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        reciprocity and mutuality

gary e. davis
May 2003 / March 2014

This discussion was initially part of “A Brief Sense Of
An American Pragmatism”
When do we need reciprocal acceptance of mutual perspectives? For what do we ever need this? Clearly, we often need mutual acceptance of some mutual (i.e., reciprocally derived) perspective. But when do we need reciprocal acceptance, i.e. (presumably), acceptance for the same reason(s) all around? We can both agree that X is good to do, while doing so for different reasons. An overlapping consensus is often sufficient for agreement about what is good to do (echoing Rawls's high-scale version of this: “overlapping comprehensive doctrines,” which may not be implied by situational consensus via overlapping reasons, which may happen to imply nothing beyond the situation because higher scale implicature isn’t relevant to desire for efficacious interaction).

Reciprocal acceptance of mutual perspectives seems to be about my acceptace of your perspective and your acceptance of my perspective, where each perspective becomes the same through interaction. But what’s an example of that which is important? We may desire mutual perspectives, but when do we need this? Also, we may desire reciprocal acceptance of different perspectives, but pluralism never requires this; it requires (in the interest of fairness) a reciprocal acceptance of a shared perspective (however such a perspective is derived). In all events, our constructive engagement is most important, based on common ground that is not derived but found for the sake of collaboration, coordination, and cooperation that is project based, generally regardless of different perspectives toward the project.

Well, one might say, we construct the common ground. Do we? Or, do we construct the project that we find a way to do well together, thanks to pre-existing capability for coordination, etc.? If we can get the project done, we can all be happy in our different ways. If we want more, that’s good; that’s great. We can become more deeply engaged with each other. Yet, we all already always have our own lives to live, as fruitfully as each can, within a neighborhood which must have discernable horizons to be fulfilling. We each live in light of a sense of futurity that is inevitably singular, no matter how complemented by shared futures we desire to be.



    Be fair. © 2017, g. e. davis