Logical theatrics, or floes on flows

translating Quine with the shins

Joshua M. Hall

This article investigates a philosopher and a poet who initially appear to occupy opposing ends of the traditional spectrum from prosaic conceptuality to poetic immanence. The philosopher is twentieth century United States philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine, one of the central figures in the most prosaic tradition of the history of Western philosophy: so-called analytic or Anglo-American philosophy. The poet is James Mercer, lead singer, guitarist and lyricist for the contemporary “Independent rock” band The Shins, and as such is intimately bound to that allegedly most shallow and unthinking type of all Western music: popular rock and roll. In brief, I will argue that both Quine and Mercer suggest a theatricality at the heart of logical thought and a logic of the theatrical – in other words, a logical theatrics. Or, to put it in terms of a spectrum of Pragmatist metaphysical positions (from pure process to naïve realism), Quine and Mercer offer neither a pure flux in which logic is dissolved, nor a timeless logic that freezes all life from the world, but rather an ice floe of logic on which to navigate the flows of experience.

Publication details

DOI: 10.4000/ejpap.661

Full citation:

Hall, J. M. (2016). Logical theatrics, or floes on flows: translating Quine with the shins. European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 8 (2), pp. n/a.

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