Freestanding pragmatism in law and bioethics

This paper represents the first installment of alarger project devoted to the relevance of pragmatism forbioethics. One self-consciously pragmatist move would be toreturn to the classical pragmatist canon of Peirce, James andDewey in search of substantive doctrines or methodologicalapproaches that might be applied to current bioethicalcontroversies. Another pragmatist (or neopragmatist) move wouldbe to subject the regnant principlist paradigm to Richard Rorty'ssubversive assaults on foundationalism in epistemology andethics. A third pragmatist method, dubbed ``freestandingpragmatism'' by its proponents, embraces a ``pragmatist'' approachto practical reasoning without discernable moorings either to theclassical canon or to Rorty's neopragmatism. This thirdpragmatist approach to method in practical ethics is the subjectof this article. I begin with an examination of freestandingpragmatism in the theory of judicial decision making. I arguethat this version of legal pragmatism – so described on account ofits commitments to contextualism, instrumentalism, eclecticism,and freedom from grand theory – bears a striking resemblance tomuch self-described pragmatist work in bioethics today. Ifurther argue that if this is what we mean by ``pragmatism,'' thenin a certain sense ``we are all pragmatists now.''.
Keywords jurisprudence  methodology  pragmatism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1011495624471
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 31,812
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
A Plea for Pragmatism in Clinical Research Ethics.David H. Brendel & Franklin G. Miller - 2008 - American Journal of Bioethics 8 (4):24 – 31.
Common Morality and Moral Reform.K. A. Wallace - 2009 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 30 (1):55-68.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
On Legal Pragmatism: Where Does 'the Path of the Law' Lead Us?Susan Haack - 2005 - American Journal of Jurisprudence 50 (1):71-105.
Rorty's Pragmatism and Bioethics.John D. Arras - 2003 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 28 (5 & 6):597 – 613.
Language is a Form of Experience: Reconciling Classical Pragmatism and Neopragmatism.Colin Koopman - 2007 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 43 (4):694 - 727.
Quine and Pragmatism.Heikki J. Koskinen & Sami Pihlström - 2006 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 42 (3):309-346.
Pragmatism as a Research Program – a Reply to Arras.Maartje Schermer & Jozef Keulartz - 2003 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 24 (1):19-29.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
47 ( #125,605 of 2,231,541 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #264,176 of 2,231,541 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature