This book shows the unity and novelty of Josiah Royce’s philosophy, one that he called an Absolute Pragmatism. The development of Royce’s thought led him to propose a synthetic-semiotic view of community that constitutes a unique and unparalleled metaphysical vision in a world in great need of integration. Royce’s proposal also fosters the prominent value of loyalty and reconnects the individual human being to its more radical needs of transcendence. A Semiotic Theory of Community: Josiah Royce’s Absolute Pragmatism explores the mediation provided by community as a means by which to respond to the big questions entertained by humans at all times: through an ongoing and always open process of interpretation towards the Absolute, the community of interpretation in all its different forms provides an ideal of loyalty. Paniel Reyes Cárdenas argues that by undertaking the process of interpretation and recognition of ourselves and the Other, we become true persons, and that we get a hold of the sense of purpose and loyalty we crave—both individually and in a universal unlimited community.
Paniel Reyes Cárdenas is chair of philosophy of language and medieval philosophy at the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla.
Chapter 1: Royce’s Metaphysics: Idealism and Pragmatism
Chapter 2: Royce’s Epistemology: Interpretation
Chapter 3: Royce’s Metaphysics: Absolute Pragmatism
Chapter 4: Royce’s Mature Synthetic-Semiotic Theory of Community
Paniel Reyes Cárdenas provides an excellent overview of Royce’s philosophy that clearly shows his place in pragmatism. The study importantly highlights the mutual influences between Royce and C. S. Peirce. Royce’s idealism, pragmatism, logic, semiotics, and religious philosophy are presented as aspects of a unified system that culminates in a semiotic, processive theory of self and community. This pragmatist model will be of interest to researchers in every field who seek an alternative to overly individualistic, or overly collectivist, theories of self and community.
This is an exciting and new look at Royce’s philosophical system—viewing it as a ‘Synthetic Semiotic Pragmatism.’ This provides the ground for future discussions and a needed revival of research on Royce’s philosophy.
For Royce, truth is found in the whole, and Reyes Cárdenas’ A Semiotic Theory of Community provides a synoptic view of Royce’s account of the creation of communities and persons. His thematization of the family as a form of natural or ‘small’ community that both connects and estranges people is a particularly useful counterbalance to the attention drawn by Royce’s capital-letter communities (Beloved, Great, etc.). Overall, this is a compelling and fresh introduction to Royce’s philosophy.