure from egocentrism or not. Is this the case?

Aside from that, I understand cruelty is a main point in regards to his concept of solidarity, but I wonder about unfairness. I'd say copying in an exam and entering a subway station without paying might not easily be understood as cruel acts, but they can add up to meaningful social problems which can generate suffering to many indirectly. Does Rorty's solidarity have to do with this kind of examples as well?

Finally, I'm not clear about what kind of narrative books promote solidarity according to Rorty. I'd say any narrative book that allows you to suspend your own reference frame, values, and emotional responses, as you get to know those of others (the characters) help promote peaceful coexistence, but I think he wasn't talking about that. Right? According to Rorty, must a narrative book have certain specifications in order to promote solidarity?

Thank you in advance.

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Re: Questions about "solidarity" according to Richard Rorty

Post by Fooloso4 » November 24th, 2018, 2:39 pm

Gerardo:
I know a little about philosophy authors, but I don't have a degree on philosophy.
How can you be writing a Phd. thesis in philosophy (I believe in an earlier draft you said it was a Phd. thesis in philosophy) only knowing a little about philosophy authors and without a degree in philosophy?
I wonder if Rorty's "solidarity" will work in regards to what I wish to propose.
What do you wish to propose?
I wish to ask the following questions so to decide if I should take my time to read the book comprehensively or move on to another author instead.
You seem to be jumping the gun. If you are to earn an advanced degree then you are expected to do a great deal of independent research in your subject field. If you want to know what Rorty or anyone else says then you should read them carefully enough to see if they have something of value to say to you. And this leads to the question: why Rorty?

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Re: Questions about "solidarity" according to Richard Rorty

Post by Gerardo » November 24th, 2018, 4:54 pm

Thanks for your answer.

Maybe PhD isn't the correct expression, although I have heard others translate it like that. It's literally an interdisciplinary doctorate in social studies. Here we don't say PhD, PsyD, MD or anything like that, just doctorate. I'm currently just shaping the proposal to try to be admitted in the doctorate. So I'm at the very beginning of it all. If I'm accepted I know my proposal will go through many changes during the following years.

My proposal has to do with the city of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia (South America). The country is in the middle of a peace treatise with what was its strongest guerrilla, FARC, which is now a political party. Peace has become an important and shared discourse. Now, there are two sayings in the country, "don't give papaya" and "served papaya, sliced papaya". They mean don't be trusting and be opportunistic respectively. This form of being is very common in Bogota: people tend to cheat in different aspects, some situations easily end up in violence, and corruption can be very common. It has become part of the urban culture and can imply a contradiction with the shared desire for peaceful coexistence. That's why I wish to study the possibilities of community narrative art workshops, for example in theater, film, and creative writing, to offer a cultural alternative to the traditional distrust and opportunism. That's were Rorty's solidarity might come in.

I'm currently pondering about "solidarity". Before that, I pondered about alterity and otherness, empathy, Humberto Maturana's love, and even Wilhelm Dilthey's verstehen. I actually enjoy Rorty's writing and ideas. I know more about his conception of truth and ethnocentrism. I strongly agree to what he proposed about both things. I want to be practical in this moment; that's why for now I'm asking here instead of reading the whole book, but that doesn't mean I won't read it latter among other books. That's the truth :).

I do hope someone can help me with my questions.

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Re: Questions about "solidarity" according to Richard Rorty

Post by ktz » November 26th, 2018, 8:51 am

I'm not an expert, but I'm not sure Rorty is the best, since in my view he seems to be looking at solidarity through the lens of overcoming ethnocentricity via a sort of cosmopolitanism, rather than in the context of the kind of prisoner's dilemma-type situation that seems to have arisen in your area of interest.

If you're looking for relevant philosophical background, your particular goal sounds more linked to the concept of intersubjectivity, so I'd point you instead towards Habermas and others out of the Frankfurt school of critical social theory, specifically Habermas on intersubjective validity and Honneth's book on reification. This is a bit selfish of me to recommend because I am just starting to initiate my own inquiry into these ideas, but I think you may find some relevance there.

You might also have some interest investigating Dr. Axelrod and his prisoner's dilemma research, as well as David DeSteno and his modern book "The Truth About Trust".

I'm not familiar with the work of Maturana or Dilthey but they sound interesting so I may look forward to checking them out. I'd be interest to see where you land in the end result.
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Re: Questions about "solidarity" according to Richard Rorty

Post by ktz » November 26th, 2018, 9:13 am

Looking into it a bit further, I definitely think you should check out the 2008 interdisciplinary book Enacting Intersubjectivity by Morganti, Carassa, Riva. They actually specifically cite music programs as a path to intersubjectivity and have a wealth of supporting references that you ought to find valuable. They also make reference to Maturana and Varela in referring to living beings as "autopoietic machine"s and cover a broad range of supporting perspectives on intersubjectivity ranging from the cognitive and neuroscientific to the philosophical.
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Re: Questions about "solidarity" according to Richard Rorty

Post by ktz » November 26th, 2018, 11:34 am

For a little further effort, here's the conclusion of the section on music programs, which might help you evaluate if this is in the direction you are looking for:
Musical joint action showcases the human capacity for temporally precise yet
flexible interpersonal coordination. These qualities are exemplified in musical
ensembles. Ensemble cohesion requires individual performers to (1) share
common goal representations of the ideal sound, and (2) possess a suite of
ensemble skills -- basic cognitive processes relating to anticipatory auditory
imagery, prioritized integrative attention, and adaptive timing -- that enable these
goals to be realized. Additional considerations, including social factors, knowledge
of the music, and familiarity with the stylistic tendencies of one’s co-performers,
may impact upon ensemble cohesion by affecting these three basic processes.
Thus, imagery, attention, and adaptive timing may come to modulate the mutual
awareness -- and interpretation -- of co-performers’ actions, thereby setting the
stage for joint enaction and intersubjectivity.
The proposed mechanisms underlying anticipatory auditory imagery, prioritized
integrative attention, and adaptive timing include coupled forward and inverse
internal models, metric schemas that modulate autonomic arousal and the intensity
of attentional focus, and internal timekeepers capable of automatic and intention-
based forms of error correction. It is a challenge for future research to delve deeper
into the issue of how these mechanisms interact to determine the quality of musical
coordination. Pursuing this challenge should prove that musical joint action is a
fruitful domain in which to investigate the cognitive processes and neural
mechanisms that support interactive enaction and intersubjectivity.
So this textbook seems more interested in the cognitive and neurobiological nature of intersubjectivity, as opposed to your goals which appear to lie more within the realm of the sociological consequences along with behavioral economics/game theory. For the connection between intersubjectivity and social cooperation via the departure from egocentrism you are seeking, you can check out the article titled, The role of intersubjectivity in animal and human cooperation, by P Gärdenfors - Biological Theory, 2008 - Springer
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Re: Questions about "solidarity" according to Richard Rorty

Post by Gerardo » November 26th, 2018, 3:52 pm

I'f anyone can help me with my questions about Rorty's solidarity, I'd still be interested :).

It's a pleasure to meet you ktz! So what has taken to you to currently inquire about "intersubjectivity"?

There's something that's very important for me: I must feel comfortable with the author and concept I select. I'm saying this because I feel comfortable with constructionist, relativist, postmodern perspectives. I don't feel as comfortable with modern, realist, and essentialist perspectives. That's why I'm considering Rorty's "solidarity". Besides that, his interest in narrative texts over philosophical and rational ones is coherent with what I'm proposing.

You mentioned the realm of my project, I'd say it's actually educational from an emotional focus.

I know the concept of "intersubjectivity" from epistemology being a third option, contrasting from "objectivity" and "subjectivity". As I understand it, it refers to what's known comes from shared experiences between individuals. Are you referring to this?

I had also pondered on Honneth's "reification", which I understand is inspired by Hegel. As I understand it, it refers to the personal need of being recognized by the other. If so, I have a problem with that because it refers to "my need", which is a very egocentric conception.

About Wilhelm Dilthey, he worked with hermenutics. He offered a distinction between the natural and the spiritual (now known as social) sciences. Erklären refers to the explanation of natural phenomena through their causes. In opposition, verstehen refers to the comprehension of others and their lived experiences through their respective expressions (or texts).

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Re: Questions about "solidarity" according to Richard Rorty

Post by ktz » November 26th, 2018, 5:40 pm

I'm not really a Rorty expert -- solidarity may be a suitable point of inquiry for your project, although I think Rorty tended to discuss it primarily through the lens of its usefulness in overcoming ethnocentric boundaries rather than egocentric ones, so you may find limitations in application of the idea to the specific Bogota project that you mentioned earlier, since ethnocentricity probably would not be at the heart of Bogota's cultural issues that you are seeking to explore. But I am not an expert and perhaps he will serve your needs just fine, only you can be the judge of that.

My interest in intersubjectivity came from exploring a rejection of the logical positivists. I had a frustration with the essentialist, positivist conception that advertisers could know an individual based only on their Nielsen categories -- stuff like their age, sex, location, race, sexual orientation, etc. Someone pointed me towards the Frankfurt school and critical social theory, which led to Habermas and his ideas about intersubjective validity claims in his theory of communicative action.

I suggested intersubjectivity because it seemed like a lens that could provide a philosophical basis in getting Bogota individuals to choose to cooperate instead of defect. Intersubjectivity is a cross-disciplinary area of study, the epistemological aspect is just one dimension of the idea.

Honneth's reification comes primarily from Lukacs, who was inspired by Hegel and Marx. Reification as I understand it refers the viewing of others as objects instead of people, and the valuation of material ends above human ones. Its relevance to the situations you described in Bogota would be the viewing of others as targets to be cheated of their money, rather than humans who will suffer from being exploited.

I offered some suggestions that reflect the direction I would take if I were to make my own proposal, but best of luck in finding someone who can help you with your specific needs.
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Re: Questions about "solidarity" according to Richard Rorty

Post by Gerardo » November 27th, 2018, 10:37 am

Thank you once more ktz :).

I've had that same feeling in relation to Rorty's solidarity. I'll have to be cautious in that respect.

Regarding Honneth I mixed up the words "reification" and "recognition" when I read your post... oops :oops:. "Reification" isn't a word I'm used to in English. I had read about recognition struggles, I assume that's how it's called in English, regarding battles in order to earn recognition.

Please tell me your perspective on Habermas and intersubjectivity. I enjoy his proposition of empirical-analytical, historical-hermeneutical, and critical-social sciences, so I'd be interested. Is the "intersubjective validity" related with "validity claims". I actually don't know the concept, I just found it as I browsed about what you mentioned. What can you tell me about "intersubjectivity" according to Habermas?

I found another concept I'm interested in but I wouldn't know its translation to English. It's "projimidad". "Prójimo" means something like neighbor, so it would be something like "neighborness". I understand it comes from phenomenology. A Colombian anthropologist, Alejandro Castillejo Cuellar, uses the concept to refer to the mutual trust lost in the country from its prolonged history of wars. I think it sounds promising, but I'll have to read more about it.

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