Orientation in and through Texts (ACLA 2022, Taipeh)
Organizer: Reinhard G. Mueller
Co-Organizer: Timon Georg Boehm
Orientation in and through Texts
Organized on behalf of the Hodges Foundation for Philosophical Orientation
How do we orient ourselves to texts? And how do texts orientate us? How do texts shape the world that we orient ourselves in? Since the invention of writing, fundamental reorientations of thinking have often occurred hand in hand with innovative forms of writing: Parmenides created didactic poetry of the divine in order to teach his doctrine of true being; Plato the dialogue in order to avoid all doctrines; Aristotle the treatise in order to teach it in his own name; Augustine the auto-biographical confession in order to explore his inner being before God; Montaigne the essay in order to seek truth via unbiased self-observation; Descartes the meditation in order to justify truth based on the certainty of one’s own thinking. This process of differentiation and innovation has continued up until today, for instance, via Nietzsche’s performances of masks, James Joyce’s experimental thoughtstream, Wittgenstein’s album, and Derrida’s deconstruction. Our contemporary world has witnessed an explosion of diverse digital forms of writing that has in many regards revolutionized the ways we communicate. New forms of communication can bring about radical reorientations; and foundational reorientations often require new forms of writing to communicate them.
In this seminar, we seek to explore, via the concepts of the philosophy of orientation, how different forms of writing orient us in different ways and create different worlds of orientation. The philosophy of orientation was developed by Werner Stegmaier, at first in German in his Philosophie der Orientation (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2008) and subsequently in its abridged and updated English translation What is Orientation? A Philosophical Investigation (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2019).
We welcome all orientation-philosophical explorations of (but not limited to):
- innovations of the forms of writing across time
- the distinctions and connections between different genres of writing, such as philosophy and literature
- how different forms of writing shape different ways of thinking and orientation
- digital forms of writing
- differences of writing regarding cultures, classes, races, and ethnic groups
- the relationship between literary theories and texts