Language is a form of experience: Reconciling classical pragmatism and neopragmatism

Abstract
: The revival of philosophical pragmatism has generated a wealth of intramural debates between neopragmatists like Richard Rorty and contemporary scholars devoted to explicating the classical pragmatism of John Dewey and William James. Of all these internecine conflicts, the most divisive concerns the status of language and experience in pragmatist philosophy. Contemporary scholars of classical pragmatism defend experience as the heart of pragmatism while neopragmatists drop the concept of experience in favor of a thoroughly linguistic pragmatism. I argue that both positions engender formidable risks. After discussing the present impasse, I describe a third version of pragmatism which involves a reconstruction of the classical pragmatist concept of experience in light of the criticisms of foundationalism crucial to the neopragmatist linguistic turn. This third version of pragmatism does justice to both Rorty and Dewey by focusing on experience as a temporal field
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