Postmodernism -- Classical pragmatism : waiting at the end of the road -- Pragmatism, postmodernism, and global citizenship -- Classical pragmatism, postmodernism, and neopragmatism -- Technology -- Classical pragmatism and communicative action : Jürgen Habermas -- From critical theory to pragmatism : Andrew Feenberg -- A neo-Heideggerian critique of technology : Albert Borgmann -- Doing and making in a democracy : John Dewey -- The environment -- Nature as culture : John Dewey and Aldo Leopold -- Green pragmatism : reals (...) without realism, ideals without idealism -- Classical pragmatism -- What was Dewey's magic number? -- Cultivating a common faith : Dewey's religion -- Beyond the epistemology industry : Dewey's theory of inquiry -- The homo faber debate in Dewey and Max Scheler -- Productive pragmatism : habits as artifacts in Peirce and Dewey. (shrink)
“The most likely use for Haack’s volume will be in introductory pragmatism courses and it is eminently appropriate for this task. However, others who would wish to speak out about pragmatism authoritatively would do well to go through the book from cover to cover. Outside of philosophy, the volume provides an introduction to a vital aspect of what philosophy has to offer to other disciplines, psychology among them....it is hard to think what could have been done to improve upon the (...) collection.”. (shrink)
Christopher Hookway presents a series of studies of themes from the work of the great American philosopher and pragmatist, Charles S. Peirce (1839-1913). These themes center on the question of how we are to investigate the world rationally. Hookway shows how Peirce's ideas about this continue to play an important role in contemporary philosophy.
Aldo Leopold was a pragmatist in the vernacular sense of the word. Bryan G. Norton claims that Leopold was also heavily influenced by American Pragmatism, a formal school of philosophy. As evidence, Norton offers Leopold's misquotation of a definition of right (as truth) by political economist, A.T. Hadley, who was an admirer of the philosophy of William James. A search of Leopold's digitised literary remains reveals no other evidence that Leopold was directly influenced by any actual American Pragmatist or by (...) Pragmatism (although he may have been indirectly influenced by Pragmatism early in his career). A 1923 reference, by Leopold, to Hadley and Hadley's putative definition of truth, cited by Norton, is dripping with irony. Leopold, as he matured philosophically, regarded a profound cultural shift from anthropocentric dominionism and consumerism to an evolutionary-ecological worldview and an associated non-anthropocentric 'land ethic' to be necessary for successful and sustainable conservation. Hadley espoused a brutal form of Social Darwinism and his philosophy, as expressed in the book of Hadley's that Norton cites, is politically reactionary, militaristic and unconcerned with conservation. Leopold's mature philosophy and Hadley's – far from consonant, as Norton claims – are diametrically opposed. (shrink)
Pragmatism has enjoyed a considerable revival in the latter part of the twentieth century, but what precisely constitutes pragmatism remains a matter of dispute. In reconstructing the pragmatic tradition in political philosophy, Matthew Festenstein rejects the idea that it is a single, cohesive doctrine. His incisive analysis brings out the commonalities and shared concerns among contemporary pragmatists while making clear their differences in how they would resolve those concerns. His study begins with the work of John Dewey and the moral (...) and psychological conceptions that shaped his philosophy. Here Festenstein lays out the major philosophic issues with which first Dewey, and then his heirs, would grapple. The book's second part traces how Dewey's approach has been differently developed, especially in the work of three contemporary pragmatic thinkers: Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermas, and Hilary Putnam. This first full-length critical study of the relationship between the pragmatist tradition and political philosophy fills a significant gap in contemporary thought. (shrink)
Through an analysis of the US Supreme Court's case Heller this paper argues that legal process can be pragmatically reconceptualized so as to create information necessary to decide complex social issues. This is in contrast to other more standard conceptions of law as more emphasizing what information ought to be excluded.
Pragmatism has affected American historical writing since the early twentieth century. Such contemporaries and students of Peirce, James, and Dewey as Frederick Jackson Turner, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Harvey Robinson, Charles Beard, Mary Beard, and Carl Becker drew on pragmatism when they fashioned what was called the “new history.” They wanted to topple inherited assumptions about the past and replace positivist historical methods with the pragmatists' model of a community of inquiry. Such widely read mid-twentieth-century historians as Merle (...) Curti, Henry Steele Commager, and Richard Hofstadter embraced the perspectivalism, fallibilism, and instrumentalism of the pragmatists, thereby helping to sustain the tradition during its nadir in American philosophy departments. Many historians have been drawn to the study of pragmatism during its recent renaissance; others have advanced pragmatist-inspired philosophies of history. Through such prominent contemporary historians as Thomas Haskell, David Hollinger, and Joyce Appleby, the ideas of Pierce, James, and Dewey continue to influence the historical profession. (shrink)
Durkheim's lectures on pragmatism, given in 1913-14, constitute both a significant critique of pragmatism and a clarification of Durkheim's own position. Unfortunately, these lectures have received little attention, most of it critical. When they have been taken seriously, the analysis tends to focus on their historical context and not on the details of Durkheim's actual argument. This is partly because the tendency to interpret Durkheim's theory of knowledge in idealist terms makes a nonsense of his criticisms of pragmatism. It is (...) also due to a lack of serious appraisal of the lectures as a series of arguments in their own right. (shrink)
Michel Foucault's thought not only converges with a certain type of pragmatism; it can deepen our understanding of pragmatism. There is an ambivalence in pragmatist thought between an approach that privileges the question of: ”What works?” and ”How does it work?” The former misses the political idea that some practices don't just work, but work for one purpose or another. Foucault's pragmatism does not focus on what works, but instead utilizes the concept of practices as a unit of analysis, and (...) then asks how they work. This reintroduces a political element that sometimes goes missing in pragmatist thought. (shrink)
Developments over the past four decades have secured Immanuel Kant’s status as being for contemporary philosophers what the sea was for Swinburne: the great, gray mother of us all. And Kant mattered as much for the classical American pragmatists as he does for us today. But we look back at that sepia-toned age across an extended period during which Anglophone philosophy largely wrote Kant out of its canon. The founding ideology of Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore, articulating the rationale and (...) fighting faith for the rising tide of analytic philosophy, was forged in a recoil from the perceived defects of a British idealism inspired by Hegel. Mindful of the massive debt evidently and self-avowedly owed by Hegel to Kant, and putting aside neo-Kantian <span class='Hi'>readings</span> of Kant as an empiricist philosopher of science that cast him in a light they would have found more favorable, Russell and Moore diagnosed the idealist rot as having set in already with Kant. For them, and for many of their followers down through the years, the progressive current in philosophy should be seen to have run directly from Locke, Leibniz, and Hume, to Mill and Frege, without any dangerous diversion into the oxbow of German idealism. (shrink)
What is called legal pragmatism today is very different from the older style of legal pragmatism traditionally associated with Oliver Wendell Holmes; and there is much that is worthwhile on the conception of the law revealed by reading Holmes's The Path of the Law in the light of the classical pragmatist tradition of Peirce, James, and Dewey. Here, reflections on the varieties of pragmatism - philosophical and legal, old and new - will be wrapped around an exploration of Holmes's legal (...) philosophy and the strengths and weaknesses of his arguments. (shrink)
This paper argues that Hegel and Rorty agree in rejecting foundationalism, but diverge significantly in their critiques of it, with important consequences for their visions of postfoundational discourse. An analysis of the Phenomenology of Spirit indicates how Hegel effects a thoroughly immanent critique of foundationalism. In contrast, the flaws of Rorty’s critique are shown to trap him in a cryptofoundationlism which undermines his efforts to endorse humanism, realism, and pluralism. Hegel’s successful transcendence of foundationalism is disclosed as enabling his postfoundational (...) philosophy which succeeds in providing coherent articulations of the nature and truth of humanism, realism, and pluralism. (shrink)
What at bottom is meant by calling the universe many or by calling it one? -/- Pragmatically interpreted, pluralism or the doctrine that it is many means only that the sundry parts of reality may be externally related. Everything you can think of, however vast or inclusive, has on the pluralistic view a genuinely "external" environment of some sort or amount. Things are "with" one another in many ways, but nothing includes everything, or dominates over everything. The word "and" trails (...) along after every sentence. Something always escapes. "Ever not quite" has to be said of the best attempts made anywhere in the universe at attaining all-inclusiveness. The pluralistic world is thus more like a federal republic than like an empire or a kingdom. However much may be collected, however much may report itself as present at any effective centre of consciousness or action, something else is self-governed and absent and unreduced to unity. -/- Monism, on the other hand, insists that when you come down to reality as such, to the reality of realities, everything is present to everything else in one vast instantaneous co-implicated completeness -- nothing can in any sense, functional or substantial, be really absent from anything else, all things interpenetrate and telescope together in the great total conflux. (shrink)
In recent work, Cheryl Misak has developed a novel justification of deliberative democracy rooted in Peircean epistemology. In this article, the author expands Misak's arguments to show that not only does Peircean pragmatism provide a justification for deliberative democracy that is more compelling than the justifications offered by competing liberal and discursivist views, but also fixes a specific conception of deliberative politics that is perfectionist rather than neutralist. The article concludes with a discussion of whether the `epistemic perfectionism' implied by (...) the pragmatist argument could be endorsed by liberal democrats. Key Words: deliberative democracy epistemology liberalism Cheryl Misak Charles Peirce perfectionism pragmatism truth. (shrink)
The pragmatist view of politics is at its very heart epistemic, for it treats morals and politics as a kind of deliberation or inquiry, not terribly unlike other kinds of inquiry. With the exception of Richard Rorty, the pragmatists argue that morals and politics, like science, aim at the truth or at getting things right and that the best method for achieving this aim is a method they sometimes call the scientific method or the method of intelligence – what would (...) now be termed deliberative democracy. Hence, the pragmatists offer an argument for democracy which appeals to the quality of the decisions supplied by democratic procedure. Why should we value decisions that are the products of voting after open debate over private decision-making and then voting, over bargaining, or over elimination of those who disagree with us? We should value them because the deliberative democratic method is more likely to give us true or right or justified answers to our questions. Rorty, of course, thinks that no inquiry aims at the truth and that nothing about pragmatism speaks in democracy's favor. This paper will show how his brand of pragmatism betrays what is good and deeply interesting in the pragmatist tradition. (shrink)
University of Turku, Finland In this article, relationalist approaches to social sciences are analyzed in terms of a conceptual distinction between "philosophizing sociology" and "sociologizing philosophy." These mark two different attitudes toward philosophical metaphysics and ontological commitments. The authors own pragmatist methodological relationalism of Deweyan origin is compared with ontologically committed realist approaches, as well as with Bourdieuan methodological relationalism. It is argued that pragmatist philosophy of social sciences is an appropriate tool for assisting social scientists in their methodological work, (...) especially as regards problem-driven case studies. Key Words: metaphysics pragmatism realism relationalism. (shrink)
The new social theories of practice have been inspired by Wittgenstein's late philosophy, phenomenology and more recent sociological theories. They regard embodied skills and routinized, mostly unconscious habits as a key foundation of human practice and knowledge. This position leads to an overstatement of the significance of the habitual dimension of practice. As several critics have suggested this approach omits the problems of transformative agency and change of practices. In turn classical practice theories, activity theory and pragmatism have analyzed the (...) mechanisms of change. Pragmatism suggests that a crisis of a habit calls for reflection. Through working hypotheses and experimentation this leads to a transformation of a practice. Activity theory introduced the concept of remediation. A collective elaboration of shared mediational artefacts is needed to transform an activity. (shrink)
From Aristotle's Poetics to contemporary aestheticians grappling with the politics and poetics of rap, intellectual traffic between philosophy and poetry has formed an appreciable undercurrent in the historical ebb and flow of cross-disciplinary bridge building. If anything, in the postwar years this undercurrent has only become more pronounced. Not to look too far, Wittgenstein himself admonished in Culture and Value that philosophy ought really to be written only as a form of poetic composition. Skeptics will, of course, take Wittgenstein with (...) a grain of salt, arguing that few statements could be more self-serving and that, like in the case of T.S. Eliot and the metaphysical school of poetry, Wittgenstein was .. (shrink)
Teases out from assumptions underlying Polybius's constitutional theory an otherwise unknown subjectivist, agent-relative utilitarian theory of well-being. In contrast to other ancient theories, other-concern is assumed to be rooted in nonrational human nature and without moral value. Moral concepts arise within a social community from rational reflection on personal experience and lead to socially constructed moral values and political institutions that promote cooperative over competitive behaviors. The assumptions meet Arcesilaus's skeptical objections to dogmatic ethics. Polybius, some of whose political associates (...) studied under Arcesilaus, may have derived his theory from current antiskeptical justifications of normative ethics and politics. (shrink)
LECTURE I THE PRESENT DILEMMA IN PHILOSOPHY In the preface to that admirable collection of essays of his called 'Heretics,' Mr. Chesterton writes these words : "There are some people — and I am one of them — who think that the most ...
: It is part of the conventional wisdom about the James family that the elder Henry James (1811–82) had a large influence on his son, William James (1842–1910), in the direction of religious interests. But William neither adopted his father's spirituality nor did he regard it as a foil to his own secularity. Instead, after first rejecting the elder James's idiosyncratic faith, he became increasingly intrigued with his insights into the natural world, which were in turn shaped by the Swedenborgian (...) philosophy of correspondences and use, which depict worldly facts as vessels of the spirit. The young science student drew upon this approach to nature as a resource for finding the operation of immaterial aspects within the world. The influence of the father emerges in William's emphasis on the will in human psychology, his eagerness to punctuate the striving of "the will to believe" with sessions of comforting conviction, his readiness to find "'piecemeal' supernaturalism" in subliminal psychology, his incorporation of idealism into his radical empiricism, and his openness to psychical experience. Without accepting the particulars of Henry James's faith, William James shared with his father a conviction that providential action in the universe, usually understood as the work of transcendental forces, was embedded within the natural world and within humankind. (shrink)
Recent attention given to the upstart movement of experimental philosophy is much deserved. But now that experimental philosophy is beginning to enter a stage of maturity, it is time to consider its relation to other philosophical traditions that have issued similar assaults against ingrained and potentially misguided philosophical habits. Experimental philosophy is widely known for rejecting a philosophical reliance on intuitions as evidence in philosophical argument. In this it shares much with another branch of empiricist philosophy, namely, pragmatism. Taking Kwame (...) Anthony Appiah's forthright and cautious endorsement of experimental philosophy as my model, I show that experimental philosophy and pragmatist philosophy share more than adherents of either philosophical method have yet to allow. I then use this comparison to show how the new experimentalisms could benefit from a rereading of century-old pragmatist insights about philosophical methodology. (shrink)
The philosopher Michael Ruse accounts for the difference between hypothetical and categorical imperatives, and thus the origin of distinctively moral obligations like that of altruism, in genetic terms. This is part of an attempt to develop a philosophy that takes Darwin seriously by substituting respectable scientific entities, specifically those of evolutionary biology, for suspect theological or philosophical ones, like God or the transcendental ego, as a basis for addressing philosophical questions. Pragmatists take Darwin seriously, but in a very different way (...) from that proposed by Ruse. Darwin introduced a "logic" into the study of living things-including human beings, the human mind, and culture-that leads philosophers to ask new and different questions about morality rather than trying to supply new answers to the same old questions. This essay contrasts these two different ways of taking Darwin seriously for purposes of philosophy and claims certain advantages for the pragmatist way over Ruse's. (shrink)