Pragmatist Metaphysics proposes a pragmatist re-articulation of the nature, aims and methods of metaphysics. Rather than regarding metaphysics as a ‘first philosophy’, an inquiry into the world independent of human perspectives, the pragmatist views metaphysics as an inquiry into categorizations of reality laden with human practices. Insofar as our categorizations of reality are practice-laden, they are also, inevitably, value-laden.
Sami Pihlström argues that metaphysics does not, then, study the world’s ‘own’ categorial structure, but a structure we, through our conceptual and practical activities, impose on the reality we experience and interact with. Engaging with the classical American pragmatists, in particular William James, and neopragmatists, including Hilary Putnam, the author seeks to correct long-held misconceptions regarding the nature of the relationship between metaphysics and pragmatism. He argues that a coherent metaphysical alternative to the currently fashionable realist metaphysics emerges from pragmatism and that pragmatism itself should be reinterpreted in a metaphysically serious manner. Moreover, the book argues that, from a pragmatist perspective, metaphysics must be inextricably linked with ethics.