Abstract: For most people, mobile phones and various forms of personal information technology (PIT) have become standard equipment for everyday life. Recent theorists such as Sherry Turkle raise psychological and philosophical questions about the impact of such technologies and practices, but deeper further philosophical work is needed. This paper takes a pragmatic approach to examining the effects of PIT practices upon experience. After reviewing several main issues with technology raised by Communication theorists, the paper looks more deeply at Turkle’s analysis (...) of technology's impacts upon solitude and conversation. Because Turkle only raises but doesn’t pursue the philosophical dimensions of these issues, the work on experience of John Dewey, William James, and John J. McDermott is utilized to provide concepts and methods by which PIT’s effects might be judged. Finally, pragmatist aesthetics is introduced and consulted as a source of constructive ideals which might guide future amelioration of PIT’s more significant drawbacks. (shrink)
“Hildebrand has constructed a well-paced and historically informative evaluation of neopragmatism. . . . This book makes an excellent companion for courses in both contemporary epistemology and American philosophy.” –Choice How faithful are the Neopragmatists' reformulations of Classical Pragmatism? Can their Neopragmatisms work? In examining the difficulties in Neopragmatism, David L. Hildebrand is able to propose some distinct directions for Pragmatism.
In a series of ten articles from leading American and European scholars, Pragmatist Epistemologies explores the central themes of epistemology in the pragmatist tradition through a synthesis of new and old pragmatist thought, engaging contemporary issues while exploring from a historical perspective. It opens a new avenue of research in contemporary pragmatism continuous with the main figures of pragmatist tradition and incorporating contemporary trends in philosophy. Students and scholars of American philosophy will find this book indispensable.
The Human Eros is an outstanding accomplishment, a work of genuine wisdom. It combines meticulous scholarship with an enviable mastery of cultural and philosophical history to address pressing concerns of human beings, nature, and philosophy itself. While comprised of essays spanning over two decades, the book presents a powerfully coherent philosophical vision which Alexander names, alternately, “eco-ontology,” “humanistic naturalism,” and “ecological humanism.” Whatever the name, the approach is humane and intellectually compelling, offering insight and direction to pragmatism, aesthetics, existentialism, environmental (...) philosophy, and anyone in search of wisdom. It is an immensely readable book, too, leavening .. (shrink)
An icon of philosophy and psychology during the first half of the 20th century, Dewey is known as the father of Functional Psychology and a pivotal figure of the Pragmatist movement as well as the progressive movement in education. This concise and critical look at Dewey’s work examines his discourse of "right" and "wrong," as well as political notions such as freedom, rights, liberty, equality, and naturalism. The author of several essays about thought and logic, Dewey’s legacy remains not only (...) through the works he left us, but also through the institutions he founded, which include The New School for Social Research in New York City and the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Hildebrand’s biography brilliantly interweaves the different strands of Dewey's thought, and examines the legacy he left behind. (shrink)
In this essay, David Hildebrand connects Democracy and Education to Dewey's wider corpus. Hildebrand argues that Democracy and Education's central objective is to offer a practical and philosophical answer to the question, What is needed to live a meaningful life, and how can education contribute? He argues, further, that this work is still plausible as “summing up” Dewey's overall philosophy due to its focus upon “experience” and “situation,” crucial concepts connecting Dewey's philosophical ideas to one another, to education, and to (...) democracy. He opens the essay with a brief synoptic analysis of Democracy and Education's major philosophical ideas, moves on to sections devoted to experience and situation, and then offers a brief conclusion. Some mention is made throughout about the surprisingly significant role art and aesthetics can play in education. (shrink)
Ongoing hostilities between evolution and intelligent design adherents reveal deeper epistemological and ethical crises in American life. First, when adjudicating sociopolitical differences among people, how much epistemological “diversity” can be embraced before the very canons of judgment become suspect? Pragmatist notions of inquiry, warranted assertability, and pluralism can help strike a better balance. Second, the related crisis of factionalized “communities” might be addressed, along Deweyan lines, by the construction of a philosophical “total attitude” redolent of democratic ideals, more broadly conceived. (...) This attitude could grow out of reconstructed educational methods that train imaginative and interactive habits of inquiry and communication. (shrink)
Description of how Rorty created neopragmatism using a "linguistification" turn. Criticisms of shortcomings of the move in comparison with resources available in classical pragmatism, such as that of Dewey.
The undergraduate philosophy major is often seen as an irrelevant degree. While this may be attributed to a number of causes, it is also occasion for academic philosophers to reevaluate pedagogical methods at the undergraduate level. The author evaluates typical pedagogical methods and argues that overemphasizing epistemological goals of philosophical investigation instrumentalizes the process of inquiry and stifles students’ philosophical imagination, resulting in the impression of philosophy’s irrelevance. An alternative model is offered on the basis of John Dewey’s pattern of (...) inquiry. It is argued that a pedagogy that attends to Dewey’s five phases of inquiry promotes greater attention to the process of inquiry itself, which emphasizes knowledge as social, open to revision, and pertinent to students’ needs and interests. The author concludes by considering the philosophical implications of implementing such a pedagogy. (shrink)
This essay argues that to understand Dewey's vision of democracy as “epistemic” requires consideration of how experiential and communal aspects of inquiry together produce what is named here “pragmatic objectivity.” Such pragmatic objectivity provides an alternative to absolutism and self-interested relativism by appealing to certain norms of empirical experimentation. Pragmatic objectivity, it is then argued, can be justified by appeal to Dewey's conception of primary experience. This justification, however, is not without its own complications, which are highlighted with objections regarding (...) “radical pluralism” in political life, and some logical problems that arise due to the supposedly “ineffable” nature of primary experience. The essay concludes by admitting that while Dewey's theory of democracy based on experience cannot answer all of the objections argumentatively, it nevertheless provides potent suggestions for how consensus building can proceed without such philosophical arguments. (shrink)
In recent years, a genre of introduction to philosophical figures and movements for non-specialists has gained in popularity; these introductions aim to be neither too cursory nor too laden with academic detail. Oxford’s “Very Short Introductions” and the “Wadsworth Notes” series are examples of the cursory type, while academic monographs are examples of the detailed type. Steven Fesmire’s Dewey is a welcome and unique contribution to the new introductory genre, joining similar efforts such as Raymond Boisvert’s John Dewey: Rethinking Our (...) Time and my own Dewey: A Beginner’s Guide.Dewey possesses a number of helpful features. A glossary explains the usages Dewey imposed upon... (shrink)
In Vermeer’s painting The Lacemaker an artisan works with loving intensity, employing a sensibility at once intimate and strategically detached. Davidson’s careful prose embodies both the logic and beauty of lace as it simply and plainly leads one into the intricate connections among thought, language, and sociality. While the subject matters are analytic and serious, Davidson imbues them with a dry sense of humor and sparkles of warmth. Of course Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective is an important collection of philosophical work; it (...) also happens to be a pleasure to read. (shrink)
Each year, solutions to the problem "How can we all get along?" prove more vexing and remote. Are we stymied by cultural or economic differences? Is deliberation impoverished by the double-whammy of consumerism and its conduit, a 24/7, entertainment-oriented media system? In A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy (PPD) Robert B. Talisse rules out none of these factors while pushing a boldly original democratic theory appealing not only to pragmatists but to anyone who cares more about solving real problems than protecting (...) philosophical turf. With clarity and force, Talisse's immensely readable book briskly acquaints readers with the complex theories necessary to grappling with issues worth caring about. While meticulously attentive to pertinent scholarship, Talisse is never pedantic or jargonistic. He educates the reader by reiterating exactly the premises necessary to move his theses ahead. (shrink)