Becoming Cosmopolitan: On the Idea of a Japanese Response to American Philosophy

Naoko Saito
Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society
Vol. 47, No. 4 (Fall 2011), pp. 507-523
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/trancharpeirsoc.47.4.507
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/trancharpeirsoc.47.4.507
Page Count: 17
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Abstract

Abstract

Starting with Dewey's encounter of the untranslatable in a foreign culture with his disappointing experience in Japan, this paper attempts to find an alternative mode of response to the untranslatable in another strain of American philosophy: the transcendentalism of Ralph W. Emerson and Henry D. Thoreau as reinterpreted by Stanley Cavell. This is a search for a more thorough antifoundationalist idea of cosmopolitanism than Dewey's pragmatism allows us. I conduct this reinterpretation with reference to Cavell's ordinary language philosophy and its related idea of philosophy as translation. I conclude by proposing an alternative way of thinking about cosmopolitan education: a perfectionist education that serves the idea of achieving neighborhood through immigrancy, that is, by taking a path from the inmost to the outmost.

Keywords: Dewey's visit to Japan, understanding other cultures, pragmatism, anti-foundationalism, cosmopolitanism, the untranslatable, Emerson, Thoreau, Cavell, philosophy as translation

Author Information

Naoko SaitoKyoto University,

REFERENCES

  1. Buell, Lawrence. 2003. Emerson. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  2. Cavell, Stanley. 1979. The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
  3. Cavell, Stanley. 1984. “The Politics of Interpretation (Politics as Opposed to What?).” In Themes Out of School: Effects and Causes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  4. Cavell, Stanley. 1989. This New Yet Unapproachable America: Lectures after Emerson after Wittgenstein (Albuquerque, NM: Living Batch Press).
  5. Cavell, Stanley. 1992. The Senses of Walden. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  6. Cavell, Stanley. 1994. A Pitch of Philosophy: Autobiographical Exercises (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
  7. Cavell, Stanley. 1998. “What's the Use of Calling Emerson a Pragmatist?” In The Revival of Pragmatism: New Essays on Social Thought, Law, and Culture. ed., Morris Dickstein (Durham, NC: Duke University Press).
  8. Cavell, Stanley. 2003. Emerson's Transcendental Etudes (Stanford: Stanford University Press).
  9. Cavell, Stanley. 2004. Cities of Words: Pedagogical Letters on a Register of the Moral Life (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press).
  10. Dewey, John. 1938. Experience and Education (New York: Macmillan).
  11. Dewey, John. 1980. Democracy and Education. In The Middle Works of John Dewey, Vol. 9, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  12. Dewey, John. 1981. Experience and Nature, in The Later Works of John Dewey, Vol. 1. Jo Ann Boydston, ed. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  13. Dewey, John. 1982. “Liberalism in Japan,” in The Middle Works of John Dewey, Vol. 11, ed. Jo Ann Boydston, ed. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  14. Dewey, John. 1983a. Human Nature and Conduct. In The Middle Works of John Dewey, Vol. 14, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  15. Dewey, John. 1983b. “Some Factors in Mutual National Understanding,” in The Middle Works of John Dewey, Vol. 13, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  16. Dewey, John. 1983c. “Public Opinion in Japan,” in The Middle Works of John Dewey, Vol. 13, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  17. Dewey, John. 1984. The Public and its Problems. In The Later Works of John Dewey, Vol. 2, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  18. Dewey, John. 1988. “Creative Democracy—The Task Before Us.” In The Later Works of John Dewey, Vol. 14, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  19. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. 1990. Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Richard Poirier (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
  20. Feuer, Louis S. 1969. “John Dewey's Sojourn in Japan,'” in Teachers College Record, in Vol. 71, No. 1.
  21. Hansen, David T. 2009. “Dewey and Cosmopolitanism.” In John Dewey at 150: Reflections for a New Century, eds. Rud, A.G., Garrison, Jim, and Stone, Lynda (West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press).
  22. Hickman, Larry. 2003. “John Dewey's Pragmatic Technology.” A Paper presented at the International Symposium: “Pragmatism and the Philosophy of Technology in the 21st Century.” Center for Philosophy, The University of Tokyo on December 12, 2003.
  23. Hickman, Larry. 2009. “John Dewey at 150: Continuing Relevance for a Global Milieu.” Educational Theory, Vol. 59, No. 4: 375–378.
  24. Mori, Akihiro. 1992. Nihon-ni okeru John Dewey Shiso Kenkyhu no Seiri (Review of John Dewey Studies in Japan) (Tokyo: Shu-Oh Sha).
  25. Nussbaum, Martha C. 1996. “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism.” In Nussbaum, For Love of Country? Boston: Beacon Press.
  26. Nussbaum, Martha C. C. 2010. Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
  27. Peirce, Charles S. 1992. “Evolutionary Love.” In The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings. eds. Nathan Houser and Christian Kloesel (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press).
  28. Rorty, Richard. 1989. Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (New York: Cambridge University Press).
  29. Rorty, Richard. 1999. Philosophy and Social Hope (London: Penguin Books).
  30. Ryan, Alan. 1995, John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism (New York: W. W. Norton and Company), 221–222.
  31. Saito, Naoko. 2007. “Truth is Translated: Cavell's Thoreau and the Transcendence of America.” Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 21, No. 2: 124–132.
  32. Saito, Naoko. 2009. “Ourselves in Translation: Stanley Cavell and Philosophy as Autobiography,” Journal of Philosophy of Education, Vol. 43. No. 2: 253–267.
  33. Saito, Naoko and Standish, Paul. 2009. “What's the Problem with Problem-Solving?: Language, Skepticism and Pragmatism,” Contemporary Pragmatism, Vol. 6, No.1: 153–167.
  34. Standish, Paul. 2011. “One Language, One World: the Common Measure of Education.” Philosophy of Education2010 (in press).
  35. Thoreau, Henry, D. 1992. Walden and Resistance to Civil Government, ed. William Rossi (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1992).
  36. Tsurumi, Shunsuke. 1984. Dewey (Tokyo: Kodan-Sha) (in Japanese).
  37. Westbrook, Robert B. 1991. John Dewey and American Democracy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press).

NOTES

  1. 1.
    For a more detailed description of Dewey's visit to Japan, see: Naoko Saito, “Education for Global Understanding: Learning from Dewey's Visit to Japan,” Teachers College Record, Vol. 105, No. 9 (December 2003): 1758–1773. The argument of the current paper develops the issues which were not discussed fully in this previous paper.
  2. 2.
    Westbrook says that Japan is presented by Dewey as a country where “the heart of Deweyan democracy” could not be communicated or understood (Westbrook, 1991, pp. 240–242). As a symbol of difference, at the time when the emperor held sovereign power, the English word “democracy” could not be translated into Japanese (Mori, 1992). Also there is an episode that there was no translator in Dewey's eight-day lecture at the University of Tokyo, which was to be published as Reconstruction in Philosophy (1920) (Tsurumi, 1984, p. 85)
  3. 3.
    The idea similar to Dewey's of continuing growth transcending borders towards cosmopolitan humanity is originally seen in Peirce's idea of “evolutionary love.” Though it is beyond the scope of this paper to elucidate Peirce's influence on Dewey's cosmopolitan aspect, Dewey's idea of achieving a global community through friendship definitely has the trace of Peircean cosmopolitanism in his idea of “evolutionary love” (Peirce, 1992).
  4. 4.
    For the detailed discussion Emersonian moral perfectionism, see: Naoko Saito, The Gleam of Light: Moral Perfectionism and Education in Dewy and Emerson (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005) (especially Chapter 4).
  5. 5.
    Paul Standish discusses the idea of the abyss in translation in connection with Derrida's reading of a letter from Gershom Scholem to Franz Rosenzweig. Standish refers to the abyss as the “archetypal image of danger and judgment,” evoking a sense of “bottomlessness or absence of foundation” and “the darkness of the unknown” as an entrée into understanding Scholem's recourse to the term, which figures so prominently in Derrida's discussion (Standish, 2011).
  6. 6.
    The original version of this paper, entitled “Becoming Cosmopolitan—Or, How Can a Japanese Advance American philosophy?”, was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy (at Charlotte, NC on March 13, 2010). The present version has been radically revised in response to the helpful comments from anonymous reviewers and in the light of editorial advice. I thank Paul Standish for giving me suggestions in the process of revision. Jim Garrison originally invited me to contribute to the above mentioned conference, and I am grateful to him for encouraging me in this respect.

REFERENCES

  1. Buell, Lawrence. 2003. Emerson. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  2. Cavell, Stanley. 1979. The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
  3. Cavell, Stanley. 1984. “The Politics of Interpretation (Politics as Opposed to What?).” In Themes Out of School: Effects and Causes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  4. Cavell, Stanley. 1989. This New Yet Unapproachable America: Lectures after Emerson after Wittgenstein (Albuquerque, NM: Living Batch Press).
  5. Cavell, Stanley. 1992. The Senses of Walden. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  6. Cavell, Stanley. 1994. A Pitch of Philosophy: Autobiographical Exercises (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
  7. Cavell, Stanley. 1998. “What's the Use of Calling Emerson a Pragmatist?” In The Revival of Pragmatism: New Essays on Social Thought, Law, and Culture. ed., Morris Dickstein (Durham, NC: Duke University Press).
  8. Cavell, Stanley. 2003. Emerson's Transcendental Etudes (Stanford: Stanford University Press).
  9. Cavell, Stanley. 2004. Cities of Words: Pedagogical Letters on a Register of the Moral Life (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press).
  10. Dewey, John. 1938. Experience and Education (New York: Macmillan).
  11. Dewey, John. 1980. Democracy and Education. In The Middle Works of John Dewey, Vol. 9, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  12. Dewey, John. 1981. Experience and Nature, in The Later Works of John Dewey, Vol. 1. Jo Ann Boydston, ed. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  13. Dewey, John. 1982. “Liberalism in Japan,” in The Middle Works of John Dewey, Vol. 11, ed. Jo Ann Boydston, ed. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  14. Dewey, John. 1983a. Human Nature and Conduct. In The Middle Works of John Dewey, Vol. 14, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  15. Dewey, John. 1983b. “Some Factors in Mutual National Understanding,” in The Middle Works of John Dewey, Vol. 13, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  16. Dewey, John. 1983c. “Public Opinion in Japan,” in The Middle Works of John Dewey, Vol. 13, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  17. Dewey, John. 1984. The Public and its Problems. In The Later Works of John Dewey, Vol. 2, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  18. Dewey, John. 1988. “Creative Democracy—The Task Before Us.” In The Later Works of John Dewey, Vol. 14, ed. Jo Ann Boydston (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press).
  19. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. 1990. Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Richard Poirier (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
  20. Feuer, Louis S. 1969. “John Dewey's Sojourn in Japan,'” in Teachers College Record, in Vol. 71, No. 1.
  21. Hansen, David T. 2009. “Dewey and Cosmopolitanism.” In John Dewey at 150: Reflections for a New Century, eds. Rud, A.G., Garrison, Jim, and Stone, Lynda (West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press).
  22. Hickman, Larry. 2003. “John Dewey's Pragmatic Technology.” A Paper presented at the International Symposium: “Pragmatism and the Philosophy of Technology in the 21st Century.” Center for Philosophy, The University of Tokyo on December 12, 2003.
  23. Hickman, Larry. 2009. “John Dewey at 150: Continuing Relevance for a Global Milieu.” Educational Theory, Vol. 59, No. 4: 375–378.
  24. Mori, Akihiro. 1992. Nihon-ni okeru John Dewey Shiso Kenkyhu no Seiri (Review of John Dewey Studies in Japan) (Tokyo: Shu-Oh Sha).
  25. Nussbaum, Martha C. 1996. “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism.” In Nussbaum, For Love of Country? Boston: Beacon Press.
  26. Nussbaum, Martha C. C. 2010. Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
  27. Peirce, Charles S. 1992. “Evolutionary Love.” In The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings. eds. Nathan Houser and Christian Kloesel (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press).
  28. Rorty, Richard. 1989. Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (New York: Cambridge University Press).
  29. Rorty, Richard. 1999. Philosophy and Social Hope (London: Penguin Books).
  30. Ryan, Alan. 1995, John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism (New York: W. W. Norton and Company), 221–222.
  31. Saito, Naoko. 2007. “Truth is Translated: Cavell's Thoreau and the Transcendence of America.” Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Vol. 21, No. 2: 124–132.
  32. Saito, Naoko. 2009. “Ourselves in Translation: Stanley Cavell and Philosophy as Autobiography,” Journal of Philosophy of Education, Vol. 43. No. 2: 253–267.
  33. Saito, Naoko and Standish, Paul. 2009. “What's the Problem with Problem-Solving?: Language, Skepticism and Pragmatism,” Contemporary Pragmatism, Vol. 6, No.1: 153–167.
  34. Standish, Paul. 2011. “One Language, One World: the Common Measure of Education.” Philosophy of Education2010 (in press).
  35. Thoreau, Henry, D. 1992. Walden and Resistance to Civil Government, ed. William Rossi (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1992).
  36. Tsurumi, Shunsuke. 1984. Dewey (Tokyo: Kodan-Sha) (in Japanese).
  37. Westbrook, Robert B. 1991. John Dewey and American Democracy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press).

NOTES

  1. 1.
    For a more detailed description of Dewey's visit to Japan, see: Naoko Saito, “Education for Global Understanding: Learning from Dewey's Visit to Japan,” Teachers College Record, Vol. 105, No. 9 (December 2003): 1758–1773. The argument of the current paper develops the issues which were not discussed fully in this previous paper.
  2. 2.
    Westbrook says that Japan is presented by Dewey as a country where “the heart of Deweyan democracy” could not be communicated or understood (Westbrook, 1991, pp. 240–242). As a symbol of difference, at the time when the emperor held sovereign power, the English word “democracy” could not be translated into Japanese (Mori, 1992). Also there is an episode that there was no translator in Dewey's eight-day lecture at the University of Tokyo, which was to be published as Reconstruction in Philosophy (1920) (Tsurumi, 1984, p. 85)
  3. 3.
    The idea similar to Dewey's of continuing growth transcending borders towards cosmopolitan humanity is originally seen in Peirce's idea of “evolutionary love.” Though it is beyond the scope of this paper to elucidate Peirce's influence on Dewey's cosmopolitan aspect, Dewey's idea of achieving a global community through friendship definitely has the trace of Peircean cosmopolitanism in his idea of “evolutionary love” (Peirce, 1992).
  4. 4.
    For the detailed discussion Emersonian moral perfectionism, see: Naoko Saito, The Gleam of Light: Moral Perfectionism and Education in Dewy and Emerson (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005) (especially Chapter 4).
  5. 5.
    Paul Standish discusses the idea of the abyss in translation in connection with Derrida's reading of a letter from Gershom Scholem to Franz Rosenzweig. Standish refers to the abyss as the “archetypal image of danger and judgment,” evoking a sense of “bottomlessness or absence of foundation” and “the darkness of the unknown” as an entrée into understanding Scholem's recourse to the term, which figures so prominently in Derrida's discussion (Standish, 2011).
  6. 6.
    The original version of this paper, entitled “Becoming Cosmopolitan—Or, How Can a Japanese Advance American philosophy?”, was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy (at Charlotte, NC on March 13, 2010). The present version has been radically revised in response to the helpful comments from anonymous reviewers and in the light of editorial advice. I thank Paul Standish for giving me suggestions in the process of revision. Jim Garrison originally invited me to contribute to the above mentioned conference, and I am grateful to him for encouraging me in this respect.