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.
_Historied Thought, Constructed World_ offers a fresh vision: one that engages the reigning philosophies of the West, endorses the radical possibilities of historicity and flux, and reconciles the best themes of Anglo-American and continental European philosophy. Margolis sketches a program for the philosophy of the future, addressing topics such as the historical character of thinking, the intelligible world as artifact, the inseparability of theory and practice, and the reliability of a world without assured changeless structures. Through the use of numbered (...) theorems that construct an interlocking argument, Margolis carefully articulates his distinctive ideas in the context of work by Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Rorty, Derrida, Habermas, and Foucault. The discussion includes all the central topics of the philosophical tradition: from science to morality, from language to world, from persons to objects, from nature to culture, from causality to purpose, from change to history. What emerges is an argument against essentialism, one that champions the historicity of thought and cultural constructionism. (shrink)
I offer a brief for renewing pragmatism's future in terms of the motto “Darwinizing Hegel and Hegelianizing Darwin” along lines responding to the work of the classic pragmatists , read against the salient tendencies of selected analytic and continental philosophy, the import of the interval spanning Kant and Hegel, and lessons drawn from post-Darwinian paleoanthropology regarding the theory of the human self.
Gary Gutting argues, in his recent book What Philosophers Know, that analytic philosophy provides a sizable collection of exemplary arguments that effectively yield a “disciplinary body of philosophical knowledge”—“metaphilosophy,” he names it—that is, specimens that define in a notably perspicuous way what we should understand as philosophical knowledge itself. He concedes weaknesses in the best-known specimens, and he admits that, generally, even the best specimens do not provide answers to the usual grand questions. I admire his treatment of the matter (...) but argue that the metaphilosophical issues are, normally, of a much grander gauge than that of his sort of specimen; that they require a much more open, informal sort of inquiry and exchange than that of the distinctive rigor of the classic specimens themselves; that analytic philosophy, not uncharacteristically, tends to ignore the metaphilosophical issue or takes the validity of its method of argument for granted; and that the issue itself invites an appraisal of competing second-order conceptions of how philosophical argument proves fruitful. I proceed by way of the examination of cases drawn from Quine and Kripke. (shrink)
Behavior, language, development, identity, and science—all of these phenomena are commonly characterized as 'social' in nature. But what does it mean to be 'social'? Is there any intrinsic 'mark' of the social shared by these phenomena? In the first book to shed light on this foundational question, twelve distinguished philosophers and social scientists from several disciplines debate the mark of the social. Their varied answers will be of interest to sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers, psychologists, and anyone interested in the theoretical foundations (...) of the social sciences. (shrink)
: Peirce's fallibilism is shown to be the "linchpin" of his mature philosophy. In passing, objections regarding a seemingly serious paradox, a textual discrepancy, and the plausibility of an alternative approach to Peirce are answered. Peirce's fallibilism is indeed a puzzling thesis, particularly in that it appears to violate familiar finitist, practical, "here and now" (pragmatist) constraints. But that's precisely where Peirce's ingenuity takes its most interesting form. The solution provided shows the paradox and aporias of Peirce's account to be (...) no more than apparent, the textual infelicity of what would otherwise be a contradiction to be part of Peirce's rhetorical strategy (in combating the effects of James' misreading of his theory of truth), the doctrine of the continuum to be already entailed by Peirce's fallibilism, and the ultimate reconciliation between the infinite limit of inquiry and its finite phases to be essential to Peirce's theory of science cast in terms of what may be described as a Hegelianized reading of Kantian Hope—in effect, a reading of abduction as an original pragmatist version of what may be saved in the sparest way within the post-Kantian tradition. (shrink)
Eschewing the resort to universal moral principles favored by traditional Anglo-American analytic philosophy, Joseph Margolis sets out to sketch an alternative approach that accepts the lack of any neutral ground or privileged normative ...
_John Dewey and Continental Philosophy_ provides a rich sampling of exchanges that could have taken place long ago between the traditions of American pragmatism and continental philosophy had the lines of communication been more open between Dewey and his European contemporaries. Since they were not, Paul Fairfield and thirteen of his colleagues seek to remedy the situation by bringing the philosophy of Dewey into conversation with several currents in continental philosophical thought, from post-Kantian idealism and the work of Friedrich Nietzsche (...) to twentieth-century phenomenology, hermeneutics, and poststructuralism. This unique volume includes discussions comparing and contrasting Dewey with the German philosophers G. W. F. Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Hans-Georg Gadamer on such topics as phenomenology, naturalism, organicism, contextualism, and poetry. Others investigate a series of connections between Dewey and contemporary French philosophy, including the notions of subjectivity, education, and the critique of modernity in Michel Foucault; language and politics in Jacques Derrida; and the concept of experience in Gilles Deleuze. Also discussed is the question of whether we can identify traces of _Bildung_ in Dewey’s writings on education, and pragmatism’s complex relation to twentieth-century phenomenology and hermeneutics, including the problematic question of whether Heidegger was a pragmatist in any meaningful sense. Presented in intriguing pairings, these thirteen essays offer different approaches to the material that will leave readers with much to deliberate. _ John Dewey and Continental Philosophy_ demonstrates some of the many connections and opportunities for cross-traditional thinking that have long existed between Dewey and continental thought, but have been under-explored. The intersection presented here between Dewey’s pragmatism and the European traditions makes a significant contribution to continental and American philosophy and will spur new and important developments in the American philosophical debate. (shrink)
Extending his well-known investigations into the nature and logic of art and history in the cultural world, Joseph Margolis here offers a sustained account of how selves and the cultural phenomena they generate can be viewed as just as "real" as the physical nature from which they are emergent, while not being reducible to it. The book starts off with a review of prominent philosophies of art over the past half-century, focusing especially on Beardsley, Goodman, and Danto, so as to (...) highlight the need for carefully distinguishing between the metaphysical and epistemological features of physical nature and human culture. The second part of the book builds on the first part's analyses of artworks to propose a theory of selves as "self-interpreting texts." _Selves and Other Texts_ aims to develop new ways of understanding the conceptual inseparability of our analysis of physical nature and our analysis of ourselves. (shrink)
: The March 2003 American preemptive strike on Iraq and related events pose entirely new conceptual questions about the notion of a valid war. A “war on terrorism” goes well beyond any usual version of the “just‐war” concept, which is itself notoriously difficult, if not impossible, to apply in current international circumstances. The implications of the emerging forms of war are examined and are found to bear in an unexpected way on justifying war, “just war,” and justice in distributional and (...) related respects. (shrink)
In this paper, the author argues that within the current philosophical debate, pragmatism has a distinct advantage over its rivals—on the one hand, Anglo-American analytic philosophy and, on the other hand, continental philosophy. By refusing to succumb to ‘naturalizing’ tendencies, pragmatism is able to overcome scientistic tendencies in contemporary analytic philosophy. At the same time, by emphasizing the ‘natural’, pragmatism provides a helpful correction to metaphysical tendencies in continental philosophy.
There is a considerable effort in current theorizing about psychological phenomena to eliminate minds and selves as a vestige of folk theories. The pertinent strategies are quite varied and may focus on experience, cognition, interests, responsibility, behavior and the scientific explanation of these phenomena or what they purport to identify. The minimal function of the notion of self is to assign experience to a suitable entity and to fix such ascription in a possessive as well as a predicative way. It (...) is usually argued that Hume formulated an empiricist account of experience that obviated the need for reference to selves; and recent arguments mustered by Derek Parfit claim to show how to preserve experience, interest, responsibility usually assigned selves and persons without invoking any such entities. The argument here advanced demonstrates that Hume actually concedes the minimal use of the notion of self, that there appear to be no convincing grounds for eliminating it, that there are critical uses for the notion that render it ineliminable, that admission is neutral regarding the nature of selves, and that Parfit''s arguments in particular fail. There appear, therefore, to be no empiricist or materialist grounds for the eliminative move. A large recent literature that favors various eliminative strategies is canvassed and shown to be inadequate to its task and unlikely (for principled reasons) to be able to achieve its eliminative objective. (shrink)
Does thinking have a history? If there are no necessarily changeless structures to be found in things and in our inquiry into them, then what knowledge of the world and ourselves is possible? In this boldly original and elegantly written study, Joseph Margolis argues for a radically historicized view of history that treats it as both a real process and a narrative account, each a product of continual change. Developing his argument through discussions of such influential philosophers of history and (...) the natural sciences as Vico, Danto, Collingwood, Habermas, Hempel, Popper, Putnam, and Gadamer, he provides a coherent theory of flux and invariance that resolves several deep puzzles regarding human nature and understanding. While maintaining a thorough command of Anglo-American philosophy, Margolis challenges many of its most cherished assumptions and demonstrates the sense in which history and interpretation are one and the same. Exploring one of the master themes of this century, his book offers a novel theory of the human condition whose conclusions and concerns seem certain to inform philosophy in the next century as well. (shrink)