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14.05.2019 11:10 Alter: 97 days


Call for Publications

Theme: Mediation
Publication: Metodo. International Studies in Phenomenology and
Date: Vol. 7, Issue 2 (2019)
Deadline: 31.8.2019

Is there anything that is truly given immediately? This question
seems to of crucial importance for Phenomenology, a field perhaps
known most principally for its attempt to return directly to the
“things themselves.” The seeming simplicity of the idea is appealing:
after all, where better for us to start in any philosophical
investigation than with things as they appear to usin their most pure
or “immediate” state? When put in its historical context as well,
Husserl’s phenomenological project could even be interpreted as a
breath of fresh air in the midst of the environment of early 20th
century philosophy in comparison with the seemingly constructive
philosophy of its Neo-Kantian contemporaries. Indeed, rather than
starting with a merely systematic account of our cognition and
reality, is it not better for us to first return to the world just as
it is given to us in perception or intuition in order to have a more
faithful account of these issues?

Even if we say as much, however, the truth of the matter is not as
simple as to allow us to assume such an immediately given perception
or intuition of the things themselves. In this sense, we find within
the earliest developments of the phenomenological tradition
Heidegger’s criticism of Husserl and his subsequent insistence that
the act of interpretation cannot be ahistorical points to this fact.
Indeed, in this sense, even our understanding of what is meant by the
things themselves must be mediated by a specific historical or
cultural tradition. Outgoing from this, we furthermore find a long
tradition of hermeneutic phenomenologists, as exemplified by those
like Gadamer or Ricoeur, and their attempt to more explicitly spell
out how the intermediary act of interpretation makes philosophy
itself possible. Moreover, we can see that – in spite of the
criticisms that he faced from both within the phenomenological
tradition and from some modern scholars – it is not fair to claim
that Husserl merely assumed that the idea of the immediately given is
unproblematic. Indeed, as can be seen in Husserl’s discussions of
what given-ness and intuition mean, a careful discussion of what is
entailed by these words is central to any phenomenological
investigation, and thus cannot be taken for granted.

This is not at all to imply that these problems only manifested
themselves in the phenomenological tradition. To the contrary, we
find that the all-encompassing work of Hegel provided the most
extensive theory of mediation in all of its possible declinations.
Furthermore, debates between the dialecticians who followed him
concerning the nature and meaning of mediation – found in the work
of, to name but a few scholars, Marx, Lukács, Horkheimer, and Adorno
– impacted 19th and 20th and scientific theory at a profound level.
Outside of the Western tradition as well, we find in early 20th
century Japan an attempt to work out the problems of immediacy in
intuition at both an epistemological and ontological level that was
synchronic to (and partially reliant on) the phenomenological work
done in Europe. Indeed, in modern Japanese philosophy, beginning with
Nishida Kitarō’s early philosophical attempts to start from “direct”
or “pure” experience in order to describe or access reality itself,
and including Tanabe Hajime’s attempt at a theory of “absolute
mediation,” we can find a long and detailed process to rethink some
of the “current” issues of the phenomenologists while simultaneously
struggling with the issues left by Hegel, all the while continuing to
look back to traditional Japanese sources for help.

Nor is this to imply that the problem of immediacy and mediation is
not a current issue. This is clearly evident when we consider the
importance of Sellars’ attempt to bring analytic philosophy from its
“Humean” stage to a “Kantian” one by ridding it of the so-called
“Myth” of immediate and pre- linguistic meaning of given sense-data
as the source of empirical knowledge. More recently, the analytic
turn towards Hegel at the hands of authors like McDowell and Brandom
has taken this discussion of immediacy and linguistic mediation to an
even higher level. Yet, in the ranks of both modern analytic
philosophers and phenomenologists, we still find many scholars who
have attempted to demonstrate that there is a need to admit a
pre-linguistic or pre-conceptual dimension of experience.

This debate furthermore has wide-ranging practical consequences. For
instance, we can ask quite clearly if I can have an immediate
experience of other minds, as would be the case for Scheler.
Otherwise, do such experiences require linguistic or theoretical
mediation? Thinking differently, should we follow Levinas in trying
to reject the language of directness and mediation altogether when
discussing other minds? Is this even possible? Even before discussing
other minds, can I even have a direct experience of my own mind, or
do I need some kind of theoretical or psychiatric mediation to
understand myself? Otherwise, is my self-understanding reliant on my
socio-political environment? We could imagine, for instance, that the
influence of one’s political systems or local media systems influence
their self-understanding, but in what ways could this be the case? In
the opposite direction, how does the mediatory step of information
filtration through news agencies affect our ability to grasp that
political environment itself? Moreover, how is our attempt to
participate in this political environment mediated by representative
or local forms of government? Or otherwise, how does our culture,
linguistic, or historical background (in the most broadly conceived
sense), mediate our perception, attitudes, or understanding of what
is given to us “directly”? How does this effect our ability to
communicate effectively, particularly with those of other backgrounds?

This issue of Metodo invites authors from different philosophical
fields (epistemology, metaphysics, political philosophy, etc.), as
well as from different philosophical traditions and perspectives (the
phenomenological, the dialectical, the analytical, etc.), to discuss
the multi-faceted issue of mediation. Both contributions that
consider one specific aspect of this problem as well as contributions
that approach the topic from a multi-disciplinary standpoint are
welcome in this issue.

Contributors are invited to consider some of the following sample,
but not exhaustive, topics below:

- Mediation, Hermeneutic/interpretive
- Mediation in communication theories
- Mediated self-consciousness/self-awareness
- Mediated knowledge
- Mediation and political immediacy, intuition, mediation and the
 “myth of the given” of other minds theory

Abstracts and papers must be submitted to the following e-mail

Deadline: Saturday 31st August 2019

Submitted papers (in English, German, French, Spanish or Italian)
must follow the basic principles of Metodo and follow all Author
Guidelines. The editorial board highly suggests all authors writing
in a non-native language to have their texts proofread before
submission. All contributions will undergo anonymous peer-review by
two referees.

You can also contact the editors directly:
Richard Stone:
Takeshi Morisato:

Journal website: