From Idealism to Pragmatism

European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 10 (2) (2018)
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Pragmatism has ties to Idealism; it has even been accused of being a form of idealism. I tell a story about the changing nature of idealism that makes sense of its relationship to pragmatism without threatening to collapse the two. My story is a genealogy that begins well before pragmatism shows up. Pragmatism has very little in common with the subjective idealism of Berkeley or the problematic idealism of Descartes; the differences between idealism and pragmatism get blurred only because idealism underwent an evolution transforming it into something primed to influence and maybe bleed into pragmatism. It was, according to my story, the evolved idealism developed in Germany between 1781 and 1831 that contributed to the formation and development of pragmatism. Yet pragmatism is a large evolutionary step away from idealism, however much it retains and utilizes some of the strengths of late idealistic thought.

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Author's Profile

Willem A. DeVries
University of New Hampshire, Durham

References found in this work

The pragmatist theory of truth.Susan Haack - 1976 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):231-249.
The Dialectic of Teleology.Willem A. deVries - 1991 - Philosophical Topics 19 (2):51-70.
Experience and objective idealism.John Dewey - 1906 - Philosophical Review 15 (5):465-481.
Kant's Dynamics.Daniel Warren - 2001 - In Eric Watkins (ed.), Kant and the Sciences. New York, US: Oxford University Press. pp. 93--116.

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