The Meaning of Being at Home Part 2 (Update)

I briefly mentioned in a previous written entry that my own private philosophical works have been spent thinking about the meaning of what it is to be at home. I was interested in the different ways we could speak of our sense of being at home, how each affects the normative significance it has in terms of how things matter to me and how this matters to institutions and governments, indeed for thinking not only about major social global issues of the past, the present, and future, but also, perhaps more or less philosophically, our freedom as agents in creating a home for ourselves and for others.

As a second gear to the project, I also want to explore how my own philosophical dispositions in conceiving the human as a self-interpretive person, and an inherently a social one, critiques and gives us further insights into current ways of being at home and in the concepts we use to speak of being at home as something more than ethics or cultural identity but a sharing and a creating of life with another(s). In the coming months, my goal will be to unpack the philosophical concepts and intellectual tradition that will help me develop this conception of home further; how we create and share a life with others, how love, incredible moments, and connections — expressed in our sense of home — have been given and can be further expressed in our life, in our civilization and as responses to the social global issues we collectively share.

I will be thinking and defining this intellectual heritage by way of select historical philosophical texts in various schools of world philosophy, first by exploring what it means to say that the human person is self-interpretive and inherently social person, and secondly, how thinking about the person as creating and wanting to share a life with another(s) relates to not only questions of self-discovery and self-creation but also how it clarifies what I believe is the dynamic of self-interpreting the place that the other has in our life and self-interpreting the place we believe we hold in the other’s life with whom we are asked to share a life or with whom we actually at the moment share one.

Because I believe the concept of “self-interpretive person” is tied ontologically to intellectual and philosophical traditions on subjectivity, it also brings us not only to important philosophical questions but practical ones as well — questions that I will be exploring through my involvement in social justice campaigns. These questions imply new perspectives on thinking about diverse sources of legitimation and the need to not only recognize but also understand how one lives and shares a life with other persons, sometimes strangers, that have different self-understandings, cultures, identities, practices, and for whom the world, its shared problems and solutions are viable and legitimated from different background and faiths. This is particularly important since some of our current major social and political problems are global and also shared; and thus require diverse sources of legitimation in order to work, for solution(s) to be viable and answers that work in helping us live and share a life with other(s).

How much can our self-understanding of home in terms of a shared life with another(s) change with new insight and articulation(s) into our self-interpretive as subjects to experience? And as I mentioned, what impact can each have on the normative significance it has in terms of how things matter to me and how this matters to institutions and governments, indeed for thinking about major social global issues at the present, and more philosophically, our freedom as agents in creating a home for ourselves and for others? In ontological terms, (1) articulating the epistemic deficit, its conditions and limitation, (2) articulating and overcoming the operational limits through self-awareness and partnerships, (3) articulating the role of philosophy in this quest for home, will all be equally vital. Update: I also believe that this research question can tie into exploring the meaning of multiplicity of histories that I am pursuing elsewhere at the moment. My hope is that this will give insights into the diverse sources and their origins we actually draw upon for legitimizing a variety of identities and approaches to being at home in the world.

Written by Charles Dumais, Materials protected by copyright and related rights 2014-2015.

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