Fourteen philosophers share their experience teaching Peirce to undergraduates in a variety of settings and a variety of courses. The latter include introductory philosophy courses as well as upper-level courses in American philosophy, philosophy of religion, logic, philosophy of science, medieval philosophy, semiotics, metaphysics, etc., and even an upper-level course devoted entirely to Peirce. The project originates in a session devoted to teaching Peirce held at the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. The session, (...) organized by James Campbell and Richard Hart, was co-sponsored by the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. (shrink)
This volume is the third volume of a four-volume series of studies of American Pragmatism that focuses on Franklin, Emerson, James and Dewey.1 In these volumes I have attempted to organize the discussion around four pervasive themes in pragmatic philosophy: natural place, experience, possibility, and community. A related fifth volume presents the history of the American Philosophical Association as only tangentially pragmatic in this sense, despite the often-assumed connection between Pragmatism and philosophy in America.2On this occasion, the focus is on (...) the William James volume. When I got out of the army in 1969 and enrolled in Temple University in Philadelphia, James was not generally held in high regard as a... (shrink)
In The Community Reconstructs James Campbell explores the Pragmatists' contributions to American social thought, drawing upon the writings of William James, John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, James Hayden Tufts, and their various critics.
The article deals with the social pragmatist approach to the political conception of community, especially in light of the challenges posed by the tendency to view democracy without community and blur the problem and boundaries between conflict and reconciliation. KEY WORDS – Community. Conflict. Democracy. Pragmatism. Reconciliation.
While rooted in careful study of Mead’s original writings and transcribed lectures and the historical context in which that work was carried out, the papers in this volume have brought Mead’s work to bear on contemporary issues in metaphysics, epistemology, cognitive science, and social and political philosophy.
With the centenary of the publication of William James's Pragmatism (1907) fast approaching, this paper explores two questions. First: what role did James's volume play in the development of the Pragmatic movement?; second: how powerful a force was that movement within American academic philosophy? With regard to the first question, this paper suggests that Pragmatism was not the font of the movement, but in fact appeared near its end; with regard to the second question, this paper suggests that the Pragmatic (...) movement, while of great importance in American society, was itself only a minor moment within professionalizing American philosophy. (shrink)
This paper discusses aspects of the thought of the American patriot and thinker, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). At the present time, Franklin is too often regarded primarily as a scientific amateur whose tinkerings produced nothing of lasting importance, or as a self-centered prig of interest only to others like himself. In reality, Franklin was a thoughtful and concerned individual attempting to advance the common weal, both through his personal struggle toward moral perfection and through the institutionalization of the scientific spirit of (...) fallibilism, publicity, and the unquestioned appeal to experience as the sole means of deciding policies. I hope to suggest the ongoing value of Franklin's work in the course of my paper. (shrink)
The philosopher John J. McDermott comes out of the long American tradition that takes the aim of philosophical inquiry to be interpretation of the open meanings of experience, so that we might all live fuller and richer lives. Here, the authors of these nine essays explore his highly original interpretations of philosophy's various questions about our shared existence. How are we to understand the nature of American culture and to carry forward its important contributions? What is the personal importance of (...) embodiment, of living in the realization of death? How does our physical and personal environment nourish bodies and spirits? What does the deliberate pursuit of a morality offer us? How can we carry forward the fundamental tasks of education to enable those who follow us to use our shared past to address their civic and spiritual problems? What are the possibilities for community? Together, these essays offer a clear, multi-layered understanding of the compelling vision that McDermott has presented over the years. In an Afterword, McDermott responds to the authors' queries and concerns, offering a restatement of his understanding of the American philosopher's task. These essays indicate, and McDermott's response confirms, that for him philosophy is not a purely cerebral activity. Philosophy is, rather, an intellectual means of exploring the fullness of human experience, and it functions best when it operates in the context of the broad sweep of the humanities. Similarly, for McDermott the self is no given substantial entity. On the contrary, it is relational, rooted geographically and socially in its place and its fellows, and damaged when these life-giving processes fail. Further, McDermott does not accept any ultimate canopy of meaning. The human journey is a personal project within which provisional meanings must be created to sustain our advance. (shrink)
This paper investigates whether philosophers ever regarded the teaching of philosophy as a central concern by considering the first decades of professional associations that ultimately merged into the American Philosophical Association . Before the APA, philosophical education was mostly devoted to the development of the Christian gentleman. Upon its founding, the APA’s first president took the central functions of the APA to promote original investigation, publication, and collaboration, rather than teaching. Despite Creighton’s position that teaching should not play a role (...) in the APA, an investigation of the early years of the APA show that philosophers had some, albeit infrequent, interest in pedagogical issues related to philosophy. Thus, it is argued that the early years of the APA reflect a deep ambivalence toward teaching. (shrink)
George Herbert Mead was born at the height of America's bloody Civil War in 1863, the year of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. He was born in New England, in the small town of South Hadley, Massachusetts; but when he was seven years old his family moved to Oberlin, Ohio, so that his father, Hiram Mead, a Protestant minister, could assume a chair in homiletics at the Oberlin Theological Seminary. After his father's death in 1881, Mead's mother, Elizabeth (...) Storrs Billings Mead, briefly taught at Oberlin College. Mead grew to self-consciousness in this educational atmosphere, amidst the conflict between science and religion over the primacy of efficient or final explanations; and he offers us, in some autobiographical comments, a sense of the difficulties felt by one who saw values on either side: We wished to be free to follow our individual thinking and feeling into an intelligent and sympathetic world without having to bow before incomprehensible dogma or to anticipate the shipwreck of our individual ends and values. We wanted full intellectual freedom and yet the conservation of the values for which had stood Church, State, Science, and Art. (shrink)
: This paper is a response to a series of five papers—by Michael Eldridge, Bruce Kuklick, John Lachs, Erin McKenna, and John Ryder—that examine my recently published volume, A Thoughtful Profession: The Early Years of the American Philosophical Association. It discusses those papers in two phases: What they have to say about the volume's account of the history of the philosophy profession in America, and what they have to say about the present and future of the profession based upon its (...) past. Each of the papers demonstrates a sincere interest in exploring the history or the meaning of the APA. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophers seldom make their fundamental beliefs explicit. They prefer, rather, to deal with more narrow, topical questions. Still, their fundamental beliefs remain operative in their work. On a number of occasions over the course of his life, John Dewey gave detailed expositions of the beliefs about experience, education, community, individualism, etc., that he saw underlying his philosophical thought. An exposition and critical examination of some of these beliefs should serve as a useful means for exploring the philosophical meaning of (...) Dewey’s work. (shrink)
This paper is a response to a series of five papers—by Michael Eldridge, Bruce Kuklick, John Lachs, Erin McKenna, and John Ryder—that examine my recently published volume, A Thoughtful Profession: The Early Years of the American Philosophical Association. It discusses those papers in two phases: What they have to say about the volume's account of the history of the philosophy profession in America, and what they have to say about the present and future of the profession based upon its past. (...) Each of the papers demonstrates a sincere interest in exploring the history or the meaning of the APA. (shrink)