The Art of Memory in a Pluralistic Universe: William James's "Republican Banquet"

Çırakman E.

in: Memory in the Ontopoiesis of Life Book Two, Analecta Husserliana (The Yearbook of Phenomenological Research), vol 102, Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, Editor, Springer, London/Berlin , Dordrecht, pp.307-334, 2009

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Publisher: Springer, London/Berlin 
  • City: Dordrecht
  • Page Numbers: pp.307-334
  • Editors: Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, Editor
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The aim of this paper is to conduct an inquiry that would illuminate how a

phenomenological account of memory may govern some basic issues of our

lives: the meaning of our collectivity and spirituality, the cultural embodiment

of our experiences and memories, and their collective status, the question of

intimacy and unity in the universe of our experiences. I shall consider this

account of memory by focusing on William James’s radically empiricist, pluralist,

and pragmatic philosophy. In reading James, my aim is to propose a

notion of collective memory as the cash-value of James’s spiritualism. This

proposal will inevitably lead us to James’s confrontation with Hegelian Spirit,

or Absolute, as an alternative hypothesis in understanding the intimacy, the

unity, and the spirituality of the universe. I shall seek to derive some implications

from their profound articulations in order to suggest a more pragmatic

and releasing conception of collective memory as freeing us from the burden

of the past by socially transforming it into prospects for action, and by aesthetically

deploying it to symbolic expressions embodied in art and cultural

works. The approach that I propose aims to relocate the philosophical concept

of memory in a perspective that acknowledges life or becoming in terms of its

excessive dynamism.