Review: Carl R. Hausman, Charles S. Peirce's Evolutionary Philosophy [Book Review]

Dialectica 50 (No. 2):153-161 (1996)
Carl Hausman is a former editor of The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, a revival of one of the first American philosophy journals, where Peirce published some of his early work; and Hausman has devoted a good deal of his career to Peirce scholarship. He interprets Peirce’s thought “as a fallibilistic foundationalism that affirms a unique realism according to which what is real is a dynamic, evolving extramental condition.” The theme is an interesting one partly in view of the many recent criticisms of foundationalism, some drawing on pragmatist sources. It promises to re-emphasize more conservative moments of the pragmatic conception of inquiry. Similarly, Hausman’s approach highlights the historical continuities between pragmatism and realism in American philosophy. Still, if Peircean realism implies evolutionary pressure due to “extra-mental” conditions, this suggests a question. Can we also expect a corresponding realism or autonomy of human lives, thought, and cultures—themselves evolving through their interactions? A positive answer here might help avoid the de-centering excesses of contemporary anti-foundationalists, implying social and institutional space for cross-fertilizations, innovations, and the rejection of social-institutional rigidities.
Keywords Charles S. Peirce  realism  pragmatism
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