Pennsylvania Communication Association Pre-Conference
“Patterns of Connection: Gregory Bateson, American Pragmatism and European Philosophy”
Penn State York
October 8-9, 2015
Extended Deadline: August 1, 2015
Working from Bateson’s interest in “patterns which connect,” the pre-conference focus is on Bateson’s relevance to contemporary philosophy of communication. These connections could include phenomenology, hermeneutics, semiotics, feminist theory, psychoanalysis, etc. Connections may be made to any area of communication inquiry.
Focus need not be exclusively on specific writings by Bateson but should address aspects of his ideas that tie into philosophy of communication. For example, though Bateson (and Jurgen Ruesch) did not explicitly build on the works of William James, C. S. Peirce or John Dewey, it could be asked whether Bateson’s concepts of mind, nature, and society are outgrowths of pragmatism.
Though Bateson was not, per se, a phenomenologist, hermeneut or semiotician, to what extent are his ideas compatible with these philosophical perspectives? Are there connections to be made between Bateson and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Luc Nancy, Richard Rorty, Richard Bernstein, Kenneth Gergen, or others? How should we think of Bateson’s contributions to social psychiatry in an age of psychopharmacology and genetics? Is the “ecology of communication” that evolved from Bateson’s ideas in the early 1980s relevant to postmodernity? What are the implied ethics of Bateson’s work? Is system theory incompatible with humanistic philosophy? Are there contemporary human science or social science applications of the double-bind concept that could inform current communication inquiry? How does Bateson’s work inform or provide grounds for critique in or of cultural studies? What is Bateson’s philosophy of governance?
The conference will include a screening of Nora Bateson’s film “An Ecology of Mind: A Daughter’s Portrait of Gregory Bateson” and a panel discussion.