Although Brandom is critical of some features of narrowly conceived classical pragmatism, at the same time he explicitly embraces a version of pragmatism, both in his overall philosophical outlook, and in his philosophy of language. Brandom’s distinctive theoretical approach is based on what he calls rationalistpragmatism, which is a version of fundamental pragmatism. Within the philosophy of language it takes the form of semantic pragmatism. The paper briefly discusses Brandomian version of fundamental (...) class='Hi'>pragmatism and its semantic underpinning, and subsequently formulates a basic dilemma it encounters there. (shrink)
Language development is one of the major battle grounds within the humanities and sciences. This is the first time that the three major theories in language development research have been fully described and compared within the covers of a single book. The three approaches: (1) The rationalism of Chomsky and the syntactic nativism that it entails; (2) The empiricism instinct in connectionist modelling of syntactic development; (3) The pragmatism of those who see the child as actively 'constructing' a grammatical (...) 'inventory' piece-by-piece through recruiting general learning abilities and socio-cognitive knowledge. -/- The book is unique in striking a balance between broad philosophical assessment of these three theories and fine-grain, fairly technical, accounts of how they fare at the empirical and linguistic 'coal faces'. -/- In Part 1, the kind of psychology to which rationalism, empiricism, and pragmatism give rise are described with reference to philosophers such as Fodor, Hume, and the American pragmatists from Peirce, to Rorty and Brandom. After an introduction to the syntactic analysis of the sentence, Part 2 continues with an account of the evolution of Chomskyan theory from its inception to the present day, followed by a review of developmental research inspired by it. Part 3 takes a sceptical look at connectionist modelling of syntactic development. Part 4 describes the kind of linguistic theories that the socio-cognitive approach finds sympathetic, reviewing its empirical progress (e.g. the work of Tomasello), ending with a comparison of how the generativists and functionalists tackle the evolution of syntax. -/- Clearly and accessibly written, the book will be an important text for developmental psychologists, linguists, and philosophers working on language. (shrink)
In this paper I illustrate what is reconstructive rationality, a notion that remains rather undetermined in Robert Brandom's work. I argue that theoretical and historical thinking are instances of reconstruction and should not be identified with it. I then explore a further instance of rational reconstruction, which Brandom calls “reconstructive metaphysics”, arguing that the demarcation between metaphysical and non-metaphysical theories has to be understood as a pragmatic one. Finally, I argue that Brandom’s reconstructive metaphysics is basically a pragmatist metaphysics. Here (...) I try to outline a pragmatist understanding of the concept of metaphysics in order to reconcile Brandom's more or less implicit attempt at metaphysical theorizing with his devotion to a pragmatist tradition that is resistant if not hostile to the very idea of metaphysics. Hence I come back to the question of how pragmatism has contributed to the understanding of “reconstructive rationality”, and argue that the latter is a notion of rationality which is needed by Brandom’s philosophy but which cannot find a clear place in the typology of the five forms of rationality that he introduces, being more akin to the core structure of rationality rather than a specific form of it. (shrink)
Classical American pragmatism: the pragmatist -- Enlightenment-and its problematic semantics -- Analyzing pragmatism: pragmatics and pragmatisms -- A Kantian rationalistpragmatism: pragmatism -- Inferentialism, and modality in Sellars's arguments against -- Empiricism -- Linguistic pragmatism and pragmatism about norms: an arc of -- Thought from Rorty's eliminative materialism to his pragmatism -- Vocabularies of pragmatism: synthesizing naturalism and -- Historicism -- Towards an analytic pragmatism: meaning-use analysis -- Pragmatism, expressivism, (...) and anti-representationalism: -- Local and global possibilities. (shrink)
Noted psychologist and philosopher develops his own brand of pragmatism, based on theories of C. S. Peirce. Emphasis on "radical empiricism," versus the transcendental and rationalist tradition. One of the most important books in American philosophy. Note.
This paper presents an outline of Carlos Vaz Ferreira's moderate anti-intellectualism, paying special attention to the relations between science and philosophy as complementary aspects of human knowledge. Explicitly opposing William James's radical anti-intellectualism, and thus apparently anti-Pragmatist, Vaz is in fact very close to the central ideas of Pragmatism. A defense of reason as a valuable help for penetrating into reality, combined with the recognition of extra-rational elements that contribute to human apprehension of reality, results in a position that (...) can be characterized by its anti-rationalism, fallibilism and pluralism. (shrink)
This paper discusses the most persistent controversial issue that occurred in Western educational philosophy ever since Socrates questioned the Sophists: the role of truth in teaching. Ways of teaching these kinds of controversy issues are briefly considered to isolate their epistemic characteristics, which will enable the interpretation of Plato and Dewey as exemplars of rationalism and empiricism regarding the role of knowledge in the curriculum and thus include their partial truths in the epistemic ethos of teaching. The consideration of pedagogy (...) will then include the partial truths of rationalism and empiricism in the epistemic ethos of teaching by following Kant's ?Concepts without percepts are empty; perceptions without conceptions are blind?. This claim, however, is narrowed down in two ways compatible with postmodernism and the heavy emphasis on constructionism in faculties of education. After quoting Harry Broudy's statement that the educational epistemic ethos should be domain?specific, guided by the experts? inquiry protocols in each curricular area, it is narrowed down further with Maxine Greene's explication that it should be pluralistic and lesson?specific. This epistemic ethos is not argued as a synthesis but as an aggregate of the partial truths of various epistemologies in the spirit of the postmodern doubt in any one theory of knowledge without throwing out the baby with the dirty bath water. Finally, the streams of consciousness involved in teaching and learning good knowledge are described phenomenologically to disclose how truth can be disclosed in teaching, thereby grounding propositional knowledge, for example, ontologically in the being of the student and in the being of the world. (shrink)
Western civilization has experienced the birth of many philosophical movements. Most of these have had their origin in a particular geographical area. One usually refers to the "Continental Rationalists." the "British Empiricists." and the "American Pragmatists." Just as "Rationalism" is said to have been created in Great Britain, it is usually said that "Pragmatism" was born in America. One speaks of pragmatism as "characteristically American." The date of birth of pragmatism in America has been pin-pointed. Its genesis (...) came about during the early part of "The Classical Period in American Philosophy," a period extending from about 1870 to 1910. Both Perry and Wiener 2 have stated that in the United States the movement arose during the 1870's due in part to conversations held by James, Peirce, Wright, Holmes, Fiske, and others at the meetings in Cambridge of an organization called "The Metaphysical Club." At these gatherings the main scientific and philosophical ideas of the day were discussed, and these men produced "American Pragmatism," in part from these discussions, and in part from independent work. Although the birth of pragmatism in America has been quite thoroughly examined, the genesis of pragmatism in Europe has been only sparsely written about. There were many writers in Europe who were associated with the pragmatic movement. In Italy there were... (shrink)
Fodor’s theory makes thinking prior to doing. It allows for an inactive agent or pure reflector, and for agents whose actions in various ways seem to float free of their own conceptual repertoires. We show that naturally evolved creatures are not like that. In the real world, thinking is always and everywhere about doing. The point of having a brain is to guide the actions of embodied beings in a complex material world. Some of those actions are, to be sure, (...) more recondite than others. But in every case the contents of thoughts still look to depend, in some non-unique but vitally important way, on the kinds of doings they support. (shrink)
Following Quine, Davidson, and Dennett, I take mental states and linguistic meaning to be individuated with reference to interpretation. The regulative principle of ideal interpretation is to maximize rationality, and this accounts for the distinctiveness and autonomy of the vocabulary of agency. This rationality-maxim can accommodate empirical cognitive-psychological investigation into the nature and limitations of human mental processing. Interpretivism is explicitly anti-reductionist, but in the context of Rorty's neo-pragmatism provides a naturalized view of agents. The interpretivist strategy affords a (...) less despondent view of constructive philosophical activity than Rorty's own. (shrink)
C. S. Peirce once defined pragmatism as the opinion that metaphysics is to be largely cleared up by the application of the following maxim for attaining clearness of apprehension: ‘Consider what effects that might conceivably have practical bearings we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object.’ (Peirce 1982a: 48) More succinctly, Richard Rorty has described the position in this way.
Abstract. Focusing on part one of Tales of the Mighty Dead and on its relation to the afterword to Between Saying and Doing, I illustrate what reconstructive methodology is and argue that theoretical thinking is one of its instances. I then show that the historical understanding involved in telling the story of a philosophical tradition is another case of reconstruction: one that deepens our understanding of the retrospective character of reconstruction itself, adding something new to our conception of rationality. I (...) then explore a further instance of reconstructive rationality, that is what Brandom calls “reconstructive metaphysics”, i.e. a reconstructive theory whose aspiration is global rather than local. Finally, I argue that Brandom’s reconstructive metaphysics is basically a pragmatist metaphysics. (shrink)
Feminist theorists have shown that knowledge is embodied in ways that make a difference in science. Intemann properly endorses feminist standpoint theory over Longino’s empiricism, insofar as the former better addresses embodiment. I argue that a pragmatist analysis further improves standpoint theory: Pragmatism avoids the radical subjectivity that otherwise leaves us unable to account for our ability to share scientific knowledge across bodies of different kinds; and it allows us to argue for the inclusion, not just of the knowledge (...) produced from marginalised bodies, but of the marginalised themselves. (shrink)
Drawing on my recent work using inferential role semantics and elements of speech act theory to analyze the role of derogatory terms (a.k.a. ‘hate speech’, or ‘slurs’) in the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, as well as the role of certain kinds of reparative speech acts in post-genocide Rwanda, this paper highlights key pragmatist commitments that inform the methods and goals of this practical analysis of real world events. In “Genocidal Language Games”, I used conceptual tools from Wittgenstein, (...) Sellars, Lewis, and Brandom, with a nod to Searle’s concept of status-functions, to develop an analysis that helps to make sense of the view that a steady, deep, and widespread derogation of a group can at least partially constitute genocide, not only be an antecedent to it. In this paper, I sketch some of the tools and lessons of this project, with an eye to highlighting their pragmatist roots and the directions to which such real-world investigations lead. (shrink)
I argue that we should reject all traditional forms of act-consequentialism if moral rationalism is true. (Moral rationalism, as I define it, holds that if S is morally required to perform x, then S has decisive reason, all things considered, to perform x.) I argue that moral rationalism in conjunction with a certain conception of practical reasons (viz., the teleological conception of reasons) compels us to accept act-consequentialism. I give a presumptive argument in favor of moral rationalism. And I argue (...) that act-consequentialism is best construed as a theory that ranks outcomes, not according to their impersonal value, but according to how much reason each agent has to desire that they obtain. (shrink)
Environmental pragmatism is a new strategy in environmental thought: it argues that theoretical debates are hindering the ability of the environmental movement to forge agreement on basic policy imperatives. This new direction in environmental philosophy moves beyond theory, advocating a serious inquiry into the practical merits of moral pluralism. Environmental pragmatism, as a coherent philosophical position, connects the methodology of classical American pragmatist thought to the explanation, solution and discussion of real issues.
According to rationalism regarding the psychology of moral judgment, people’s moral judgments are generally the result of a process of reasoning that relies on moral principles or rules. By contrast, intuitionist models of moral judgment hold that people generally come to have moral judgments about particular cases on the basis of gut-level, emotion-driven intuition, and do so without reliance on reasoning and hence without reliance on moral principles. In recent years the intuitionist model has been forcefully defended by Jonathan Haidt. (...) One important implication of Haidt’s model is that in giving reasons for their moral judgments people tend to confabulate – the reasons they give in attempting to explain their moral judgments are not really operative in producing those judgments. Moral reason-giving on Haidt’s view is generally a matter of post hoc confabulation. Against Haidt, we argue for a version of rationalism that we call ‘morphological rationalism.’ We label our version ‘morphological’ because according to it, the information contained in moral principles is embodied in the standing structure of a typical individual’s cognitive system, and this morphologically embodied information plays a causal role in the generation of particular moral judgments. The manner in which the principles play this role is via ‘proceduralization’ – such principles operate automatically. In contrast to Haidt’s intuitionism, then, our view does not imply that people’s moral reason-giving practices are matters of confabulation. In defense of our view, we appeal to what we call the ‘nonjarring’ character of the phenomenology of making moral judgments and of giving reasons for those judgments. (shrink)
Extending the project of analysis -- Elaborating abilities : the expressive role of logic -- Artificial intelligence and analytic pragmatism -- Modality and normativity : from Hume and Quine to Kant and Sellars -- Incompatibility, modal semantics, and intrinsic logic -- Intentionality as a pragmatically mediated semantic relation -- Afterword : philosophical analysis and analytic philosophy.
In Epistemic Two-Dimensional Semantics, David Chalmers seeks to develop a version of 2-D semantics which can vindicate the rationalist claim that there are constitutive connections between meaning, possibility and a priority. Chalmers lays out different ways of filling in his preferred epistemic approach to 2-D semantics so as to avoid controversial philosophical assumptions. In these comments, however, I argue that there are some distinctively rationalist commitments in Chalmers's epistemic approach to 2-D semantics. I start by explaining why Chalmers's (...) approach requires a canonical language that affords subjects accurate a priori access to the space of possibility. I then argue that traditional worries about rationalism will simply re-emerge as worries about whether there can be a canonical vocabulary and how we could come to recognize one if there were. The moral is that Chalmers's 2-D semantic framework builds in substantive metaphysical and epistemological commitments which stand in need of further defense. (shrink)
This article explores Galen's analysis of and response to the Rationalist and Empiricist medical sects. It argues that his interest in their debate concerning the epistemology of medicine and anatomy was key to his advancement of an experimental methodology.
One way to characterise pragmatism is to see it as a philosophy that placed communication at the heart of philosophical, educational and political thinking. Whereas the shift from consciousness to communication can be seen as a major innovation in modern philosophy, it is not without problems. This article highlights some of these problems and suggests a way ‘forward’ by staging a discussion between pragmatism and deconstruction. Although there are striking similarities between pragmatism and deconstruction, it is argued (...) that pragmatism and deconstruction cannot sit as easily together as some authors assume. The reason for this is not that pragmatism and deconstruction are incompatible philosophies but rather that deconstruction occurs at the very heart of pragmatism. This implies that pragmatism can only retain its commitment to communication in philosophy, education and politics if it acknowledges and, in a sense, embraces the occurrence of deconstruction in communication. This suggests that the future of pragmatism as a philosophy for education o lies in its deconstruction, something which is expressed in the idea of a deconstructive rather than a deconstructed pragmatism. (shrink)
This paper addresses recent examples of militant atheism. It considers the theistic reply that describes atheism as deriving from a “God-shaped hole” in the human soul. The paper will argue that American pragmatism offers a middle path that avoids militant atheism without suffering from this problem. The paper describes this middle path and considers the problem that is seen in Rorty’s recent work: how the pragmatist can remain critical of religious fundamentalism without succumbing to a militant version of atheism. (...) The solution proposed is tolerant acceptance of religion along with melioristic criticism developed within shared norms of inquiry. (shrink)
Pragmatism’s naturalism is inconsistent with the phenomenological tradition’s anti-naturalism. This poses a problem for the methodological consistency of phenomenological work in the pragmatist tradition. Solutions such as phenomenologizing naturalism or naturalizing phenomenology have been proposed, but they fail. As a consequence, pragmatists and other naturalists must answer the phenomenological tradition’s criticisms of naturalism.
Value judgments are meaningless. This thesis was one of the notorious tenets of Carnap’s mature logical empiricism. Less well known is the fact that in the Aufbau values were considered as philosophically respectable entities that could be constituted from value experiences. About 1930, however, values and value judgments were banished to the realm of meaningless metaphysics, and Carnap came to endorse a strict emotivism. The aim of this paper is to shed light on the question why Carnap abandoned his originally (...) positive attitude concerning values. It is argued that his non-cognitivist attitude was the symptom of a deep-rooted and never properly dissolved tension between conflicting inclinations towards Neokantianism and Lebensphilosophie. In America Carnap’s non-cognitivism became a major obstacle for a closer collaboration between logical empiricists and American pragmatists. Carnap’s persisting adherence to the dualism of practical life and theoretical science was the ultimate reason why he could not accept Morris’s and Kaplan’s pragmatist theses that cognitivism might well be compatible with a logical and empiricist scientific philosophy. (shrink)
In his Locke Lectures Brandom proposes to extend what he calls the project of analysis to encompass various relationships between meaning and use. As the traditional project of analysis sought to clarify various logical relations between vocabularies so Brandom’s extended project seeks to clarify various pragmatically mediated semantic relations between vocabularies. The point of the exercise in both cases is to achieve what Brandom thinks of as algebraic understanding. Because the pragmatist critique of the traditional project of analysis was precisely (...) to deny that such understanding is appropriate to the case of natural language, the very idea of an analytic pragmatism is called into question by that critique. My aim is to clarify the prospects for Brandom’s project, or at least something in the vicinity of that project, through a comparison of it with what I will suggest we can think of as Kant’s analytic pragmatism as developed by Peirce. (shrink)
This paper has two separate aims, with obvious links between them. First, to present Charles S. Peirce and the pragmatist movement in a historical framework which stresses the close connections of pragmatism with the mainstream of philosophy; second, to deal with a particular controversial issue, that of the supposed logicistic orientation of Peirce's work.
In recent years, a renascent form of pragmatism has developed which argues that a satisfactory pragmatic position must integrate into itself the concepts of truth and objectivity. This New Pragmatism, as Cheryl Misak calls it, is directed primarily against Rorty's neo-pragmatic dismissal of these concepts. For Rorty, the goal of our epistemic practices should not be to achieve an objective view, one that tries to represent things as they are 'in themselves,' but rather to attain a view of (...) things that can gain as much inter-subjective agreement as possible. In Rorty's language, we need to replace the aim of objectivity with that of solidarity. While the New Pragmatists agree with Rorty's 'humanist' and .. (shrink)
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)
: This paper discusses critically W.V. Quine's relation to the tradition of pragmatism. Even though Quine is often regarded as a pragmatist, it is far from clear what his commitment to pragmatism actually amounts to. It is argued that while there are pragmatist elements in Quine's position, this is not sufficient to classify him as a pragmatist in any strong historical sense; indeed, he was not even clear himself what it means to be a pragmatist. It is also (...) shown that neither Quine's philosophy nor pragmatism are as anti-metaphysical as has sometimes been thought. In order to enrich the picture of Quine's place in the pragmatist tradition, some neopragmatist criticisms of his ideas (e.g., by Hilary Putnam and Richard Rorty) are also discussed. (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)
Abstract. Value judgments are meaningless. This thesis was one of the notorious tenets of Carnap’s mature logical empiricism. Less well known is the fact that in the Aufbau values were con-sidered as philosophically respectable entities that could be constituted from value experiences. About 1930, however, values were banished to the realm of meaning-less me-taphysics, and Carnap came to endorse a strict emotivism. The aim of this paper is to shed new light on the question why Carnap abandoned his originally positive (...) attitude concerning values. It is argued that Carnap’s non-cognitivist attitude was the symptom of a deep-rooted and never properly dissolved tension be-tween his conflicting inclinations towards Neokantianism and Lebensphilosophie. In America Carnap’s non-cognitivism became a major obstacle for a closer collaboration between lo-gical empiricists and American pragmatists. Carnap’s persisting ad---herence to the dualism of practical life and theoretical science was the ultimate reason why he could not accept Morris’s and Kaplan’s pragmatist the-ses that cognitivism might well are compatible with a logical and empiricist scientific philosophy. (shrink)
One of the most influential contemporary philosophers, Hilary Putnam's involvement in philosophy spans philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, ontology and epistemology and logic. This edited volume explores Putnam's contribution to the contemporary realist and pragmatist debate and includes Putnam's comments on each issue raised.
Nearly every common theory of truth has been attributed to Nietzsche, while some commentators have argued that he simply has no theory of truth. This essay argues that Nietzsche’s remarks on truth are better situated within either the coherence or pragmatist theories of truth rather than the correspondence theory. Nietzsche’s thoughts conflict with the correspondence framework because he believes that the truth-conditions of propositions are constitutively related to our interests and that truth is approximate.
This paper deals with the rationalist assumptions behind researches of artificial intelligence (AI) on the basis of Hubert Dreyfus’s critique. Dreyfus is a leading American philosopher known for his rigorous critique on the underlying assumptions of the field of artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence specialists, especially those whose view is commonly dubbed as “classical AI,” assume that creating a thinking machine like the human brain is not a too far away project because they believe that human intelligence works on the (...) basis of formalized rules of logic. In contradistinction to classical AI specialists, Dreyfus contends that it is impossible to create intelligent computer programs analogous to the human brain because the workings of human intelligence is entirely different from that of computing machines. For Dreyfus, the human mind functions intuitively and not formally. Following Dreyfus, this paper aims to pinpointing the major flaws classical AI suffers from. The author of this paper believes that pinpointing these flaws would inform inquiries on and about artificial intelligence. Over and beyond this, this paper contributes something indisputably original. It strongly argues that classical AI research programs have, though inadvertently, falsified an entire epistemological enterprise of the rationalists not in theory as philosophers do but in practice. When AI workers were trying hard in order to produce a machine that can think like human minds, they have in a way been testing—and testing it up to the last point—the rationalist assumption that the workings of the human mind depend on logical rules. Result: No computers actually function like the human mind. Reason: the human mind does not depend on the formal or logical rules ascribed to computers. Thus, symbolic AI research has falsified the rationalist assumption that ‘the human mind reaches certainty by functioning formally’ by virtue of its failure to create a thinking machine. (shrink)
This paper concerns the normative status of coherence of desires, in the context of moral rationalism. I argue that 'desiderative coherence' is not tied to rationality, but is rather of pragmatic, instrumental, and sometimes moral value. This means that desire-based views cannot rely on coherence to support non-agent-relative accounts of moral reasons. For example, on Michael Smith's neo-rationalist view, you have 'normative reason' to do whatever your maximally coherent and fully informed self would want you to do, whether you (...) want to do it or not. For these reasons to be non-agent-relative, coherence would have to be grounded in rationality, but I argue that it is not. I analyze, and reject, various strategies for establishing a coherence-rationality connection, considering in detail a purported analogy between desires and a priori beliefs, with particular attention to the case of mathematics. (shrink)
Popper’s Critical Rationalism presents Popper’s views on science, knowledge, and inquiry, and examines the significance and tenability of these in light of recent developments in philosophy of science, philosophy of probability, and epistemology. It develops a fresh and novel philosophical position on science, which employs key insights from Popper while rejecting other elements of his philosophy. -/- Central theses include: -/- Crucial questions about scientific method arise at the level of the group, rather than that of the individual. -/- Although (...) criticism is vital for science, dogmatism is important too. -/- Belief in scientific theories is permissible even in the absence of evidence in their favour. -/- The aim of science is to eliminate false theories. -/- Critical rationalism can be understood as a form of virtue epistemology -/- Contents: -/- Ch.1 Comprehensive rationalism, critical rationalism, and pancritical rationalism -- Ch.2 Induction and corroboration -- Ch.3 Corroboration and the interpretation of probability -- Ch.4 Corroboration, tests, and predictivism -- Ch.5 Corroboration and Duhem's thesis -- Ch.6 The roles of criticism and dogmatism in science: a group level view -- Ch.7 The aim of science and its evolution -- Ch.8 Thoughts and findings. (shrink)
Deconstruction and pragmatism constitute two of the major intellectual influences on the contemporary theoretical scene--influences personified in the work of Jacques Derrida and Richard Rorty. The purpose of this volume is to bring deconstruction and pragmatism into critical confrontation with one another through staging a debate between Derrida and Rorty, itself based on discussions that took place at the College International de Philosophie in Paris in 1993.
This paper argues that communitarian philosophy can be an important philosophic resource for feminist thinkers, particularly when considered in the light of Jane Addams's (1860-1935) feminist-pragmatism. Addams's communitarianism requires progressive change as well as a moral duty to seek out diverse voices. Contrary to some contemporary communitarians, Addams extends her concept of community to include interdependent global communities, such as the global community of women peace workers.
Mark Johnston claims the pragmatist theory of truth is inconsistent with the way we actually employ and talk about that concept. He is, however, sympathetic enough to attempt to rescue its respectable core using ‘response-dependence’, a revisionary form of which he advocates as a method for clarifying various philosophically significant concepts. But Johnston has misrepresented pragmatism; it does not require rescuing, and as I show here, his ‘missing explanation argument’ against pragmatism therefore fails. What Johnston and other critics (...) including Putnam have overlooked is the distinctive nature of the pragmatist strategy, specifically, that it is non-reductive, a characteristic it shares with a more promising form of response-dependence; what Johnston calls ‘Descriptive Protagoreanism’ (DP). In this paper I offer a defence of pragmatism and show how it might be re-articulated as a form of DP. (shrink)