In re: Experimental Politics

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In this paper, I deal primarily with the music of John Cage. My philosophical framework is be built largely from American pragmatism, especially as articulated by John Dewey. (I have addressed the relationship between Cage and pragmatism elsewhere, and I will only very briefly recapitulate that argument here.) My method, which I will reapply to the domain of politics, is three-pronged: (1) reading anew Cage’s political writings and pieces with attention to the historical context for and the applicability of the word “experimental”; (2) creating a taxonomy of sources, their implications, and their progeny; (3) situating these works—and their “performace”—in the continuum between experience and experiment implicit in pragmatist thinking and its associated progressive politics. I look at a range of works but concentrate most of my attention on works and writings from the 1960s and 1970s: the “Diaries,” _Lecture on the Weather_, and the _Song Books_.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 1 Jul 2017
EventPerforming Indeterminacy - University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Jun 20172 Jul 2017


ConferencePerforming Indeterminacy
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • John Cage
  • Experimental Music
  • Joseph Fletcher
  • Pragmatism
  • Ananda Coomaraswamy
  • Politics

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