Narrative Seminar Series 2015-2016
Online, Tuesdays at 6pm, Eastern Time, USA or join us in person in Orono, Maine
Coyote Institute’s Narrative Seminar Series resumes
in the Bangor Area and online.
Your hosts: Barbara Mainguy and Lewis Mehl-Madrona
Tuesday evenings at 6pm Eastern Time, either
in the barn at 288 Main St., Orono, or online:
No meetings on November 17th and December 8th!
Here’s how to join us online:
- Click onto this link: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/854193141
- Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is strongly recommended.
- Or, call in using your telephone.
Dial +1 (646) 749-3131
Access Code: 854-193-141
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
Meeting ID: 854-193-141
Not at your computer? Click the link to join this meeting from your iPhone®, iPad®, Android® or Windows Phone® device via the GoToMeeting app.
We will share snacks and beverages in Orono. You’ll have to imagine your own virtual snacks and beverages online.
October 13, 2015: Four Way Discussion with Karen Taylor and Ron Coleman on Narrative Therapy. Ron and Karen are visiting from Scotland and gave a workshop in Orono this past weekend. We will have a conversation about our various approaches to working with story as part of the recovery effort.
October 20, 2015: Narrative and the Literary Imagination by John Gibson In Narrative, Philosophy and Life (pp. 134-149). Springer Netherlands.
The full passage is: “The three facets of the great writer— magic, story, lesson— are prone to blend in one impression of unified and unique radiance, since the magic of art may be present in the very bones of the story, in the very marrow of thought.” (Nabokov 1980: 6).
The remainder of these chapters are also from Narrative, Philosophy, and Life. We're looking for suggestions for what to read next when we're done with this book in December.
October 27, 2015: “ And We Shall Compose a Poem to Establish These Truths ”: The Power of Narrative Art in South Asian Literary Cultures by Anne Monius, pp. 150-168
Over more than two millennia, premodern South Asian poets of all religious persuasions— Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, and Muslim— produced an enormous quantity of narrative literature in a wide variety of languages, the bulk of it displaying highly sophisticated literary artistry. Most well-known, perhaps, are the so-called “epics,” the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyaṇa, their Sanskrit forms fixed at some point in the early centuries of the common era, their combined volumes (in pared down, critical editions) taking up several feet of library shelf space. Yet the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyaṇa form just the tip of a very large iceberg. Of the incomplete corpus of Sanskrit texts that have survived, a staggering amount is in narrative form: epics, Mahāyāna sūtras, Hindu purāṇas, courtly poetic narrative and drama, Mughal romances, life-stories of jinas, buddhas, and bodhisattvas, hagiographies, and so on. Other genres also contain long narrative passages. Premodern philosophical discourse often interweaves technical exposition with stories, while sacred literature such as the Veda combines ritual mandate with rich veins of narrative. Narrative forms suffuse virtually every genre of textual production in premodern South Asia.
November 3, 2015: Descartes' Biography as a Guide to his meditations by Desmond M. Clarke, pp. 169-180.
It seems obvious to reflective readers today that it would be a fundamental mistake to extract sentences from translated versions of texts that were written centuries ago, and to attribute to the original author the apparent meanings that such decontextualized and translated excerpts have in the reader’s vernacular. The history of biblical interpretation provided some of the most vivid examples of such a lack of hermeneutic sophistication. When the Council of Trent (1545– 1563) considered the words that three of the gospels attributed to Jesus Christ at the last supper: ‘This is my body, this is my blood’, it understood them literally and then used a scholastic theory of substances to explain how what looks like bread and wine could be, in fact, something entirely different. By doing so, the Council failed to acknowledge the history of spiritual or metaphorical interpretations of the Bible that had been current since at least the fourth century; it endorsed a theory of substances that was about to be abandoned by philosophers; and it camouflaged its many mistakes by acknowledging that it was teaching a mystery that, by its own admission, human minds could hardly express in words (Tanner 1990: II, 693– 4).
November 10, 2015: Writing the Lives of Philosophers: Reflections on Spinoza and Others by Steven Nadler, pp. 181-190.
There are great pleasures as well as many potential pitfalls in the writing of philosophical biography. Some of these are common to all kinds of biographical literature, while others seem peculiar to writing the biography of a philosopher. In this essay, and focusing on the pitfalls, I would like to address some particular problems that I confronted while writing a biography of the seventeenth-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza. But before I do so, I would like first to offer some general programmatic thoughts about the “biography of philosopher” genre.
November 17, 2015: No Meeting. We are in Winnipeg!
November 24, 2015: Hume’s Own Life by Aaron Garrett, pp. 191-198.
In this essay I will argue that Hume’s autobiographical “My Own Life” was intended to offer a history of Hume-the-writer and in so doing to both exhibit Hume’s credentials as a historian and his skill at providing a history of a particularly difficult subject – himself.
December 1, 2015: No Meeting. We are in Cumbria in the U.K.
December 8, 2015: The (Ir) relevance of Biography: The Case of Fichte by Manfred Kuehn, pp.199+
The theme of this section of the volume is Intellectual and Philosophical Biography. If I understand correctly the demands placed upon me by this theme and the fact that I am also asked to direct some of my comments specifically at the case Johann Gottlieb Fichte, then I should say something about the conditions of the possibility of philosophical biography in general and also discuss some of the special problems presented by Fichte. It’s clear to me that I very well might not have understood my task correctly, and that it is my Kantian perversion that makes me take the question in this way. But be that as it may, that is what you are going to get. Accordingly, I shall first discuss some widely held views about the philosophical relevance and even the very possibility of philosophical biography. Secondly, I shall try to represent Fichte’s views concerning this subject, and thirdly show that, in spite of Fichte’s attempts to downplay the importance of biography, his own biography is not at all unimportant for understanding his thought. In doing so, I shall pay particular attention to what I call “the Siegfried motive,” apologizing in advance for the Wagnerian overtones. If there is time, I will, by way of a conclusion, make some comments on what I take to be the significance of all this.
We welcome offers for presentations and topics for future dates.
Participation is free of charge. Coyote Institute is providing the internet platform and the snacks and beverages. Donations to Coyote are always welcome.
Click here for previous discussions we have had. We are focused on Narrative Studies especially in relation to medicine and psychology and to their role in humanizing and improving health care.
We meet most every Tuesday at 6pm and welcome presenters. This is a journal club format in which we discuss papers in the area of narrative studies.
If you expect us and cannot hear us or be heard, call Lewis at 808-772-1099, so that we can fix any internet problems that might exist.
(Sometimes these files must be downloaded to watch past the first 15 minutes)