One of the great American pragmatic philosophers alongside Peirce and Dewey, William James delivered these eight lectures in Boston and New York in the winter of 1906–7. Though he credits Peirce with coining the term 'pragmatism', James highlights in his subtitle that this 'new name' describes a philosophical temperament as old as Socrates. The pragmatic approach, he says, takes a middle way between rationalism's airy principles and empiricism's hard facts. James' pragmatism is both a method of interpreting ideas (...) by their practical consequences and an epistemology which identifies truths according to their useful outcomes. Furnished with many examples, the lectures illustrate pragmatism's response to classic problems such as the question of free will versus determinism. Published in 1907, this work further develops James's approach to religion and morality, introduced in The Will to Believe and The Varieties of Religious Experience , both reissued in this series. (shrink)
Noted psychologist and philosopher develops his own brand of pragmatism, based on theories of C. S. Peirce. Emphasis on "radical empiricism," versus the transcendental and rationalist tradition. One of the most important books in American philosophy. Note.
In today’s pluralistic society, clinical ethics consultation cannot count on a pre-given set of rules and principles to be applied to a specific situation, because such an approach would deny the existence of different and divergent backgrounds by imposing a dogmatic and transcultural morality. Clinical ethics support needs to overcome this lack of foundations and conjugate the respect for the difference at stake with the necessity to find shared and workable solutions for ethical issues encountered in clinical practice. We argue (...) that a pragmatist approach to CES, based on the philosophical theories of William James, John Dewey, and Charles Sanders Peirce, can help to achieve the goal of reaching practical solutions for moral problems in the context of today’s clinical environment, characterized by ethical pluralism. In this article, we outline a pragmatist theoretical framework for CES. Furthermore, we will show that moral case deliberation, making use of the dilemma method, can be regarded an example of a pragmatist approach to CES. (shrink)
In discussions of whether and how pragmatic considerations can make a difference to what one ought to believe, two sets of cases feature. The first set, which dominates the debate about pragmatic reasons for belief, is exemplified by cases of being financially bribed to believe (or withhold from believing) something. The second set, which dominates the debate about pragmatic encroachment on epistemic justification, is exemplified by cases where acting on a belief rashly risks some disastrous outcome if the belief turns (...) out to be false. Call those who think that pragmatic considerations make a difference to what one ought to believe in the second kind of case, but not in the first, ‘moderate pragmatists’. Many philosophers – in particular, most advocates of pragmatic and moral encroachment – are moderate pragmatists. But moderate pragmatists owe us an explanation of exactly why the second kind of pragmatic consideration makes a difference, but the first kind doesn’t. I argue that the most promising of these explanations all fail: they are either theoretically undermotivated, or get key cases wrong, or both. Moderate pragmatism may be an unstable stopping point between a more extreme pragmatism, on one hand, and an uncompromising anti-pragmatism on the other. (shrink)
Originally published in 1914, this book examines the French Voluntarist school of philosophy and the key ways in which it differs from the Pragmatists. Stebbing argues that Voluntarism and Pragmatism both prove inadequate in their definition of truth, and suggests that an acknowledgment of the 'non-existential character of truth' is needed. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in philosophy.
Pragmatism is America’s most distinctive philosophy. Generally it has been understood as a development of European thought in response to the "American wilderness." A closer examination, however, reveals that the roots and central commitments of pragmatism are indigenous to North America. Native Pragmatism recovers this history and thus provides the means to re-conceive the scope and potential of American philosophy. Pragmatism has been at best only partially understood by those who focus on its European antecedents. This (...) book casts new light on pragmatism’s complex origins and demands a rethinking of African American and feminist thought in the context of the American philosophical tradition. Scott L. Pratt demonstrates that pragmatism and its development involved the work of many thinkers previously overlooked in the history of philosophy. (shrink)
Cheryl Misak presents a history of the great American philosophical tradition of pragmatism, from its inception in the 1870s to the present day. She traces the connections between classical American pragmatism and contemporary analytic philosophy, and draws out the continuing influence of pragmatist ideas in the recent history of philosophy.
What does American pragmatism contribute to contemporary debates about human-animal relationships? Does it acknowledge our connections to all living things? Does it bring us closer to an ethical treatment of all animals?
Pragmatists have traditionally been enemies of representationalism but friends of naturalism, when naturalism is understood to pertain to human subjects, in the sense of Hume and Nietzsche. In this volume Huw Price presents his distinctive version of this traditional combination, as delivered in his René Descartes Lectures at Tilburg University in 2008. Price contrasts his view with other contemporary forms of philosophical naturalism, comparing it with other pragmatist and neo-pragmatist views such as those of Robert Brandom and Simon Blackburn. Linking (...) their different 'expressivist' programmes, Price argues for a radical global expressivism that combines key elements from both. With Paul Horwich and Michael Williams, Brandom and Blackburn respond to Price in new essays. Price replies in the closing essay, emphasising links between his views and those of Wilfrid Sellars. The volume will be of great interest to advanced students of philosophy of language and metaphysics. (shrink)
Pragmatism is America's best-known native philosophy. It espouses a practical set of beliefs and principles that focus on the improvement of our lives. Yet the split between classical and contemporary pragmatists has divided the tradition against itself. Classical pragmatists, such as John Dewey and William James, believed we should heed the lessons of experience. Neopragmatists, including Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, and Jürgen Habermas, argue instead from the perspective of a linguistic turn, which makes little use of the idea of (...) experience. Can these two camps be reconciled in a way that revitalizes a critical tradition? -/- Colin Koopman proposes a recovery of pragmatism by way of "transitionalist" themes of temporality and historicity which flourish in the work of the early pragmatists and continue in contemporary neopragmatist thought. "Life is in the transitions," James once wrote, and, in following this assertion, Koopman reveals the continuities uniting both phases of pragmatism. Koopman's framework also draws from other contemporary theorists, including Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, Bernard Williams, and Stanley Cavell. By reflecting these voices through the prism of transitionalism, a new understanding of knowledge, ethics, politics, and critique takes root. Koopman concludes with a call for integrating Dewey and Foucault into a model of inquiry he calls genealogical pragmatism, a mutually informative critique that further joins the analytic and continental schools. (shrink)
Rising concerns among scholars about the intellectual and cultural foundations of democracy have led to a revival of interest in the American philosophical tradition of pragmatism. In this book, Hans Joas shows how pragmatism can link divergent intellectual efforts to understand the social contexts of human knowledge, individual freedom, and democratic culture. Along with pragmatism's impact on American sociology and social research from 1895 to the 1940s, Joas traces its reception by French and German traditions during this (...) century. He explores the influences of pragmatism—often misunderstood—on Emile Durkheim's sociology of knowledge, and on German thought, with particularly enlightening references to its appropriation by Nazism and its rejection by neo-Marxism. He also explores new currents of social theory in the work of Habermas, Castoriadis, Giddens, and Alexander, fashioning a bridge between Continental thought, American philosophy, and contemporary sociology; he shows how the misapprehension and neglect of pragmatism has led to systematic deficiencies in contemporary social theory. From this skillful historical and theoretical analysis, Joas creates a powerful case for the enduring legacy of Peirce, James, Dewey, and Mead for social theorists today. (shrink)
This book evaluates how the pragmatist notion of habit can influence current debates at the crossroads between philosophy, cognitive sciences, neurosciences, and social theory. It deals with the different aspects of the pragmatic turn involved in 4E cognitive science and traces back the roots of such a pragmatic turn to both classical and contemporary pragmatism. Written by renowned philosophers, cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, and social theorists, this volume fills the need for an interdisciplinary account of the role of 'habit'. Researchers (...) interested in the philosophy of mind, cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology, social theory, and social ontology will need this book to fully understand the pragmatist turn in current research on mind, action and society. (shrink)
According to doxastic pragmatism, certain perceived practical factors, such as high stakes and urgency, have systematic effects on normal subjects’ outright beliefs. Upholders of doxastic pragmatism have so far endorsed a particular version of this view, which we may call threshold pragmatism. This view holds that the sensitivity of belief to the relevant practical factors is due to a corresponding sensitivity of the threshold on the degree of credence necessary for outright belief. According to an alternative but (...) yet unrecognised version of doxastic pragmatism, practical factors affect credence rather than the threshold on credence. Let’s call this alternative view credal pragmatism. In this paper, I argue that credal pragmatism is more plausible than threshold pragmatism. I show that the former view better accommodates a cluster of intuitive and empirical data. I conclude by considering the issue of whether our doxastic attitudes’ sensitivity to practical factors can be considered rational, and if yes, in what sense. (shrink)
Though many pioneering feminists were deeply influenced by American pragmatism, their contemporary followers have generally ignored that tradition because of its marginalization by a philosophical mainstream intent on neutral analyses devoid of subjectivity. In this revealing work, Charlene Haddock Seigfried effectively reunites two major social and philosophical movements, arguing that pragmatism, because of its focus on the emancipatory potential of everyday experiences, offers feminism its most viable and powerful philosophical foundation. With careful attention to their interwoven histories and (...) contemporary concerns, _Pragmatism and Feminism_ effectively invigorates both traditions, opening them to new interpretations and appropriations and asserting their timely philosophical relevance. This foundational work in feminist theory simultaneously invites and guides future scholarship in an area of rapidly emerging significance. (shrink)
Idealism, Pragmatism, and Feminism provides an account of the life and writings of Ella Lyman Cabot (1866-1934), a woman who received formal training, but not formal recognition, in the field of classical American philosophy. It highlights the themes of idealism, pragmatism and feminism as they emerged in the course of career as an educational reformer and ethicist that spanned nearly four decades. Cabot's writings, developed in graduate seminars at Harvard and Radcliffe at the turn of the century complement, (...) and in many cases anticipate, the thinking of the "fathers" of the American philosophical cannon: Charles Sanders Peirce, Josiah Royce, William James, and John Dewey. Her formal philosophical writing focuses on the concepts of growth, creativity, and the moral imagination—a fact that is especially interesting given that these concepts are developed by a woman who faced serious obstacles in her personal and intellectual development. Indeed, these concepts are not merely philosophical ideals, but practical tools that Ella Lyman Cabot used to negotiate the gender roles and intellectual marginalization that she faces at the turn of the century. The discipline of philosophy was very slow to incorporate the insights of women into its self-definition. An analysis of the writings of Ella Lyman Cabot reveals this point, but also the pointed ways in which she sought to express her genuinely creative insights. (shrink)
This chapter examines the pragmatist approach to cognition and experience and provides some of the conceptual background to the “pragmatic turn” currently underway in cognitive science. Classical pragmatists wrote extensively on cognition from a naturalistic perspective, and many of their views are compatible with contemporary pragmatist approaches such as enactivist, extended, and embodied-Bayesian approaches to cognition. Three principles of a pragmatic approach to cognition frame the discussion: First, thinking is structured by the interaction of an organism with its environment. Second, (...) cognition develops via exploratory inference, which remains a core cognitive ability throughout the life cycle. Finally, inquiry/problem solving begins with genuinely irritating doubts that arise in a situation and is carried out by exploratory inference. (shrink)
The contributors to Pragmatism and the Philosophy of Sport argue that American pragmatism is particularly well suited analyze the experience and development of sport activities. This volume will be a valuable resource in any philosophy of sport class or in a course on pragmatism; it will also be appropriate for kinesiology students. It will give readers a good sense of the themes in the American philosophical tradition as well as those in the burgeoning field of the philosophy (...) of sport. (shrink)
_Pragmatism: An Introduction _provides an account of the arguments of the central figures of the most important philosophical tradition in the American history of ideas, pragmatism. This wide-ranging and accessible study explores the work of the classical pragmatists Charles Sanders Peirce, William James and John Dewey, as well as more recent philosophers including Richard Rorty, Richard J. Bernstein, Cheryl Misak, and Robert B. Brandom. Michael Bacon examines how pragmatists argue for the importance of connecting philosophy to practice. In so (...) doing, they set themselves in opposition to many of the presumptions that have dominated philosophy since Descartes. The book demonstrates how pragmatists reject the Cartesian spectator theory of knowledge, in which the mind is viewed as seeking accurately to represent items in the world, and replace it with an understanding of truth and knowledge in terms of the roles they play within our social practices. The book explores the diverse range of positions that have engendered marked and sometimes acrimonious disputes amongst pragmatists. Bacon identifies the themes underlying these differences, revealing a greater commonality than many commentators have recognized. The result is an illuminating narrative of a rich philosophical movement that will be of interest to students in philosophy, political theory, and the history of ideas. (shrink)
Environmental pragmatism is a new strategy in environmental thought. It argues that theoretical debates are hindering the ability of the environmental movement to forge agreement on basic policy imperatives. This new direction in environmental thought moves beyond theory, advocating a serious inquiry into the merits of moral pluralism. Environmental pragmatism, as a coherent philosophical position, connects the methodology of classical American pragmatic thought to the explanation, solution and discussion of real issues. This concise, well-focused collection is the first (...) comprehensive presentation of environmental pragmatism as a new philosophical approach to environmental thought and policy. (shrink)
Cheryl Misak offers a strikingly new view of the development of philosophy in the twentieth century. Pragmatism, the home-grown philosophy of America, thinks of truth not as a static relation between a sentence and the believer-independent world, but rather, a belief that works. The founders of pragmatism, Peirce and James, developed this idea in more and less objective ways. The standard story of the reception of American pragmatism in England is that Russell and Moore savaged James's theory, (...) and that pragmatism has never fully recovered. An alternative, and underappreciated, story is told here. The brilliant Cambridge mathematician, philosopher and economist, Frank Ramsey, was in the mid-1920s heavily influenced by the almost-unheard-of Peirce and was developing a pragmatist position of great promise. He then transmitted that pragmatism to his friend Wittgenstein, although had Ramsey lived past the age of 26 to see what Wittgenstein did with that position, Ramsey would not have liked what he saw. (shrink)
Postmodernism -- Classical pragmatism : waiting at the end of the road -- Pragmatism, postmodernism, and global citizenship -- Classical pragmatism, postmodernism, and neopragmatism -- Technology -- Classical pragmatism and communicative action : Jürgen Habermas -- From critical theory to pragmatism : Andrew Feenberg -- A neo-Heideggerian critique of technology : Albert Borgmann -- Doing and making in a democracy : John Dewey -- The environment -- Nature as culture : John Dewey and Aldo Leopold (...) -- Green pragmatism : reals without realism, ideals without idealism -- Classical pragmatism -- What was Dewey's magic number? -- Cultivating a common faith : Dewey's religion -- Beyond the epistemology industry : Dewey's theory of inquiry -- The homo faber debate in Dewey and Max Scheler -- Productive pragmatism : habits as artifacts in Peirce and Dewey. (shrink)
Michel Foucault's early works criticize the development of modern democratic institutions as creating a surveillance society, which functions to control bodies by making them feel watched and monitored full time. His later works attempt to recover private space by exploring subversive techniques of the body and language. Following Foucault, pragmatists like Richard Shusterman and Richard Rorty have also developed very rich approaches to this project, extending it deeper into the literary and somatic dimensions of self-stylizing. Yet, for a debate centered (...) on the re-creation of the vision of the self, these discussions have yet to fully engage—even while they set the conditions for this engagement with—issues of posthuman technologies, such as AI, robotics, and genetic engineering. These certainly will constitute the primary engine of public institutional surveillance in the years to come. With this surveillance, the two spheres of private self-fashioning and public institutions will continue to evolve in relation to one another. As they do so, democratic society will change considerably. Perhaps Rorty's own normative and linguistic ideal of conversational maintenance may provide something of a democratic limit case on any future posthuman self-fashioning. (shrink)
Pragmatism is resurging, especially among embodied cognitive scientists. The growing appreciation of the body accompanying this fits with increasing recognition that cognition and perception are valuative, which is to say, emotional, interested and aesthetic. In what follows, I detail how classical pragmatic thinking—specifically that of William James and John Dewey—anticipates recent valuative theories of mind and how it can be used to develop them further.I begin by discussing James's concept of selective interests, how it meshes with contemporary research and (...) how the two together suggest not only that cognition is valuative, but that emotions bring us rationally into touch with our worlds. Recent advocates cite... (shrink)
This book aims to make the pragmatist intellectual framework accessible to organization and management scholars. It presents some fundamental concepts of Pragmatism, their potential application to the study of organizations and the resulting theoretical, methodological, and practical issues.
The aim of this book is to provide a fresh, wider, and more compelling account of democracy than the one we usually find in conventional contemporary political theory. Telling the story of democracy as a broad societal project rather than as merely a political regime, Frega delivers an account more in tune with our everyday experience and ordinary intuitions, bringing back into political theory the notion that democracy denotes first and foremost a form of society, and only secondarily a specific (...) political regime. The theoretical shift accomplished is major. Claiming that such a view of democracy is capable of replacing the mainstream categories of justice, freedom and non-domination in their hegemonic function of all-encompassing political concepts, Frega then argues for democracy as the broader normative framework within which to rethink the meaning and forms of associated living in all spheres of personal, social, economic, and political life. Drawing on diverse traditions of American pragmatism and critical theory, as well as tackling political issues which are at the core of contemporary theoretical debates, this book invites a rethinking of political theory to one more concerned with the political circumstances of social life, rather than remaining confined in the narrowly circumscribed space of a theory of government. (shrink)
The origins of pragmatism -- Pragmatism and epistemology -- Pragmatism and truth -- Pragmatism and metaphysics -- Pragmatism and ethics -- Pragmatism and politics -- Pragmatism and environmental ethics.
Whatever specific beliefs pragmatists share concerning experience, knowledge, value, and meaning, they generally agree that a central part of the business of life is to make life better. James speaks of the ideal of meeting all needs, Royce of defeating evil, and Dewey of making experience richer and more secure. They are at one in thinking that human intelligence can make a vast difference to how well we live, and they extol the possibility of improving our circumstances. They tend to (...) be dissatisfied with the status quo and see indefinitely sustained amelioration as the solution to our problems. Stoics, in sharp contrast, are quick to call attention to the limits of our powers and recommend accepting them without complaint. They tend to think that only our beliefs and attitudes fall securely in our control. Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius agree that anything we would consider an improvement of the human condition is temporary and that, in any case, fulfilling our desires accomplishes little. The key to living well, they maintain, is control over self, not over circumstance, and they embrace inner calm in the face of whatever misfortune befalls us. Even such a brief characterization of these two great philosophical traditions makes it clear that pragmatic ambition and... (shrink)
This paper argues that it is possible to combine enactivism and ecological psychology in a single post-cognitivist research framework if we highlight the common pragmatist assumptions of both approaches. These pragmatist assumptions or starting points are shared by ecological psychology and the enactive approach independently of being historically related to pragmatism, and they are based on the idea of organic coordination, which states that the evolution and development of the cognitive abilities of an organism are explained by appealing to (...) the history of interactions of that organism with its environment. It is argued that the idea of behavioral or organic coordination within the enactive approach gives rise to the sensorimotor abilities of the organism, while the ecological approach emphasizes the coordination at a higher-level between organism and environment through the agent’s exploratory behavior for perceiving affordances. As such, these two different processes of organic coordination can be integrated in a post-cognitivist research framework, which will be based on two levels of analysis: the subpersonal one and the personal one. If this proposal is on the right track, this may be a promising first step for offering a systematized and consistent post-cognitivist approach to cognition that retain the full potential of both enactivism and ecological psychology. (shrink)
The most important distinctively American contribution to philosophy is the pragmatist tradition. In this short, lucid, and completely convincing exposition, Professor John P. Murphy begins by exploring the roots of this tradition as found in the work of Peirce, James, and Dewey, demonstrating its power and originality. Historians of philosophy will appreciate the insight Murphy brings to these figures, but the special value of this book lies in his discussion of how the pragmatist spirit has flowered in contemporary philosophy in (...) the work of Quine, Rorty, and Davidson.Throughout, Murphy emphasizes the logic and structure of the views held by these six philosophers and what it is they have in common that makes their work especially “pragmatist.” There is no better introduction to this historical tradition and perhaps no better way into the philosophies of the contemporaries whom Murphy discusses.Interest in pragmatist ideas is undergoing a revival at present, and this book shows us why. It will be of interest to both historians of philosophy and students of contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
Mark Johnston claims the pragmatist theory of truth is inconsistent with the way we actually employ and talk about that concept. He is, however, sympathetic enough to attempt to rescue its respectable core using ‘response-dependence’, a revisionary form of which he advocates as a method for clarifying various philosophically significant concepts. But Johnston has misrepresented pragmatism; it does not require rescuing, and as I show here, his ‘missing explanation argument’ against pragmatism therefore fails. What Johnston and other critics (...) including Putnam have overlooked is the distinctive nature of the pragmatist strategy, specifically, that it is non-reductive, a characteristic it shares with a more promising form of response-dependence; what Johnston calls ‘Descriptive Protagoreanism’ (DP). In this paper I offer a defence of pragmatism and show how it might be re-articulated as a form of DP. (shrink)
Pragmatism has enjoyed a considerable revival in the latter part of the twentieth century, but what precisely constitutes pragmatism remains a matter of dispute. In reconstructing the pragmatic tradition in political philosophy, Matthew Festenstein rejects the idea that it is a single, cohesive doctrine. His incisive analysis brings out the commonalities and shared concerns among contemporary pragmatists while making clear their differences in how they would resolve those concerns. His study begins with the work of John Dewey and (...) the moral and psychological conceptions that shaped his philosophy. Here Festenstein lays out the major philosophic issues with which first Dewey, and then his heirs, would grapple. The book's second part traces how Dewey's approach has been differently developed, especially in the work of three contemporary pragmatic thinkers: Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermas, and Hilary Putnam. This first full-length critical study of the relationship between the pragmatist tradition and political philosophy fills a significant gap in contemporary thought. (shrink)
Critics and defenders of William James both acknowledge serious tensions in his thought, tensions perhaps nowhere more vexing to readers than in regard to his claim about an individual’s intellectual right to their “faith ventures.” Focusing especially on “Pragmatism and Religion,” the final lecture in Pragmatism, this chapter will explore certain problems James’ pragmatic pluralism. Some of these problems are theoretical, but others concern the real-world upshot of adopting James permissive ethics of belief. Although Jamesian permissivism is qualified (...) in certain ways in this paper, I largely defend James in showing how permissivism has philosophical advantages over the non-permissivist position associated with evidentialism. These advantages include not having to treat disagreement as a sign of error or irrationality, and mutual support relations between permissivism and what John Rawls calls the "reasonable pluralism" at the heart of political liberalism. (shrink)
Pragmatism -- From The meaning of truth -- From Psychology, briefer course -- From The will to believe and other essays in popular philosophy -- From Talks to teachers on psychology, and to students on some of life's ideals -- Address at the centenary of Ralph Waldo Emerson -- A world of pure experience -- Is radical empiricism solipsistic?
“The most likely use for Haack’s volume will be in introductory pragmatism courses and it is eminently appropriate for this task. However, others who would wish to speak out about pragmatism authoritatively would do well to go through the book from cover to cover. Outside of philosophy, the volume provides an introduction to a vital aspect of what philosophy has to offer to other disciplines, psychology among them....it is hard to think what could have been done to improve (...) upon the collection.”. (shrink)
Gilbert and colleagues point out the discrepancy between the limited empirical data illustrating changes in personality following implantation of deep brain stimulating electrodes and the vast number of conceptual neuroethics papers implying that these changes are widespread, deleterious, and clinically significant. Their findings are reminiscent of C. P. Snow’s essay on the divide between the two cultures of the humanities and the sciences. This division in the literature raises significant ethical concerns surrounding unjustified fear of personality changes in the context (...) of DBS and negative perceptions of clinician-scientists engaged in DBS. These concerns have real world implications for funding future innovative, DBS trials aimed to reduce suffering as well as hampering true interdisciplinary scholarship. We argue that the philosophical tradition of pragmatism and the value it places on empirical inquiry, experiential knowledge, and inter-disciplinary scholarship – reflecting diverse ways of knowing – provides a framework to start to address the important questions Gilbert and colleagues raise. In particular, we highlight the importance of expert clinician knowledge in contributing to the neuroethical questions raised by Gilbert and colleagues. Finally, we provide illustrative examples of some of our interdisciplinary empirical research that demonstrate the iterative cycle of inquiry characteristic of pragmatism in which conceptual neuroethics questions have led to empirical studies whose results then raise additional conceptual questions that give rise to new empirical studies in a way that highlights the contributions of the humanities and the sciences. (shrink)
Pragmatism, the single originally American philosophical tradition, has in recent decades once again become widely discussed in many fields of philosophy, including metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, and moral philosophy. This study seeks to show, both historically and systematically, that the issue of -human nature, - the main problem of philosophical anthropology, is at the center of pragmatistic philosophizing. The author formulates a contemporary version of pragmatism largely based on William James's work, arguing that such (...) a neo-Jamesian framework also can meet postmodernistic and irrationalistic threats.". (shrink)
In this book Steven Levine explores the relation between objectivity and experience from a pragmatic point of view. Like many new pragmatists he aims to rehabilitate objectivity in the wake of Richard Rorty's rejection of the concept. But he challenges the idea, put forward by pragmatists like Robert Brandom, that objectivity is best rehabilitated in communicative-theoretic terms - namely, in terms that can be cashed out by capacities that agents gain through linguistic communication. Levine proposes instead that objectivity is best (...) understood in experiential-theoretic terms. He explains how, in order to meet the aims of the new pragmatists, we need to do more than see objectivity as a norm of rationality embedded in our social-linguistic practices; we also need to see it as emergent from our experiential interaction with the world. Innovative and carefully argued, this book redeems and re-actualizes for contemporary philosophy a key insight developed by the classical pragmatists. (shrink)
This volume puts leading pragmatists in the philosophy of language, including Robert Brandom, in contact with scholars concerned with what pragmatism has come to mean for the law. Each contribution uses the resources of pragmatism to tackle fundamental problems in the philosophy of language, the philosophy of law, and social and political philosophy. In many chapters, the version of pragmatism deployed proves a fruitful approach to its subject matter; in others, shortcomings of the specific brand of (...) class='Hi'>pragmatism are revealed. The result is a clearer understanding of what pragmatism has meant and can mean across these tightly related philosophical areas. The book, then, is itself pragmatism in action: it seeks to clarify its unifying concept by examining the practices that centrally involve it. (shrink)
Some Pragmatist Themes in Hegel’s Idealism:Negotiation and Administration in Hegel’sAccount of the Structure and Content ofConceptual NormsRobert B. BrandomThis paper could equally well have been titled ‘Some Idealist Themes in Hegel’sPragmatism’. Both idealism and pragmatism are capacious concepts, encompassingmany distinguishable theses. I will focus on one pragmatist thesis and one ideal-ist thesis (though we will come within sight of some others). The pragmatistthesis (what I will call ‘the semantic pragmatist thesis’) is that the use of conceptsdetermines their content, that (...) is, that concepts can have no content apart from thatconferred on them by their use. The idealist thesis is that the structure and unityof the concept is the same as the structure and unity of the self. The semantic prag-matist thesis is a commonplace of our Wittgensteinean philosophical world. Theidealist thesis is, to say the least, not. I don’t believe there is any serious contem-porary semantic thinker who is pursuing the thought that concepts might best beunderstood by modelling them on selves. Indeed, from the point of view ofcontemporary semantics it is hard to know even what one could mean by such athought: what relatively unproblematic features of selves are supposed to illumi-nate what relatively problematic features of concepts? Why should we think thatunderstanding something about, say, personal identity would help us under-stand issues concerning the identity and individuation of concepts? From acontemporary point of view, the idealist semantic thesis is bound to appearinitially as something between unpromising and crazy.My interpretive claim here will be that the idealist thesis is Hegel’s way of makingthe pragmatist thesis workable, in the context of several other commitments andinsights. My philosophical claim here will be that we actually have a lot to learn fromthis strategy about contemporary semantic issues that we by no means see our wayto the bottom of otherwise. In the space of this essay, I cannot properly justify thefirst claim textually, nor the second argumentatively. I will confine myself of neces-sity to sketching the outlines and motivations for the complex, sophisticated, andinteresting view on the topic I find Hegel putting forward. (shrink)