In contemporary philosophical debates in the United States "redefining pragmatism" has become the conventional way to flag significant philosophical contests and to launch large conceptual and programmatic changes. This book analyzes the contributions of such developments in light of the classic formulations of Charles S. Peirce and John Dewey and the interaction between pragmatism and analytic philosophy. American pragmatism was revived quite unexpectedly in the 1970s by Richard Rorty's philosophical heterodoxy and his running dispute with Hilary Putnam, who, like Rorty, (...) is a professed Deweyan. Reinventing Pragmatism examines the force of the new pragmatisms, from the emergence of Rorty's and Putnam's basic disagreements of the 1970s until the turn of the century. Joseph Margolis considers the revival of a movement generally thought to have ended by the 1950s as both a surprise and a turn of great importance. The quarrel between Rorty and Putnam obliged American philosophers, and eventually Eurocentric philosophy as a whole, to reconsider the direction of American and European philosophy, for instance in terms of competing accounts of realism and naturalism. (shrink)
THE ARTICLE DEMONSTRATES FOR SOMATIC MEDICINE AS WELL AS PSYCHIATRY AND PSYCHOTHERAPY THAT THE CONCEPT OF DISEASE IS AT LEAST PARTIALLY DEPENDENT ON IDEOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS. THE PAPER SURVEYS REPRESENTATIVE VIEWS AND EXPLORES THE BEARING OF THE CONCEPTS OF NORMS, FUNCTIONS, VALUES ON THE SPECIFICATION OF DISEASE.
_Pragmatism Ascendent_ is the last of four volumes on the contribution of pragmatism to American philosophy and Western philosophy as a whole. It covers the period of American philosophy's greatest influence worldwide, from the second half of the 20th century through the beginning of the 21st. The book provides an account of the way pragmatism reinterprets the revolutionary contributions of Kant and Hegel, the significance of pragmatism's original vision, and the expansion of classic pragmatism to incorporate the strongest themes of (...) Hegelian and Darwinian sources. In the process, it addresses many topics either scanted or not addressed at all in most overviews of the pragmatism's relevance today. Noting the conceptual stalemate, confusion, and inertia of much of current Western philosophy, Margolis advances a new line of inquiry. He considers a fresh conception of the human agent as a hybrid artifact of enlanguaged culture, the decline of all forms of cognitive privilege, the pragmatist sense of the practical adequacy of philosophical solutions, and the possibilities for a recuperative convergence of the best resources of Western philosophy's most viable movements. (shrink)
What does it mean to write "This is not a pipe" across a bluntly literal painting of a pipe? René Magritte's famous canvas provides the starting point for a delightful homage by the French philosopher-historian Michel Foucault. Much better known for his incisive and mordant explorations of power and social exclusion, Foucault here assumes a more playful stance. By exploring the nuances and ambiguities of Magritte's visual critique of language, he finds the painter less removed than previously thought from the (...) pioneers of modern abstraction—"confronting them and within a common system, a figure at once opposed and complementary." Foucault's brief but extraordinarily rich essay offers a startling, highly provocative view of a painter whose influence and popularity continue to grow unchecked. _This is Not a Pipe_ also throws a new, piquantly dancing light on Foucault himself. (shrink)
_A Companion to Pragmatism,_ comprised of 38 newly commissioned essays, provides comprehensive coverage of one of the most vibrant and exciting fields of philosophy today. Unique in depth and coverage of classical figures and their philosophies as well as pragmatism as a living force in philosophy. Chapters include discussions on philosophers such as John Dewey, Jürgen Habermas and Hilary Putnam.
Persons and Minds is an inquiry into the possibilities of materialism. Professor Margolis starts his investigation, however, with a critique of the range of contemporary materialist theories, and does not find them viable. None of them, he argues, "can accommodate in a convincing way the most distinctive features of the mental life of men and oflower creatures and the imaginative possibilities of discovery and technology" (p. 8). In an extraordinarily rich analysis, Margolis carefully considers and criticizes mind-body identity theories, physicalism, (...) eliminative materialism, behaviorism, as inadequate precisely in that they are reductive. He argues, then, for ramified concepts of emergence, and embodiment which will sustain a philosophically coherent account both of the distinctive non-natural character of persons and of their being naturally embodied. But Margolis provokes us to ask, what is an em bodied mind? The crucial context for him is not the plain physical body as such, but culture. "Persons", he writes, "are in a sense not natural entities: they exist only in cultural contexts and are identifiable as such only by refer ence to their mastery of language and of whatever further abilities presuppose such mastery" (p. 245). The hallmark of persons, in Margolis's account, is their capacity for freedom, as well as their physical endowment. Thus he writes, " . . . their characteristic powers - in effect, their freedom - must inform the order of purely physical causes in a distinctive way" (p. 246). (shrink)
_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)
The definition of the human -- Perceiving paintings as paintings I -- Perceiving paintings as paintings II -- "One and only one correct interpretation" -- Toward a phenomenology of painting and literature -- "Seeing-in," "make-believe," transfiguration" : the perception of pictorial representation -- Beauty and truth and the passing of transcendental philosophy.
_The Arts and the Definition of the Human_ introduces a novel theory that our selves—our thoughts, perceptions, creativity, and other qualities that make us human—are determined by our place in history, and more particularly by our culture and language. Margolis rejects the idea that any concepts or truths remain fixed and objective through the flow of history and reveals that this theory of the human being as culturally determined and changing is necessary to make sense of art. He shows that (...) a painting, sculpture, or poem cannot have a single correct interpretation because our creation and perception of art will always be mitigated by our historical and cultural contexts. Calling upon philosophers ranging from Parmenides and Plato to Kant, Hegel, and Wittgenstein, art historians from Damisch to Elkins, artists from Van Eyck to Michelangelo to Wordsworth to Duchamp, Margolis creates a philosophy of art interwoven with his philosophical anthropology which pointedly challenges prevailing views of the fine arts and the nature of personhood. (shrink)
The Cultural Space of the Arts and the Infelicities of Reductionism identifies a conceptual tendency that can be drawn from the work of the twentieth century's best-known analytic philosophers of art: Arthur Danto, Richard Wollheim, Kendall ...
Life Without Principles d adds a fourth volume to the trilogy published under the general title The Persistence of Reality d. I demonstrates why theoretical and practical questions cannot be disjoined.
Toward a Metaphysics of Culture provides an initial, minimal, and original analysis of the concept of uniquely enlanguaged cultures of the human world and of the distinctive metaphysical features of whatever belongs to the things of that world: preeminently, persons, language, actions, artworks, products, history, practices, institutions, and norms. Emphasis is placed on the artifactual and hybrid nature of persons, naturalistic and post-Darwinian evolutionary considerations, and the bearing of the account on a range of disputed inquiries largely centered on the (...) relationship between physical nature and human culture and between the natural and human sciences. The schema offered lays a foundation for a closer analysis of the human mind, cognition, interpretation, nomologicality, normativity, intentionality, realism, and related matters. The central thesis advances the heterodox notion, congruent with post-Darwinian studies in paleoanthropology, that the human person is a natural artifact, a functional transform of the primate members of Homo sapiens, by way of a complexly intertwined biological and encultured evolution, primarily dependent on the invention, transmission, and mastery of true language and the novel hybrid abilities that that makes possible. The emergence of persons is taken to be the obverse side of the mastery of language itself. (shrink)
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)
EJPAP – This is going to be an informal conversation about the history of American philosophy, about yourself in the history of American Philosophy. Basically, we have four parts of the interview. When and how you encountered pragmatism and what interested you in it, if you think there is an American tradition of philosophy, and then about yourself in this tradition. And then your view about the prospect of the future, your prophecies. It is part of your profile to have (...) a clear view of the fu... (shrink)
Dewey’s concept of “experience” has baffled many a reader. It is, however, assuredly the key to Dewey’s distinctive philosophical contribution. Notoriously, Rorty urges that Dewey would have been well-advised to abandon “experience: in favor of “discourse” (that is, the “linguistic method of philosophy”), which he draws largely from Davidson and Sellars. For various reasons, Rorty betrays his deep misunderstanding of Dewey’s pragmatism, the lack of any close relationship between Sellars’s notion of the “given” (as a philosophical target) and Dewey’s notion (...) of the saving discovery of what is “denoted” (in inquiry) as the “given”; and the extremely problematic (possibly even incoherent) treatment of linguistic meaning in Davidson’s most pertinent papers (which Rorty seems to regard as pragmatist in an important sense and is guided by). In any event, neither Davidson nor Rorty can be rightly supposed to extend or improve Deweyan pragmatism: Rorty, in fact, explicitly and unconditionally repudiates the “linguistic turn”; and Davidson finally subverts the very theory of language on which any reading of Rorty’s “pragmatist” account of Davidson’s theory of meaning would be at all feasible. The exposé of these disorders may contributes to a more careful formulation of the pragmatist undertaking, which lies elsewhere and depends on a measure of convergence between Dewey and Peirce. (shrink)