Journals Higher Education



Published: 09 June 2010

304 Pages

6 x 9 inches

ISBN: 9780823232956

Bookseller Code (06)

The Politics of Survival

Peirce, Affectivity, and Social Criticism

Lara Trout

A Fordham University Press Publication

How can sincere, well-meaning people unintentionally perpetuate discrimination based on race, sex, sexuality, or other sociopolitical factors? To address this question, Lara Trout engages a neglected dimension of Charles S. Peirce's philosophy-human embodiment-in order to highlight the compatibility between Peirce's ideas and contemporary work in social criticism focusing on feminism and race theory. Trout explains unintentional discrimination by using the work of the contemporary neuroscientist Antonio Damasio to situate Peircean affectivity within a post-Darwinian context. Because children are vulnerable, nave, and dependent upontheir caretakers for survival, they must trust their caretakers' testimony about reality. This dependency, coupled with societal norms that reinforce historically dominant perspectives, fosters the internalization of discriminatory habits, which then function nonconsciously in adulthood.The Politics of Survival brings Peirce and social criticism into conversation. Trout uses this dialogue to show how the blind spots of nonconscious discrimination are possible and to highlight a Peircean network of communally situated remedies, including agapic love, critical common-sensism, scientific method, and self-control.


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