Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that began in the United
States around 1870. Its origins are often attributed to the
philosophers William James, John Dewey, and Charles Sanders Peirce.
Peirce later described it in his pragmatic maxim: "Consider the
practical effects of the objects of your conception. Then, your
conception of those effects is the whole of your conception of the
Pragmatism considers thought as an instrument or tool for prediction,
problem solving and action, and rejects the idea that the function of
thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality. Pragmatists
contend that most philosophical topics—such as the nature of
knowledge, language, concepts, meaning, belief, and science—are all
best viewed in terms of their practical uses and successes. The
philosophy of pragmatism "emphasizes the practical application of
ideas by acting on them to actually test them in human
Pragmatism focuses on a "changing universe rather
than an unchanging one as the Idealists, Realists and Thomists had
2 Core tenets
2.1 Anti-reification of concepts and theories
2.2 Naturalism and anti-Cartesianism
2.3 Reconciliation of anti-skepticism and fallibilism
2.4 Pragmatist theory of truth and epistemology
3 In other fields of philosophy
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of religion
4 Analytical, neoclassical, and neopragmatism
5 Legacy and contemporary relevance
5.1 Effects on social sciences
5.2 Effects on public administration
5.3 Effects on feminism
5.4 Effects on urbanism
7 List of pragmatists
7.1 Classical pragmatists (1850–1950)
7.2 Neoclassical pragmatists (1950–present)
7.3 Analytical, neo- and other pragmatists (1950–present)
7.3.1 Pragmatists in the extended sense
8 See also
11 Further reading
11.1 Additional bibliography
12 External links
Charles Peirce (/pɜːrs/ like "purse"): the American polymath who
first identified pragmatism
Pragmatism as a philosophical movement began in the
United States in
Charles Sanders Peirce
Charles Sanders Peirce (and his Pragmatic Maxim) is given
credit for its development, along with later twentieth century
William James and John Dewey. Its direction was
The Metaphysical Club members Charles Sanders Peirce,
William James, and Chauncey Wright, as well as
John Dewey and George
The first use in print of the name pragmatism was in 1898 by James,
who credited Peirce with coining the term during the early 1870s.
James regarded Peirce's "Illustrations of the
Logic of Science" series
(including "The Fixation of Belief" (1877), and especially "How to
Make Our Ideas Clear" (1878)) as the foundation of pragmatism.
Peirce in turn wrote in 1906 that
Nicholas St. John Green had been
instrumental by emphasizing the importance of applying Alexander
Bain's definition of belief, which was "that upon which a man is
prepared to act". Peirce wrote that "from this definition, pragmatism
is scarce more than a corollary; so that I am disposed to think of him
as the grandfather of pragmatism". John Shook has said, "Chauncey
Wright also deserves considerable credit, for as both Peirce and James
recall, it was Wright who demanded a phenomenalist and fallibilist
empiricism as an alternative to rationalistic speculation."
Peirce developed the idea that inquiry depends on real doubt, not mere
verbal or hyperbolic doubt, and said, in order to understand a
conception in a fruitful way, "Consider the practical effects of the
objects of your conception. Then, your conception of those effects is
the whole of your conception of the object", which he later called
the pragmatic maxim. It equates any conception of an object to the
general extent of the conceivable implications for informed practice
of that object's effects. This is the heart of his pragmatism as a
method of experimentational mental reflection arriving at conceptions
in terms of conceivable confirmatory and disconfirmatory
circumstances—a method hospitable to the generation of explanatory
hypotheses, and conducive to the employment and improvement of
verification. Typical of Peirce is his concern with inference to
explanatory hypotheses as outside the usual foundational alternative
between deductivist rationalism and inductivist empiricism, although
he was a mathematical logician and a founder of statistics.
Peirce lectured and further wrote on pragmatism to make clear his own
interpretation. While framing a conception's meaning in terms of
conceivable tests, Peirce emphasized that, since a conception is
general, its meaning, its intellectual purport, equates to its
acceptance's implications for general practice, rather than to any
definite set of real effects (or test results); a conception's
clarified meaning points toward its conceivable verifications, but the
outcomes are not meanings, but individual upshots. Peirce in 1905
coined the new name pragmaticism "for the precise purpose of
expressing the original definition", saying that "all went
happily" with James's and Schiller's variant uses of the old name
"pragmatism" and that he nonetheless coined the new name because of
the old name's growing use in "literary journals, where it gets
abused". Yet in a 1906 manuscript he cited as causes his differences
with James and Schiller. and, in a 1908 publication, his
differences with James as well as literary author Giovanni Papini.
Peirce in any case regarded his views that truth is immutable and
infinity is real, as being opposed by the other pragmatists, but he
remained allied with them on other issues.
Pragmatism enjoyed renewed attention after
Willard Van Orman Quine
Willard Van Orman Quine and
Wilfrid Sellars used a revised pragmatism to criticize logical
positivism in the 1960s. Inspired by the work of Quine and Sellars, a
brand of pragmatism known sometimes as neopragmatism gained influence
through Richard Rorty, the most influential of the late twentieth
century pragmatists along with
Hilary Putnam and Robert Brandom.
Contemporary pragmatism may be broadly divided into a strict analytic
tradition and a "neo-classical" pragmatism (such as Susan Haack) that
adheres to the work of Peirce, James, and Dewey.
Inspiration for various pragmatists included:
Francis Bacon who coined the saying ipsa scientia potestas est
("knowledge itself is power")
David Hume for his naturalistic account of knowledge and action
Thomas Reid, for his direct realism
Immanuel Kant, for his idealism and from whom Peirce derives the name
G. W. F. Hegel
G. W. F. Hegel who introduced temporality into philosophy (Pinkard in
J. S. Mill
J. S. Mill for his nominalism and empiricism
George Berkeley for his project to eliminate all unclear concepts from
philosophy (Peirce 8:33)
Henri Bergson who influenced
William James to renounce intellectualism
and logical methods
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A few of the various but interrelated positions often characteristic
of philosophers working from a pragmatist approach include:
Epistemology (justification): a coherentist theory of justification
that rejects the claim that all knowledge and justified belief rest
ultimately on a foundation of noninferential knowledge or justified
belief. Coherentists hold that justification is solely a function of
some relationship between beliefs, none of which are privileged
beliefs in the way maintained by foundationalist theories of
Epistemology (truth): a deflationary or pragmatist theory of truth;
the former is the epistemological claim that assertions that predicate
truth of a statement do not attribute a property called truth to such
a statement while the latter is the epistemological claim that
assertions that predicate truth of a statement attribute the property
of useful-to-believe to such a statement.
Metaphysics: a pluralist view that there is more than one sound way to
conceptualize the world and its content.
Philosophy of science: an instrumentalist and scientific anti-realist
view that a scientific concept or theory should be evaluated by how
effectively it explains and predicts phenomena, as opposed to how
accurately it describes objective reality.
Philosophy of language: an anti-representationalist view that rejects
analyzing the semantic meaning of propositions, mental states, and
statements in terms of a correspondence or representational
relationship and instead analyzes semantic meaning in terms of notions
like dispositions to action, inferential relationships, and/or
functional roles (e.g. behaviorism and inferentialism). Not to be
confused with pragmatics, a sub-field of linguistics with no relation
to philosophical pragmatism.
Additionally, forms of empiricism, fallibilism, verificationism, and a
Quinean naturalist metaphilosophy are all commonly elements of
pragmatist philosophies. Many pragmatists are epistemological
relativists and see this to be an important facet of their pragmatism,
but this is controversial and other pragmatists argue such relativism
to be seriously misguided (e.g. Hilary Putnam, Susan Haack).
Anti-reification of concepts and theories
Dewey, in The Quest For Certainty, criticized what he called "the
philosophical fallacy":- philosophers often take categories (such as
the mental and the physical) for granted because they don't realize
that these are merely nominal concepts that were invented to help
solve specific problems. This causes metaphysical and conceptual
confusion. Various examples are the "ultimate Being" of Hegelian
philosophers, the belief in a "realm of value", the idea that logic,
because it is an abstraction from concrete thought, has nothing to do
with the act of concrete thinking, and so on.[weasel words][not
specific enough to verify] David L. Hildebrand sums up the problem:
"Perceptual inattention to the specific functions comprising inquiry
led realists and idealists alike to formulate accounts of knowledge
that project the products of extensive abstraction back onto
experience." (Hildebrand 2003)[not specific enough to verify]
Naturalism and anti-Cartesianism
From the outset, pragmatists wanted to reform philosophy and bring it
more in line with the scientific method as they understood it. They
argued that idealist and realist philosophy had a tendency to present
human knowledge as something beyond what science could grasp. They
held that these philosophies then resorted either to a phenomenology
inspired by Kant or to correspondence theories of knowledge and
truth. Pragmatists criticized the former for its a
priorism, and the latter because it takes correspondence as an
Pragmatism instead tries to explain the relation
between knower and known.
In 1868, C.S. Peirce argued that there is no power of intuition in
the sense of a cognition unconditioned by inference, and no power of
introspection, intuitive or otherwise, and that awareness of an
internal world is by hypothetical inference from external facts.
Introspection and intuition were staple philosophical tools at least
since Descartes. He argued that there is no absolutely first cognition
in a cognitive process; such a process has its beginning but can
always be analyzed into finer cognitive stages. That which we call
introspection does not give privileged access to knowledge about the
mind—the self is a concept that is derived from our interaction with
the external world and not the other way around (De Waal 2005,
pp. 7–10). At the same time he held persistently that
pragmatism and epistemology in general could not be derived from
principles of psychology understood as a special science: what we
do think is too different from what we should think; in his
"Illustrations of the
Logic of Science" series, Peirce formulated both
pragmatism and principles of statistics as aspects of scientific
method in general. This is an important point of disagreement with
most other pragmatists, who advocate a more thorough naturalism and
Richard Rorty expanded on these and other arguments in
the Mirror of Nature in which he criticized attempts by many
philosophers of science to carve out a space for epistemology that is
entirely unrelated to—and sometimes thought of as superior to—the
empirical sciences. W.V. Quine, instrumental in bringing naturalized
epistemology back into favor with his essay
(Quine 1969), also criticized "traditional" epistemology and its
"Cartesian dream" of absolute certainty. The dream, he argued, was
impossible in practice as well as misguided in theory, because it
separates epistemology from scientific inquiry.
Hilary Putnam asserts that the combination of antiskepticism and
fallibilism is a central feature of pragmatism.
Reconciliation of anti-skepticism and fallibilism
Hilary Putnam has suggested that the reconciliation of anti-skepticism
and fallibilism is the central goal of American pragmatism.[citation
needed] Although all human knowledge is partial, with no ability to
take a "God's-eye-view," this does not necessitate a globalized
skeptical attitude, a radical philosophical skepticism (as
distinguished from that which is called scientific skepticism). Peirce
insisted that (1) in reasoning, there is the presupposition, and at
least the hope, that truth and the real are discoverable and would
be discovered, sooner or later but still inevitably, by investigation
taken far enough, and (2) contrary to Descartes' famous and
influential methodology in the Meditations on First Philosophy, doubt
cannot be feigned or created by verbal fiat to motivate fruitful
inquiry, and much less can philosophy begin in universal doubt.
Doubt, like belief, requires justification. Genuine doubt irritates
and inhibits, in the sense that belief is that upon which one is
prepared to act. It arises from confrontation with some specific
recalcitrant matter of fact (which Dewey called a "situation"), which
unsettles our belief in some specific proposition.
Inquiry is then the
rationally self-controlled process of attempting to return to a
settled state of belief about the matter. Note that anti-skepticism is
a reaction to modern academic skepticism in the wake of Descartes. The
pragmatist insistence that all knowledge is tentative is quite
congenial to the older skeptical tradition.
Pragmatist theory of truth and epistemology
Main article: Pragmatic theory of truth
Pragmatism was not the first to apply evolution to theories of
Schopenhauer advocated a biological idealism as what's
useful to an organism to believe might differ wildly from what is
true. Here knowledge and action are portrayed as two separate spheres
with an absolute or transcendental truth above and beyond any sort of
inquiry organisms used to cope with life.
Pragmatism challenges this
idealism by providing an "ecological" account of knowledge: inquiry is
how organisms can get a grip on their environment. Real and true are
functional labels in inquiry and cannot be understood outside of this
context. It is not realist in a traditionally robust sense of realism
Hilary Putnam would later call metaphysical realism), but it is
realist in how it acknowledges an external world which must be dealt
Many of James' best-turned phrases—truth's cash value (James 1907,
p. 200) and the true is only the expedient in our way of thinking
(James 1907, p. 222)—were taken out of context and caricatured
in contemporary literature as representing the view where any idea
with practical utility is true.
William James wrote:
It is high time to urge the use of a little imagination in philosophy.
The unwillingness of some of our critics to read any but the silliest
of possible meanings into our statements is as discreditable to their
imaginations as anything I know in recent philosophic history.
Schiller says the truth is that which "works." Thereupon he is treated
as one who limits verification to the lowest material utilities. Dewey
says truth is what gives "satisfaction"! He is treated as one who
believes in calling everything true which, if it were true, would be
pleasant. (James 1907, p. 90)
In reality, James asserts, the theory is a great deal more subtle.
(See Dewey 1910 for a "FAQ.")
The role of belief in representing reality is widely debated in
pragmatism. Is a belief valid when it represents reality? Copying is
one (and only one) genuine mode of knowing, (James 1907, p. 91).
Are beliefs dispositions which qualify as true or false depending on
how helpful they prove in inquiry and in action? Is it only in the
struggle of intelligent organisms with the surrounding environment
that beliefs acquire meaning? Does a belief only become true when it
succeeds in this struggle? In
Pragmatism nothing practical or useful
is held to be necessarily true, nor is anything which helps to survive
merely in the short term. For example, to believe my cheating spouse
is faithful may help me feel better now, but it is certainly not
useful from a more long-term perspective because it doesn't accord
with the facts (and is therefore not true).
In other fields of philosophy
While pragmatism started out simply as a criterion of meaning, it
quickly expanded to become a full-fledged epistemology with
wide-ranging implications for the entire philosophical field.
Pragmatists who work in these fields share a common inspiration, but
their work is diverse and there are no received views.
Philosophy of science
In the philosophy of science, instrumentalism is the view that
concepts and theories are merely useful instruments and progress in
science cannot be couched in terms of concepts and theories somehow
mirroring reality. Instrumentalist philosophers often define
scientific progress as nothing more than an improvement in explaining
and predicting phenomena.
Instrumentalism does not state that truth
doesn't matter, but rather provides a specific answer to the question
of what truth and falsity mean and how they function in science.
One of C.I. Lewis' main arguments in
Mind and the World Order: Outline
of a Theory of Knowledge was that science does not merely provide a
copy of reality but must work with conceptual systems and that those
are chosen for pragmatic reasons, that is, because they aid inquiry.
Lewis' own development of multiple modal logics is a case in point.
Lewis is sometimes called a "conceptual pragmatist" because of this.
Another development is the cooperation of logical positivism and
pragmatism in the works of
Charles W. Morris and Rudolf Carnap. The
influence of pragmatism on these writers is mostly limited to the
incorporation of the pragmatic maxim into their epistemology.
Pragmatists with a broader conception of the movement don't often
refer to them.
W. V. Quine's paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", published 1951, is one
of the most celebrated papers of twentieth-century philosophy in the
analytic tradition. The paper is an attack on two central tenets of
the logical positivists' philosophy. One is the distinction between
analytic statements (tautologies and contradictions) whose truth (or
falsehood) is a function of the meanings of the words in the statement
('all bachelors are unmarried'), and synthetic statements, whose truth
(or falsehood) is a function of (contingent) states of affairs. The
other is reductionism, the theory that each meaningful statement gets
its meaning from some logical construction of terms which refers
exclusively to immediate experience. Quine's argument brings to mind
Peirce's insistence that axioms aren't a priori truths but synthetic
Later in his life Schiller became famous for his attacks on logic in
his textbook, Formal Logic. By then, Schiller's pragmatism had become
the nearest of any of the classical pragmatists to an ordinary
language philosophy. Schiller sought to undermine the very possibility
of formal logic, by showing that words only had meaning when used in
context. The least famous of Schiller's main works was the
constructive sequel to his destructive book Formal Logic. In this
Logic for Use, Schiller attempted to construct a new logic to
replace the formal logic that he had criticized in Formal Logic. What
he offers is something philosophers would recognize today as a logic
covering the context of discovery and the hypothetico-deductive
F.C.S. Schiller dismissed the possibility of formal logic,
most pragmatists are critical rather of its pretension to ultimate
validity and see logic as one logical tool among others—or perhaps,
considering the multitude of formal logics, one set of tools among
others. This is the view of C.I. Lewis. C.S. Peirce developed multiple
methods for doing formal logic.
Stephen Toulmin's The Uses of
Argument inspired scholars in informal
logic and rhetoric studies (although it is an epistemological work).
James and Dewey were empirical thinkers in the most straightforward
fashion: experience is the ultimate test and experience is what needs
to be explained. They were dissatisfied with ordinary empiricism
because in the tradition dating from Hume, empiricists had a tendency
to think of experience as nothing more than individual sensations. To
the pragmatists, this went against the spirit of empiricism: we should
try to explain all that is given in experience including connections
and meaning, instead of explaining them away and positing sense data
as the ultimate reality. Radical empiricism, or Immediate Empiricism
in Dewey's words, wants to give a place to meaning and value instead
of explaining them away as subjective additions to a world of whizzing
The "Chicago Club" including Mead, Dewey, Angell, and Moore.
Pragmatism is sometimes called American
Pragmatism because so many of
its proponents were and are Americans.
William James gives an interesting example of this philosophical
[A young graduate] began by saying that he had always taken for
granted that when you entered a philosophic classroom you had to open
relations with a universe entirely distinct from the one you left
behind you in the street. The two were supposed, he said, to have so
little to do with each other, that you could not possibly occupy your
mind with them at the same time. The world of concrete personal
experiences to which the street belongs is multitudinous beyond
imagination, tangled, muddy, painful and perplexed. The world to which
your philosophy-professor introduces you is simple, clean and noble.
The contradictions of real life are absent from it. [...] In point of
fact it is far less an account of this actual world than a clear
addition built upon it [...] It is no explanation of our concrete
universe (James 1907, pp. 8–9)
F. C. S. Schiller's first book, Riddles of the Sphinx, was published
before he became aware of the growing pragmatist movement taking place
in America. In it, Schiller argues for a middle ground between
materialism and absolute metaphysics. These opposites are comparable
William James called tough-minded empiricism and tender-minded
rationalism. Schiller contends on the one hand that mechanistic
naturalism cannot make sense of the "higher" aspects of our world.
These include freewill, consciousness, purpose, universals and some
would add God. On the other hand, abstract metaphysics cannot make
sense of the "lower" aspects of our world (e.g. the imperfect, change,
physicality). While Schiller is vague about the exact sort of middle
ground he is trying to establish, he suggests that metaphysics is a
tool that can aid inquiry, but that it is valuable only insofar as it
does help in explanation.
In the second half of the twentieth century,
Stephen Toulmin argued
that the need to distinguish between reality and appearance only
arises within an explanatory scheme and therefore that there is no
point in asking what "ultimate reality" consists of. More recently, a
similar idea has been suggested by the postanalytical philosopher
Daniel Dennett, who argues that anyone who wants to understand the
world has to acknowledge both the "syntactical" aspects of reality
(i.e., whizzing atoms) and its emergent or "semantic" properties
(i.e., meaning and value).
Empiricism gives interesting answers to questions about the
limits of science if there are any, the nature of meaning and value
and the workability of reductionism. These questions feature
prominently in current debates about the relationship between religion
and science, where it is often assumed—most pragmatists would
disagree—that science degrades everything that is meaningful into
"merely" physical phenomena.
Philosophy of mind
John Dewey in Experience and Nature (1929) and half a century
Richard Rorty in his
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979)
argued that much of the debate about the relation of the mind to the
body results from conceptual confusions. They argue instead that there
is no need to posit the mind or mindstuff as an ontological category.
Pragmatists disagree over whether philosophers ought to adopt a
quietist or a naturalist stance toward the mind-body problem. The
former (Rorty among them) want to do away with the problem because
they believe it's a pseudo-problem, whereas the latter believe that it
is a meaningful empirical question.
Main article: Pragmatic ethics
Pragmatism sees no fundamental difference between practical and
theoretical reason, nor any ontological difference between facts and
values. Both facts and values have cognitive content: knowledge is
what we should believe; values are hypotheses about what is good in
action. Pragmatist ethics is broadly humanist because it sees no
ultimate test of morality beyond what matters for us as humans. Good
values are those for which we have good reasons, viz. the Good Reasons
approach. The pragmatist formulation pre-dates those of other
philosophers who have stressed important similarities between values
and facts such as
Jerome Schneewind and John Searle.
William James tried to show the meaningfulness of (some kinds of)
spirituality but, like other pragmatists, did not see religion as the
basis of meaning or morality.
William James' contribution to ethics, as laid out in his essay The
Will to Believe has often been misunderstood as a plea for relativism
or irrationality. On its own terms it argues that ethics always
involves a certain degree of trust or faith and that we cannot always
wait for adequate proof when making moral decisions.
Moral questions immediately present themselves as questions whose
solution cannot wait for sensible proof. A moral question is a
question not of what sensibly exists, but of what is good, or would be
good if it did exist. [...] A social organism of any sort whatever,
large or small, is what it is because each member proceeds to his own
duty with a trust that the other members will simultaneously do
theirs. Wherever a desired result is achieved by the co-operation of
many independent persons, its existence as a fact is a pure
consequence of the precursive faith in one another of those
immediately concerned. A government, an army, a commercial system, a
ship, a college, an athletic team, all exist on this condition,
without which not only is nothing achieved, but nothing is even
attempted. (The Will to Believe James 1896)
Of the classical pragmatists,
John Dewey wrote most extensively about
morality and democracy. (Edel 1993) In his classic article Three
Independent Factors in Morals (Dewey 1930), he tried to integrate
three basic philosophical perspectives on morality: the right, the
virtuous and the good. He held that while all three provide meaningful
ways to think about moral questions, the possibility of conflict among
the three elements cannot always be easily solved. (Anderson, SEP)
Dewey also criticized the dichotomy between means and ends which he
saw as responsible for the degradation of our everyday working lives
and education, both conceived as merely a means to an end. He stressed
the need for meaningful labor and a conception of education that
viewed it not as a preparation for life but as life itself. (Dewey
2004  ch. 7; Dewey 1997 , p. 47)
Dewey was opposed to other ethical philosophies of his time, notably
the emotivism of Alfred Ayer. Dewey envisioned the possibility of
ethics as an experimental discipline, and thought values could best be
characterized not as feelings or imperatives, but as hypotheses about
what actions will lead to satisfactory results or what he termed
consummatory experience. A further implication of this view is that
ethics is a fallible undertaking, since human beings are frequently
unable to know what would satisfy them.
During the late 1900s and first decade of 2000, pragmatism was
embraced by many in the field of bioethics led by the philosophers
John Lachs and his student Glenn McGee, whose 1997 book "'The Perfect
Baby: A Pragmatic Approach to Genetic Engineering'" (see designer
baby) garnered praise from within classical
American philosophy and
criticism from bioethics for its development of a theory of pragmatic
bioethics and its rejection of the principalism theory then in vogue
in medical ethics. An anthology published by The MIT Press,
"'Pragmatic Bioethics'" included the responses of philosophers to that
debate, including Micah Hester, Griffin Trotter and others many of
whom developed their own theories based on the work of Dewey, Peirce,
Royce and others. Lachs himself developed several applications of
pragmatism to bioethics independent of but extending from the work of
Dewey and James.
A recent pragmatist contribution to meta-ethics is Todd Lekan's
"Making Morality" (Lekan 2003). Lekan argues that morality is a
fallible but rational practice and that it has traditionally been
misconceived as based on theory or principles. Instead, he argues,
theory and rules arise as tools to make practice more intelligent.
John Dewey's Art as Experience, based on the
William James lectures he
delivered at Harvard, was an attempt to show the integrity of art,
culture and everyday experience. (Field, IEP) Art, for Dewey, is or
should be a part of everyone's creative lives and not just the
privilege of a select group of artists. He also emphasizes that the
audience is more than a passive recipient. Dewey's treatment of art
was a move away from the transcendental approach to aesthetics in the
Immanuel Kant who emphasized the unique character of art and
the disinterested nature of aesthetic appreciation. A notable
contemporary pragmatist aesthetician is Joseph Margolis. He defines a
work of art as "a physically embodied, culturally emergent entity", a
human "utterance" that isn't an ontological quirk but in line with
other human activity and culture in general. He emphasizes that works
of art are complex and difficult to fathom, and that no determinate
interpretation can be given.
Philosophy of religion
Both Dewey and James investigated the role that religion can still
play in contemporary society, the former in A Common Faith and the
latter in The Varieties of Religious Experience.
From a general point of view, for William James, something is true
only insofar as it works. Thus, the statement, for example, that
prayer is heard may work on a psychological level but (a) may not help
to bring about the things you pray for (b) may be better explained by
referring to its soothing effect than by claiming prayers are heard.
As such, pragmatism is not antithetical to religion but it is not an
apologetic for faith either. James' metaphysical position however,
leaves open the possibility that the ontological claims of religions
may be true. As he observed in the end of the Varieties, his position
does not amount to a denial of the existence of transcendent
realities. Quite the contrary, he argued for the legitimate epistemic
right to believe in such realities, since such beliefs do make a
difference in an individual's life and refer to claims that cannot be
verified or falsified either on intellectual or common sensorial
Joseph Margolis, in Historied Thought, Constructed World (California,
1995), makes a distinction between "existence" and "reality". He
suggests using the term "exists" only for those things which
adequately exhibit Peirce's Secondness: things which offer brute
physical resistance to our movements. In this way, such things which
affect us, like numbers, may be said to be "real", although they do
not "exist". Margolis suggests that God, in such a linguistic usage,
might very well be "real", causing believers to act in such and such a
way, but might not "exist".
Analytical, neoclassical, and neopragmatism
Neopragmatism is a broad contemporary category used for various
thinkers that incorporate important insights of, and yet significantly
diverge from, the classical pragmatists. This divergence may occur
either in their philosophical methodology (many of them are loyal to
the analytic tradition) or in conceptual formation (
C.I. Lewis was
very critical of Dewey;
Richard Rorty dislikes Peirce). Important
analytical neopragmatists include the aforementioned Lewis, W. V. O.
Quine, Donald Davidson, Hilary Putnam, and the early Richard Rorty.
Brazilian social thinker
Roberto Unger advocates for a "radical
pragmatism", one that "de-naturalizes" society and culture, and thus
insists that we can "transform the character of our relation to social
and cultural worlds we inhabit rather than just to change, little by
little, the content of the arrangements and beliefs that comprise
them". Stanley Fish, the later Rorty and
Jürgen Habermas are
closer to continental thought.
Neoclassical pragmatism denotes those thinkers who consider themselves
inheritors of the project of the classical pragmatists. Sidney Hook
Susan Haack (known for the theory of foundherentism) are
well-known examples. Many pragmatist ideas (especially those of
Peirce) find a natural expression in the decision-theoretic
reconstruction of epistemology pursued in the work of Isaac Levi.
Nicholas Rescher advocates his version of "methodical pragmatism"
based on construing pragmatic efficacy not as a replacement for truths
but as a means to its evidentiation.
Not all pragmatists are easily characterized. It is probable,
considering the advent of postanalytic philosophy and the
diversification of Anglo-American philosophy, that more philosophers
will be influenced by pragmatist thought without necessarily publicly
committing themselves to that philosophical school. Daniel Dennett, a
student of Quine's, falls into this category, as does Stephen Toulmin,
who arrived at his philosophical position via Wittgenstein, whom he
calls "a pragmatist of a sophisticated kind" (foreword for Dewey 1929
in the 1988 edition, p. xiii). Another example is Mark Johnson whose
embodied philosophy (Lakoff and Johnson 1999) shares its psychologism,
direct realism and anti-cartesianism with pragmatism. Conceptual
pragmatism is a theory of knowledge originating with the work of the
philosopher and logician Clarence Irving Lewis. The epistemology of
conceptual pragmatism was first formulated in the 1929 book
the World Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge.
'French Pragmatism' is attended with theorists such as Bruno Latour,
Michel Crozier, Luc Boltanski, and Laurent Thévenot. It is often seen
as opposed to structural problems connected to the French Critical
Theory of Pierre Bourdieu.
Legacy and contemporary relevance
In the twentieth century, the movements of logical positivism and
ordinary language philosophy have similarities with pragmatism. Like
pragmatism, logical positivism provides a verification criterion of
meaning that is supposed to rid us of nonsense metaphysics, however,
logical positivism doesn't stress action as pragmatism does. The
pragmatists rarely used their maxim of meaning to rule out all
metaphysics as nonsense. Usually, pragmatism was put forth to correct
metaphysical doctrines or to construct empirically verifiable ones
rather than to provide a wholesale rejection.
Ordinary language philosophy
Ordinary language philosophy is closer to pragmatism than other
philosophy of language because of its nominalist character and because
it takes the broader functioning of language in an environment as its
focus instead of investigating abstract relations between language and
Pragmatism has ties to process philosophy. Much of their work
developed in dialogue with process philosophers such as Henri Bergson
and Alfred North Whitehead, who aren't usually considered pragmatists
because they differ so much on other points. (Douglas Browning et al.
1998; Rescher, SEP)
Behaviorism and functionalism in psychology and sociology also have
ties to pragmatism, which is not surprising considering that James and
Dewey were both scholars of psychology and that Mead became a
Utilitarianism has some significant parallels to
Pragmatism and John
Stuart Mill espoused similar values.
Pragmatism emphasizes the connection between thought and action.
Applied fields like public administration, political science,
leadership studies, international relations, conflict
resolution, and research methodology have incorporated the
tenets of pragmatism in their field. Often this connection is made
using Dewey and Addams's expansive notion of democracy.
Effects on social sciences
Symbolic interactionism, a major perspective within sociological
social psychology, was derived from pragmatism in the early twentieth
century, especially the work of
George Herbert Mead and Charles
Cooley, as well as that of Peirce and William James.
Increasing attention is being given to pragmatist epistemology in
other branches of the social sciences, which have struggled with
divisive debates over the status of social scientific
Enthusiasts suggest that pragmatism offers an approach which is both
pluralist and practical.
Effects on public administration
The classical pragmatism of John Dewey, William James, and Charles
Sanders Peirce has influenced research in the field of Public
Administration. Scholars claim classical pragmatism had a profound
influence on the origin of the field of public administration.
At the most basic level, public administrators are responsible for
making programs "work" in a pluralistic, problems-oriented
environment. Public administrators are also responsible for the
day-to-day work with citizens. Dewey's participatory democracy can be
applied in this environment. Dewey and James' notion of theory as a
tool, helps administrators craft theories to resolve policy and
administrative problems. Further, the birth of American public
administration coincides closely with the period of greatest influence
of the classical pragmatists.
Which pragmatism (classical pragmatism or neo-pragmatism) makes the
most sense in public administration has been the source of debate. The
debate began when
Patricia M. Shields
Patricia M. Shields introduced Dewey's notion of the
Community of Inquiry. Hugh Miller objected to one element of the
community of inquiry (problematic situation, scientific attitude,
participatory democracy) – Scientific attitude. A debate that
included responses from a practitioner, an economist, a
planner, other public administration scholars, and noted
philosophers followed. Miller and Shields also
In addition, applied scholarship of public administration that
assesses charter schools, contracting out or outsourcing,
financial management, performance measurement, urban quality
of life initiatives, and urban planning in part draws on the
ideas of classical pragmatism in the development of the conceptual
framework and focus of analysis.
The health sector's administrators' use of pragmatism has been
criticized as incomplete in its pragmatism, however, according to
the classical pragmatists, knowledge is always shaped by human
interests. The administrator's focus on "outcomes" simply advances
their own interest, and this focus on outcomes often undermines their
citizen's interests, which often are more concerned with process. On
the other hand, David Brendel argues that pragmatism's ability to
bridge dualisms, focus on practical problems, include multiple
perspectives, incorporate participation from interested parties
(patient, family, health team), and provisional nature makes it well
suited to address problems in this area.
Effects on feminism
Since the mid 1990s, feminist philosophers have re-discovered
classical pragmatism as a source of feminist theories. Works by
Seigfried, Duran, Keith, and Whipps explore the
historic and philosophic links between feminism and pragmatism. The
connection between pragmatism and feminism took so long to be
rediscovered because pragmatism itself was eclipsed by logical
positivism during the middle decades of the twentieth century. As a
result, it was lost from femininist discourse. The very features of
pragmatism that led to its decline are the characteristics that
feminists now consider its greatest strength. These are "persistent
and early criticisms of positivist interpretations of scientific
methodology; disclosure of value dimension of factual claims"; viewing
aesthetics as informing everyday experience; subordinating logical
analysis to political, cultural, and social issues; linking the
dominant discourses with domination; "realigning theory with praxis;
and resisting the turn to epistemology and instead emphasizing
concrete experience". These feminist philosophers point to Jane
Addams as a founder of classical pragmatism. In addition, the ideas of
Dewey, Mead, and James are consistent with many feminist tenets. Jane
Addams, John Dewey, and
George Herbert Mead developed their
philosophies as all three became friends, influenced each other, and
were engaged in the Hull-House experience and women’s rights causes.
Effects on urbanism
Pragmatism values and evaluates the effects of a design on urban
transformation, and the effects of a concept or design alters the
overall understanding of the concept.
Richard Rorty mentions that
"a sea change" is occurring in recent philosophical thought – "a
change so profound that we may not recognize that it is occurring".
While the world that the movement is rooted in has had many changes,
as a frame to perceive the world, pragmatism also has experienced
different levels of modifications. Those changes are very relevant to
the development of cities and basic themes, such as
anti-foundationalism, fallibilism, community as inquirers, questioning
the sharp distinction between theory and practice, pluralism, and
democracy, of pragmatism may be applied to the urbanism even more
Vincent di Norcia argues that a pragmatic approach is suitable
regarding social issues because it requires a conduct that resolves
problems as it continuously assesses the practical effects of a
project. This secures the interest for the stakeholders and Norcia
stresses the importance of social and cognitive pluralism. Social
pluralism means that we should recognize all stake holder's interest
that are affected by a certain decision, without putting weight on
elite political or economic group's interests. As a complement Norcia
also stresses cognitive pluralism, which indicates that one should
include all kinds of knowledge that are relevant to a problem.
In the 1908 essay "The Thirteen Pragmatisms", Arthur Oncken Lovejoy
argues that there's significant ambiguity in the notion of the effects
of the truth of a proposition and those of belief in a proposition in
order to highlight that many pragmatists had failed to recognize that
distinction. He identified thirteen different philosophical
positions that were each labeled pragmatism.
Neopragmatism as represented by
Richard Rorty has been criticized as
relativistic both by neoclassical pragmatists such as Susan Haack
(Haack 1997) and by many analytic philosophers (Dennett 1998). Rorty's
early analytical work, however, differs notably from his later work
which some, including Rorty, consider to be closer to literary
criticism than to philosophy, and which, attracts the brunt of
criticism from his detractors.
see: Criticism texts, Further reading.
List of pragmatists
Classical pragmatists (1850–1950)
Peirce, Charles SandersCharles Sanders Peirce
was the founder of American pragmatism (later called by Peirce
pragmaticism). He wrote on a wide range of topics, from mathematical
logic and semiotics to psychology.
James, WilliamWilliam James
influential psychologist and theorist of religion, as well as
philosopher. First to be widely associated with the term "pragmatism"
due to Peirce's lifelong unpopularity.
Dewey, JohnJohn Dewey
prominent philosopher of education, referred to his brand of
pragmatism as instrumentalism.
Schiller, F.C.S.F.C.S. Schiller
one of the most important pragmatists of his time, Schiller is largely
Important protopragmatists or related thinkers
Mead, George HerbertGeorge Herbert Mead
philosopher and sociological social psychologist.
Emerson, Ralph WaldoRalph Waldo Emerson
the American protopragmatist, Transcendentalist, and noted
Royce, JosiahJosiah Royce
colleague of James at Harvard who employed pragmatism in an idealist
metaphysical framework, he was particularly interested in the
philosophy of religion and community; his work is often associated
Santayana, GeorgeGeorge Santayana
although he eschewed the label "pragmatism" and called it a "heresy",
several critics argue that he applied pragmatist methodologies to
naturalism, especially in his early masterwork, The Life of Reason.
Du Bois, W. E. B.W. E. B. Du Bois
student of James at Harvard who applied pragmatist principles to his
sociological work, especially in
The Philadelphia Negro
The Philadelphia Negro and Atlanta
Papini, GiovanniGiovanni Papini
Italian essayist, mostly known because James occasionally mentioned
Vailati, GiovanniGiovanni Vailati
Italian analytic and pragmatist philosopher.
Shih, HuHu Shih
Chinese intellectual and reformer, student and translator of Dewey's
and advocate of pragmatism in China.
Niebuhr, ReinholdReinhold Niebuhr
Philosopher and Theologian, inserted
Pragmatism into his
theory of Christian Realism.
Neoclassical pragmatists (1950–present)
Neoclassical pragmatists stay closer to the project of the classical
pragmatists than neopragmatists do.
Hook, SidneySidney Hook
a prominent New York intellectual and philosopher, a student of Dewey
Levi, IsaacIsaac Levi
seeks to apply pragmatist thinking in a decision-theoretic
Haack, SusanSusan Haack
teaches at the University of Miami, sometimes called the intellectual
granddaughter of C.S. Peirce, known chiefly for foundherentism.
Rescher, NicholasNicholas Rescher
advocates a methodological pragmatism that sees functional efficacy as
Analytical, neo- and other pragmatists (1950–present)
(Often labelled neopragmatism as well.)
Bernstein, Richard J.Richard J. Bernstein
Author of Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics,
and Praxis, The New Constellation: The Ethical-Political Horizons of
Modernity/Postmodernity, The Pragmatic Turn
Breyer, StephenStephen Breyer
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice.
Burke, F. ThomasF. Thomas Burke
Author of What
Pragmatism Was (2013), Dewey's New
Logic (1994). His
work interprets contemporary philosophy of mind, philosophy of
language, and philosophical logic through the lens of classical
Fine, ArthurArthur Fine
Philosopher of Science who proposed the Natural
to the debate of scientific realism.
Fish, StanleyStanley Fish
Literary and Legal Studies pragmatist. Criticizes Rorty's and Posner's
legal theories as "almost pragmatism" and authored the afterword
in the collection The Revival of Pragmatism.
Brandom, RobertRobert Brandom
A student of Rorty's, has developed a complex analytic version of
pragmatism in works such as Making it Explicit, Between Saying and
Doing, and Perspectives on Pragmatism.
Lewis, Clarence IrvingClarence Irving Lewis
a leading authority on symbolic logic and on the philosophic concepts
of knowledge and value.
Margolis, JosephJoseph Margolis
still proudly defends the original Pragmatists and sees his recent
work on Cultural Realism as extending and deepening their insights,
especially the contribution of Peirce and Dewey, in the context of a
rapprochement with Continental philosophy.
Putnam, HilaryHilary Putnam
in many ways the opposite of Rorty and thinks classical pragmatism was
too permissive a theory.
Rorty, RichardRichard Rorty
famous author of
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.
Stuhr, John J.John J. Stuhr
Quine, Willard van OrmanWillard van Orman Quine
pragmatist philosopher, concerned with language, logic, and philosophy
Sandbothe, MikeMike Sandbothe
Applied Rorty's neopragmatism to media studies and developed a new
branch that he called Media Philosophy. Together with authors such as
Juergen Habermas, Hans Joas, Sami Pihlstroem, Mats Bergmann, Michael
Esfeld, and Helmut Pape, he belongs to a group of European Pragmatists
who make use of Peirce, James, Dewey, Rorty, Brandom, Putnam, and
other representatives of American pragmatism in continental
Shusterman, RichardRichard Shusterman
philosopher of art.
Stanley, JasonJason Stanley
Defends a pragmatist form of contextualism against semantic varieties
of contextualism in his Knowledge and Practical Interest.
Talisse, Robert B.Robert B. Talisse
defends an epistemological conception of democratic politics that is
explicitly opposed to Deweyan democracy and yet rooted in a conception
of social epistemology that derives from the pragmatism of Charles
Peirce. His work in argumentation theory and informal logic also
demonstrates pragmatist leanings.
Toulmin, StephenStephen Toulmin
student of Wittgenstein, known especially for his The Uses of
Unger, RobertoRoberto Unger
in The Self Awakened:
Pragmatism Unbound, advocates for a "radical
pragmatism", one that 'de-naturalizes' society and culture, and thus
insists that we can "transform the character of our relation to social
and cultural worlds we inhabit rather than just to change, little by
little, the content of the arrangements and beliefs that comprise
Holmes, Jr., Oliver WendellOliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Pragmatists in the extended sense
West, CornelCornel West
thinker on race, politics, and religion; operates under the sign of
Sellars, WilfridWilfrid Sellars
broad thinker, attacked foundationalism in the analytic tradition.
Ramsey, Frank P.Frank P. Ramsey
author of the philosophical work Universals.
Apel, Karl-OttoKarl-Otto Apel
author of "Charles S. Peirce: From
Bourne, RandolphRandolph Bourne
author of the 1917 pragmatist anti-war essay "Twilight of Idols"
Mills, C. WrightC. Wright Mills
author of Sociology and Pragmatism: the Higher Learning in America and
was a commentator on Dewey.
Habermas, JürgenJürgen Habermas
author of "What is Universal Pragmatics?"
Charles Sanders Peirce
Charles Sanders Peirce bibliography
Doctrine of internal relations
Pragmatic theory of truth
Pragmatism as an eighth tradition of Communication theory
Scientific method#Pragmatic model
New legal realism
^ Pragmatism. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
^ a b c d Peirce, C. S. (1878), "How to Make Our Ideas Clear", Popular
Science Monthly, v. 12, 286–302. Reprinted often, including
Collected Papers v. 5, paragraphs 388–410 and Essential Peirce v. 1,
124–41. See end of §II for the pragmatic maxim. See third and
fourth paragraphs in §IV for the discoverability of truth and the
real by sufficient investigation.
William James (1909). The Meaning of Truth. Retrieved 5 March
^ a b Gutek, Gerald (2014). Philosophical, Ideological, and
Theoretical Perspectives On Education. New Jersey: Pearson.
pp. 76,100. ISBN 978-0-13-285238-8.
^ Susan Haack; Robert Edwin Lane (11 April 2006). Pragmatism, old
& new: selected writings. Prometheus Books. pp. 18–67.
^ a b Biesta, G.J.J. & Burbules, N. (2003).
educational research. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
^ James, William (1898), "Philosophical Conceptions and Practical
Results", delivered before the Philosophical Union of the University
of California at Berkeley, August 26, 1898, and first printed in the
University Chronicle 1, September 1898, pp. 287–310. Internet
Archive Eprint. On p. 290:
I refer to Mr. Charles S. Peirce, with whose very existence as a
philosopher I dare say many of you are unacquainted. He is one of the
most original of contemporary thinkers; and the principle of
practicalism or pragmatism, as he called it, when I first heard him
enunciate it at Cambridge in the early [1870s] is the clue or compass
by following which I find myself more and more confirmed in believing
we may keep our feet upon the proper trail.
James credited Peirce again in 1906 lectures published in 1907 as
Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking, see Lecture 2,
^ See James (1897), Will to Believe (which James dedicated to Peirce),
see p. 124 and footnote via Google Books Eprint:
Indeed, it may be said that if two apparently different definitions of
the reality before us should have identical consequences, those two
definitions would really be identical definitions, made delusively to
appear different merely by the different verbiage in which they are
¹ See the admirably original "Illustrations of the
Logic of Science,"
by C. S. Peirce, especially the second paper, "How to make our
Thoughts clear," [sic] in the Popular Science Monthly for January,
See also James's 1907 Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of
Thinking, Lecture 2, fourth paragraph.
^ In addition to James's lectures and publications on pragmatist ideas
(Will to Believe 1897, etc.) wherein he credited Peirce, James also
arranged for two paid series of lectures by Peirce, including the 1903
Harvard lectures on pragmatism. See pp. 261–4, 290–2, & 324 in
Brent, Joseph (1998), Charles Sanders Peirce: A Life, 2nd edition.
^ Peirce, C. S., "The Founding of Pragmatism", manuscript written
1906, published in The Hound & Horn: A Harvard Miscellany v. II,
n. 3, April–June 1929, pp. 282–5, see 283–4, reprinted 1934 as
"Historical Affinities and Genesis" in Collected Papers v. 5,
paragraphs 11–13, see 12.
^ Shook, John (undated), "The Metaphysical Club", the Pragmatism
^ Peirce, C. S. (1877), The Fixation of Belief, Popular Science
Monthly, v. 12, pp. 1–15. Reprited often, including Collected Papers
v. 5, paragraphs 358–87 and Essential Peirce v. 1, pp. 109–23).
^ Peirce, on p p. 165–166 in "What
Pragmatism Is", The Monist, v.
XV, n. 2, April 1905, pp. 161–81, reprinted in Collected Papers v.
5, paragraphs 411–37, see 414.
^ Manuscript "A Sketch of Logical Critics", Essential Peirce v. 2, pp.
451–62, see pp. 457–8. Peirce wrote:
I have always fathered my pragmaticism (as I have called it since
James and Schiller made the word [pragmatism] imply "the will to
believe," the mutability of truth, the soundness of Zeno's refutation
of motion, and pluralism generally), upon Kant, Berkeley, and
^ a b Peirce, C. S. (1908) "A Neglected
Argument for the
God", Hibbert Journal 7, reprinted in Collected Papers v. 6,
paragraphs 452–85, Essential Peirce v. 2, 434–50, and elsewhere.
After discussing James, Peirce stated (Section V, fourth paragraph) as
the specific occasion of his coinage "pragmaticism", journalist,
pragmatist, and literary author Giovanni Papini's declaration of
pragmatism's indefinability (see for example "What Is Pragmatism
Like", a translation published in October 1907 in Popular Science
Monthly v. 71, pp. 351–8, Google Books Eprint). Peirce in his
closing paragraph wrote that "willing not to exert the will (willing
to believe)" should not be confused with "active willing (willing to
control thought, to doubt, and to weigh reasons)", and discussed his
dismay by that which he called the other pragmatists' "angry hatred of
strict logic". He also rejected their nominalist tendencies. But he
remained allied with them about the falsity of necessitarianism and
about the reality of generals and habits understood in terms of
potential concrete effects even if unactualized.
^ Peirce, C. S. (1868) "Questions Concerning Certain Faculties Claimed
For Man", Journal of Speculative
Philosophy v. 2, n. 2, pp. 103–114.
Reprinted Collected Peirce v. 5, paragraphs 213–263, Writings v. 2,
pp. 193–211, Essential Peirce v. 2, pp. 11–27, and elsewhere.
Peirce.org Eprint. Google Books Eprint.
^ Kasser, Jeff (1998), "Peirce's Supposed Psychologism" in
Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, v. 35, n. 3, summer
1999, pp. 501–527. Arisbe Eprint.
^ Peirce held that (philosophical) logic is a normative field, that
pragmatism is a method developed in it, and that philosophy, though
not deductive or so general as mathematics, still concerns positive
phenomena in general, including phenomena of matter and mind, without
depending on special experiences or experiments such as those of
optics and experimental psychology, in both of which Peirce was
active. See quotes under "Philosophy" at the Commens Dictionary of
Peirce's Terms. Peirce also harshly criticized the Cartesian approach
of starting from hyperbolic doubts rather than from the combination of
established beliefs and genuine doubts. See the opening of his 1868
"Some Consequences of Four Incapacities", Journal of Speculative
Philosophy v. 2, n. 3, pp. 140–157. Reprinted Collected Papers v. 5,
paragraphs 264–317, Writings v. 2, pp. 211–42, and Essential
Peirce v. 1, pp. 28–55. Eprint.
^ Peirce (1902), The Carnegie Institute Application, Memoir 10, MS
L75.361-2, Arisbe Eprint.
^ Peirce, C. S. (1868), "Some Consequences of Four Incapacities",
Journal of Speculative
Philosophy v. 2, n. 3, p p. 140–57, see
opening pages. Reprinted Collected Papers v. 5, paragraphs 264–317,
Writings v. 2, pp. 211–42, Essential Peirce v. 1, pp. 28–55.
^ Unger, Roberto (2007). The Self Awakened:
Harvard University Press. pp. 6–7.
^ Patricia M. Shields. 2008. "Rediscovering the Taproot: Is Classical
Pragmatism the Route to Renew Public Administration?" Public
Administration Review 68(2), 205–221
^ Ansell, Christopher. 2011. Pragmatist Democracy: Evolutionary
Learning as Public Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press
^ Weber, Eric Thomas. 2013.
Democracy and Leadership: On Pragmatism
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^ Ralston, Shane (Ed). 2013. Philosophical
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^ Shields, Patricia and Rangarjan, N. 2013. A Playbook for Research
Methods: Integrating Conceptual Frameworks and Project Management.
. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press. Shields relies primarily on
Dewey's logic of Inquiry.
^ Stryker, S. (1980). Symbolic Interactionism: A Social Structural
Version.. Benjamin/Cummings Publishing.
^ Baert, P. (2004). "
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^ Cornish, F. & Gillespie, A. (2009). A pragmatist approach to the
problem of knowledge in health psychology Journal of Health
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^ Patricia M. Shields. 2008. Rediscovering the Taproot: Is Classical
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^ Hildebrand, David L. 2008.
Public Administration as Pragmatic,
Democratic and Objective.
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Pragmatism Needs an Upgrade.
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^ Stolcis, Gregory 2004. "A view from the Trenches: Comment on
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^ Patricia M. Shields. 2005. "Classical
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^ Perez, Shivaun, "Assessing Service Learning Using Pragmatic
Principles of Education: A Texas Charter School Case Study" (2000).
Applied Research Projects. Texas State University Paper 76.
^ Alexander, Jason Fields, "Contracting Through the Lens of Classical
Pragmatism: An Exploration of Local Government Contracting" (2009).
Applied Research Projects. Texas State University. Paper 288.
^ Bartle, John R. and Shields, Patricia M., "Applying
Public Budgeting and Financial Management" (2008). Faculty
Publications-Political Science. Paper 48.
^ Wilson, Timothy L., "
Pragmatism and Performance Measurement: An
Exploration of Practices in Texas State Government" (2001). Applied
Research Projects. Texas State University. Paper 71.
^ Howard-Watkins, Demetria C., "The Austin, Texas African-American
Quality of Life Initiative as a Community of inquiry: An Exploratory
Study" (2006). Applied Research Projects. Texas State University.
Paper 115. http://ecommons.txstate.edu/arp/115
^ Johnson, Timothy Lee, "The Downtown Austin Planning Process as a
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^ Brendel, David. 2006. Healing Psychiatry: Bridging the
Humanism Divide. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
^ Seigfried, C.H. (2001). Feminist interpretations of John Dewey.
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press; Seigfried, C.H.
Pragmatism and feminism: Reweaving the social fabric. Chicago:
The University of Chicago Press; Seigfried, C. H. (1992). Where are
all the pragmatists feminists? Hypatia, 6, 8–21.
^ Duran, J. (2001). A holistically Deweyan feminism. Metaphilosophy,
32, 279–292. Duran, J. (1993). The intersection of pragmatism and
feminism. Hypatia, 8
^ Keith, H. (1999). Feminism and pragmatism: George Herbert Mead’s
ethics of care. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 35,
^ Whipps, J. D. (2004).
Jane Addams social thought as a model for a
pragmatist-feminist communitarianism. Hypatia, 19, 118–113.
^ Seigfried, C.H. (1996).
Pragmatism and Feminism: Reweaving the
Social Fabric. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. p. 21
^ Peirce, Charles Sanders. 1958. "How to make our ideas clear", ed.
Paul Weiss Charles Harthstorne. Vol. 7–8. Cambridge MA: Harvard
^ Norcia, Vincent di. 2002. "Pluralism, pragmatism and social
problems." Journal of Canadian Studies 37 (3): 239.
^ "The Thirteen Pragmatisms, The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology,
and Scientific Methods, now The Journal of Philosophy, Part I, 2
January 1908, pp. 5–12. Part II, 16 January 1908, pp. 29–39
^ in: Stanley Fish, There's No Such Thing as Free Speech, Oxford
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^ Ed. Morris Dickstein, Duke University Press, 1998
BACILA, Carlos Roberto. The Life of Dale Carnegie and His Philosophy
of Success. New York: Amazon, 2012.
Baldwin, James Mark (ed., 1901–1905), Dictionary of
Psychology, 3 volumes in 4, Macmillan, New York, NY.
Dewey, John (1900–1901), Lectures on
Ethics 1900–1901, Donald F.
Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and
Edwardsville, IL, 1991.
Dewey, John (1910), How We Think, D.C. Heath, Lexington, MA, 1910.
Reprinted, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY, 1991.
Dewey, John (1929), The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation
of Knowledge and Action, Minton, Balch, and Company, New York, NY.
Reprinted, pp. 1–254 in John Dewey, The Later Works,
1925–1953, Volume 4: 1929, Jo Ann Boydston (ed.), Harriet Furst
Simon (text. ed.),
Stephen Toulmin (intro.), Southern Illinois
University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL, 1984.
Dewey, John (1932), Theory of the Moral Life, Part 2 of
John Dewey and
James H. Tufts, Ethics, Henry Holt and Company, New York, NY, 1908.
2nd edition, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1932. Reprinted, Arnold
Isenberg (ed.), Victor Kestenbaum (pref.), Irvington Publishers, New
York, NY, 1980.
Dewey, John (1938), Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, Henry Holt and
Company, New York, NY, 1938. Reprinted, pp. 1–527 in John
Dewey, The Later Works, 1925–1953, Volume 12: 1938, Jo Ann Boydston
(ed.), Kathleen Poulos (text. ed.),
Ernest Nagel (intro.), Southern
Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL, 1986.
James, William (1902), "Pragmatic and Pragmatism", 1 paragraph, vol.
2, pp. 321–322 in J.M. Baldwin (ed., 1901–1905), Dictionary
Philosophy and Psychology, 3 volumes in 4, Macmillan, New York, NY.
Reprinted, CP 5.2 in C.S. Peirce, Collected Papers.
James, William (1907), Pragmatism, A New Name for Some Old Ways of
Thinking, Popular Lectures on Philosophy, Longmans, Green, and
Company, New York, NY.
James, William (1909), The Meaning of Truth, A Sequel to 'Pragmatism,
Longmans, Green, and Company, New York, NY.
Lundin, Roger (2006) From Nature to Experience: The American Search
for Cultural Authority Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Peirce, C.S., Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vols. 1–6,
Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss (eds.), vols. 7–8, Arthur W. Burks
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1931–1935, 1958.
Cited as CP vol.para.
Peirce, C.S., The Essential Peirce, Selected Philosophical Writings,
Volume 1 (1867–1893), Nathan Houser and Christian Kloesel (eds.),
Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN, 1992.
Peirce, C.S., The Essential Peirce, Selected Philosophical Writings,
Volume 2 (1893–1913), Peirce Edition Project (eds.), Indiana
University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN, 1998.
Putnam, Hilary (1994), Words and Life, James Conant (ed.), Harvard
University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Quine, W.V. (1951), "Two Dogmas of Empiricism", Philosophical Review
(January 1951). Reprinted, pp. 20–46 in W.V. Quine, From a
Logical Point of View, 1980.
Quine, W.V. (1980), From a Logical Point of View, Logico-Philosophical
Essays, 2nd edition,
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1980.
Ramsey, F.P. (1927), "Facts and Propositions", Aristotelian Society
Supplementary Volume 7, 153–170. Reprinted, pp. 34–51 in F.P.
Ramsey, Philosophical Papers, David Hugh Mellor (ed.), Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1990.
Ramsey, F.P. (1990), Philosophical Papers, David Hugh Mellor (ed.),
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Rescher, N. (1977), Methodological Pragmatism, Oxford: Blackwell,
Rescher, N. (2000), Realistic Pragmatism, Albany, SUNY Press, 2000.
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John J. Stuhr, ed. One Hundred Years of Pragmatism: William James's
Philosophy (Indiana University Press; 2010) 215 pages;
Essays on pragmatism and American culture, pragmatism as a way of
thinking and settling disputes, pragmatism as a theory of truth, and
pragmatism as a mood, attitude, or temperament.
Important introductory primary texts
Note that this is an introductory list: some important works are left
out and some less monumental works that are excellent introductions
C. S. Peirce, "The Fixation of Belief" (paper)
C. S. Peirce, "How to Make Our Ideas Clear" (paper)
C. S. Peirce, "A Definition of Pragmatism" (paper as titled by Menand
in Pragmatism: A Reader, from Collected Papers of Charles Sanders
Peirce v. 8, some or all of paragraphs 191–195.)
William James, Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking
(especially lectures I, II and VI)
John Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy
John Dewey, "Three Independent factors in Morals" (lecture published
John Dewey, "A short catechism concerning truth" (chapter)
W. V. O. Quine, "Two Dogmas of Empiricism". (paper)
Cornelis De Waal, On Pragmatism
Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America
Hilary Putnam, Pragmatism: An Open Question
Abraham Edel, Pragmatic Tests and Ethical Insights
D. S. Clarke, Rational Acceptance and Purpose
Haack, Susan & Lane, Robert, Eds. (2006).
Pragmatism Old and New:
Selected Writings. New York: Prometheus Books.
Louis Menand, ed., Pragmatism: A Reader (includes essays by Peirce,
James, Dewey, Rorty, others)
For a discussion of the ways in which
Pragmatism offers insights into
the theory and practice of urbanism, see: Aseem Inam, Designing Urban
Transformation New York and London: Routledge, 2013.
Edward W. Younkins, Dewey's
Pragmatism and the Decline of Education.
Pragmatism, Ayn Rand Lexicon.
Albert Schinz, Anti-Pragmatism: An Examination into the Respective
Rights of Intellectual Aristocracy and Social Democracy. Boston:
Small, Maynard and Company, 1909.
IEP – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
SEP – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
James Sloan Allen.
William James on Habit, Will, Truth, and the
Meaning of Life. 2014.
Elizabeth Anderson. Dewey's Moral Philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of
Douglas Browning, William T. Myers (Eds.) Philosophers of Process.
Robert Burch. Charles Sanders Peirce. Stanford Encyclopedia of
F. Thomas Burke. What
Pragmatism Was. 2013.
John Dewey. Donald F. Koch (ed.) Lectures on
Ethics 1900–1901. 1991.
Daniel Dennett. Postmodernism and Truth. 1998.
John Dewey. The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of
Knowledge and Action. 1929.
John Dewey. Three Independent Factors in Morals. 1930.
John Dewey. The Influence of Darwin on
Philosophy and Other Essays.
John Dewey. Experience & Education. 1938.
Cornelis De Waal. On Pragmatism. 2005.
Abraham Edel. Pragmatic Tests and Ethical Insights. In:
Ethics at the
Ethics and Objective Reason. George F. McLean,
Richard Wollak (eds.) 1993.
Michael Eldridge. Transforming Experience: John Dewey's Cultural
Lorenzo Fabbri. The domestication of Derrida: Rorty, pragmatism and
John Dewey (1859-1952). Internet Encyclopedia of
Peter H. Hare, Michel Weber, James K. Swindler, Oana-Maria Pastae,
Cerasel Cuteanu (eds.), International Perspectives on Pragmatism,
Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009
David L. Hildebrand. Beyond Realism & Anti-Realism. 2003.
David L. Hildebrand. The Neopragmatist Turn. Southwest Philosophy
Review Vol. 19, no. 1. January, 2003.
William James. Pragmatism, A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking,
Popular Lectures on Philosophy. 1907.
William James The Will to Believe. 1896.
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson.
Philosophy in the Flesh : The
Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. 1999.
Todd Lekan. Making Morality: Pragmatist Reconstruction in Ethical
Mind and the World Order: Outline of a Theory of
David Macarthur. "Pragmatism, Metaphysical Quietism and the Problem of
Normativity," Philosophical Topics Vol. 36 no.1, 2009.
Keya Maitra. On Putnam. 2003.
Joseph Margolis. Historied Thought, Constructed World. 1995.
Louis Menand. The Metaphysical Club. 2001.
Cheryl Misak (ed.) The New Pragmatists. Oxford University Press, 2007
Hilary Putnam Reason, Truth and History. 1981.
W.V.O. Quine. Two Dogmas of Empiricism. Philosophical Review. January
Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. 1969.
N. Rescher. Process Philosophy. The Stanford Encyclopedia of
Richard Rorty Rorty Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers. Volume
Stephen Toulmin. The Uses of Argument. 1958.
Michel Weber (ed.), After Whitehead: Rescher on Process Metaphysics,
Frankfurt / Paris / Lancaster, Ontos Verlag, 2004
Michel Weber, Whitehead's Pancreativism. Jamesian Applications,
Frankfurt / Paris, Ontos Verlag, 2011.
Mike Sandbothe (Eds.) The Pragmatic Turn in
Philosophy. Contemporary Engagement between Analytic and Continental
Mike Sandbothe. Pragmatic Media Philosophy. 2005.
Papers and online encyclopedias are part of the bibliography. Other
sources may include interviews, reviews and websites.
Gary A. Olson and Stephen Toulmin. Literary Theory,
Science, and Persuasive Discourse: Thoughts from a Neo-premodernist.
Interview in JAC 13.2. 1993.
Susan Haack. Vulgar Rortyism. Review in The New Criterion. November
Pietarinen, A.V. “Interdisciplinarity and Peirce's classification of
the Sciences: A Centennial Reassessment," Perspectives on Science,
14(2), 127–152 (2006).
Look up pragmatism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Pragmatism
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pragmatism.
Pragmatism at PhilPapers
Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). "Pragmatism". Stanford Encyclopedia of
"Pragmatism". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Pragmatism at the Indiana
Pragmatism on In Our Time at the BBC.
A short film about the pragmatist revival on YouTube
Journals and organizations
There are several peer-reviewed journals dedicated to pragmatism, for
Contemporary Pragmatism, affiliated with the International Pragmatism
European Journal of
Pragmatism and American Philosophy, affiliated
with the Associazione Culturale Pragma (Italy)
Nordic Studies in Pragmatism, journal of the Nordic
Pragmatism Today, journal of the Central European Pragmatist Forum
Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, journal of the Charles
S. Peirce Society
William James Studies, journal of the
William James Society
Other online resources and organizations
Arisbe: The Peirce Gateway
Center for Dewey Studies[permanent dead link]
Centro de Estudos sobre Pragmatismo (CEP) — Center for Pragmatism
Studies (CPS) (Brazil)
Charles S. Peirce Studies
Helsinki Peirce Research Center (Finland), including:
Commens Dictionary of Peirce's Terms — see Pragmatism,
Pragmaticism, and Pragmatism: Maxim of
Institute for American Thought
John Dewey Society
Peirce Edition Project
Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy
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