On a Rhetorical Ground of Human Togetherness: Plurality and Mediality in Arendt and Peirce

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Philosophy Department

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Research Article

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Women in the History of Philosophy and Sciences

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Both in Arendt’s political phenomenology and in Peirce’s pragmatist theory of inquiry, plurality is rooted in the capacity to see that which for someone else speaks for something. This is our central thesis. By ‘plurality’ we mean the specific experiential mode of sharing a common world with beings that are implicitly taken to be equals in as much as they are embodied perspectival openings on the world, i.e. in so far as they can be proto-, hetero- and co-perspectival at one and the same time. And by speaking of a certain δύναμις as the ‘root of plurality’ we mean to indicate that plurality is not a naturally given property of our experience, but rather a necessary accomplishment. A necessary accomplishment the degree of which, however, depends on the mode of actualization of one and the same dúnamis. For Arendt and Peirce, therefore, plurality is both rooted in a capacity we, as human beings, necessarily have to actualize in at least some rudimentary form, but also something that has a determinate developmental potential and is thus capable of unfolding towards an intrinsic state of realiziational perfection. The fundamental difference between both accounts of the phenomenon, however, concerns the status of the mediality and finality of plurality, ultimately the ontological status ascribed to the phenomenon of individuality.

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