Pragmatism More Ironic than Pragmatic

In The Cambridge Companion to Rorty. New York, NY, USA: pp. 88-109 (2021)

Barry Allen
McMaster University
The principal difference between Rorty’s pragmatism and that of Peirce, James, and Dewey is his commitment to the nominalism that Peirce identified as the Achilles heel of modern empiricism. In their different ways, Peirce, James, and Dewey sought to eliminate nominalism from empiricism. That is their “radical empiricism.” Rorty, by contrast, is impressed by the nominalism and anti-empiricism of post-war analytic philosophy, especially the work of Wilfrid Sellars, Donald Davidson, and Robert Brandom, and reverses the trenchant anti-nominalism of the classical pragmatists. The result is a pragmatism without much pragmatism though a lot of nominalism; an ironic pragmatism more ironic than pragmatic.
Keywords anti-empiricism  nominalism  irony  pragmatism
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