Speculative Pragmatism

Review of Metaphysics 41 (2):406-408 (1987)

Sandra Rosenthal has written an auspicious and even bold book, the task of which is to provide us with three fundamental approaches to the most profound and elusive of philosophical problems and questions. Her first intention is to present a "full-blown philosophical stance" in a pragmatic mode. Second, she attempts to structure a "speculative synthesis of what is to be found in the writings of the classical American pragmatists," and third, she offers a "speculative development of unique doctrines inspired by, and incorporating the spirit of, classical American pragmatism." Few among the many contemporary interpreters of the pragmatic philosophical tradition would attempt such a formidable undertaking. What is remarkable is how close Rosenthal comes to redeeming her promise. In fact, if she is correct in her version of pragmatic thought as found in the writings of Charles S. Peirce, William James, John Dewey, George H. Mead and C. I. Lewis, most present commentaries on pragmatism--as having or not having a metaphysical posture, as alleging the uniqueness of pragmatism as differentiated from the western philosophical tradition, especially in its "foundational" commitment--will subsequently be out of date.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1987412143
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