Two Essays of Interest

Of late I’ve had the pleasure of corresponding with Benjamin Mangrum, a PhD student in English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina and founding editor of Ethos, a digital peer-reviewed journal devoted to arts, humanities, and public ethics. I’ll have more to say about Ethos by and by, but for now I’d like to draw your attention to Mangrum’s marvelous article, “Bourdieu, Cavell, and the Politics of Aesthetic Value,” available for advance access through Literature and Theology.

Mangrum’s abstract reads as follows:

Bourdieu’s critique of aesthetic value has had significant intellectual purchase in its controversial assertion that critical judgments regarding culture and aesthetics necessarily occur in an arena of social inequality and symbolic distinction. I explore a specific set of problems in Bourdieu’s theory of aesthetics through the work of Stanley Cavell, drawing on the latter’s investigation of the natural/conventional binary and what I describe as a theory of action (as opposed to a theory of meaning) based upon his reading of Ludwig Wittgenstein. The comparison of Bourdieu and Cavell yields a more nuanced account of aesthetic judgments, the politics of criticism, and the production of value or meaning.

And then Nat Hansen (Philosophy faculty at the University of Reading) has an essay out in the most recent issue of Philosophy Compass titled “Contemporary Ordinary Language Philosophy,” which promises both a helpful overview of OLP’s past-to-present and a hopeful glance at OLP’s future.

Hansen’s abstract reads:

There is a widespread assumption that ordinary language philosophy was killed off sometime in the 1960s or 70s by a combination of Gricean pragmatics and the rapid development of systematic semantic theory.1 Contrary to that widespread assumption, however, contemporary versions of ordinary language philosophy are alive and flourishing but going by various aliases – in particular (some versions of) ‘contextualism’ and (some versions of) ‘experimental philosophy’. And a growing group of contemporary philosophers are explicitly embracing the title as well as the methods of ordinary language philosophy and arguing that it has been unfairly maligned and was never decisively refuted. In this overview, I will outline the main projects and arguments employed by contemporary ordinary language philosophers and make the case that updated versions of the arguments made by ordinary language philosophers in the middle of the 20th century are attracting renewed attention.

Happy reading! CL

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