PRAGMATISM is a philosophical tradition that began in the United
States around 1870. Its origins are often attributed to the
Pragmatism considers thought 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 experiences". Pragmatism focuses on a "changing universe rather than an unchanging one as the Idealists, Realists and Thomists had claimed".
* 1 Origins
* 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
* 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
* 6 Criticisms
* 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 * 9 References * 10 Sources
* 11 Further reading
* 11.1 Additional bibliography
* 12 External links
Charles Peirce (/ˈpɜːrs/ like "purse"): the American polymath who first identified pragmatism
Pragmatism as a philosophical movement began in the
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 1877–8 "Illustrations of the
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
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
Inspiration for various pragmatists included:
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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
* 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.
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. 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)
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 unanalyzable fact. 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
RECONCILIATION OF ANTI-SKEPTICISM AND FALLIBILISM
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
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.
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.
C.I. Lewis ' main arguments in _
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 statements.
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 sequel, _
Whereas 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 atoms. _ 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.
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
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).
Radical 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
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
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 grounds.
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;
Neoclassical pragmatism denotes those thinkers who consider themselves inheritors of the project of the classical pragmatists. Sidney Hook and 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 _
'French Pragmatism' is attended with theorists such as
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
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 sociologist.
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
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 knowledge.
Enthusiasts suggest that pragmatism offers an approach which is both pluralist and practical.
EFFECTS ON PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
The classical pragmatism of
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 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 responded.
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.
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
* see: Criticism texts, Further reading .
LIST OF PRAGMATISTS
CLASSICAL PRAGMATISTS (1850–1950)
NAME LIFETIME NOTES
Peirce, Charles Sanders Charles Sanders Peirce 1839–1914 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.
Schiller, F.C.S. F.C.S. Schiller 1864–1937 one of the most important pragmatists of his time, Schiller is largely forgotten today.
IMPORTANT PROTOPRAGMATISTS OR RELATED THINKERS
NAME LIFETIME NOTES
Mead, George Herbert George Herbert Mead 1863–1931 philosopher and sociological social psychologist .
Royce, Josiah Josiah Royce 1855–1916 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 with neo- Hegelianism .
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
Du Bois, W. E. B. W. E. B. Du Bois 1868–1963 student of James at Harvard who applied pragmatist principles to his sociological work, especially in _ The Philadelphia Negro _ and _Atlanta University Studies_.
NAME LIFETIME NOTES
Papini, Giovanni Giovanni Papini 1881–1956 Italian essayist, mostly known because James occasionally mentioned him.
Vailati, Giovanni Giovanni Vailati 1863–1909 Italian analytic and pragmatist philosopher.
NEOCLASSICAL PRAGMATISTS (1950–PRESENT)
Neoclassical pragmatists stay closer to the project of the classical pragmatists than neopragmatists do.
NAME LIFETIME NOTES
Hook, Sidney Sidney Hook 1902–1989 a prominent New York intellectual and philosopher, a student of Dewey at Columbia.
Levi, Isaac Isaac Levi 1930–
seeks to apply pragmatist thinking in a decision-theoretic perspective.
Haack, Susan Susan Haack 1945–
teaches at the University of Miami, sometimes called the intellectual granddaughter of C.S. Peirce, known chiefly for foundherentism .
Rescher, Nicholas Nicholas Rescher 1928– advocates a methodological pragmatism that sees functional efficacy as evidentiating validity.
ANALYTICAL, NEO- AND OTHER PRAGMATISTS (1950–PRESENT)
(Often labelled neopragmatism as well.)
NAME LIFETIME NOTES
Bernstein, Richard J. Richard J. Bernstein 1932– Author of _Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis_, _The New Constellation: The Ethical-Political Horizons of Modernity/Postmodernity_, _The Pragmatic Turn_
Burke, F. ThomasF. Thomas Burke 1950– 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 American pragmatism.
Fish, Stanley Stanley Fish 1938– 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_.
Hawthorne, John John Hawthorne
Defends a pragmatist form of contextualism to deal with the lottery paradox in his _Knowledge and Lotteries_.
Lewis, Clarence Irving Clarence Irving Lewis 1883–1964 a leading authority on symbolic logic and on the philosophic concepts of knowledge and value.
Margolis, Joseph Joseph Margolis 1924– 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.
Stuhr, John J. John J. Stuhr
Quine, Willard van Orman Willard van Orman Quine 1908–2000 pragmatist philosopher, concerned with language , logic , and philosophy of mathematics .
Sandbothe, Mike Mike Sandbothe 1961– 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 philosophy.
Shusterman, Richard Richard Shusterman
philosopher of art.
Stanley, Jason Jason Stanley 1969– Defends a pragmatist form of contextualism against semantic varieties of contextualism in his _Knowledge and Practical Interest_.
Talisse, Robert B. Robert B. Talisse 1970– 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, Stephen Stephen Toulmin 1922–2009 student of Wittgenstein, known especially for his _The Uses of Argument_.
Unger, Roberto Roberto Unger 1947– 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 them."
Pragmatists In The Extended Sense
NAME LIFETIME NOTES
Sellars, Wilfrid Wilfrid Sellars 1912–1989 broad thinker, attacked foundationalism in the analytic tradition.
Bourne, Randolph Randolph Bourne 1886–1918 author of the 1917 pragmatist anti-war essay "Twilight of Idols"
Mills, C. Wright C. Wright Mills 1916–1962; author of _Sociology and Pragmatism: the Higher Learning in America_ and was a commentator on Dewey.
* American philosophy * Charles Sanders Peirce bibliography * 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.
James credited Peirce again in 1906 lectures published in 1907 as _Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking_, see Lecture 2, fourth paragraph. * ^ 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
* ^ Manuscript "A Sketch of Logical Critics", _Essential Peirce_ v. 2, pp. 451–62, see pp. 457–8. Peirce wrote:
I have always fathered my pragmati_ci_sm (as I have called it since
James and Schiller made the word imply "the will to believe," the
mutability of truth, the soundness of Zeno's refutation of motion, and
pluralism generally), upon Kant, Berkeley, and Leibniz.... * ^ _A_
_B_ Peirce, C. S. (1908) "A Neglected
Argument for the
* Baldwin, James Mark (ed., 1901–1905), _Dictionary of Philosophy
* John J. Stuhr, ed. _One Hundred Years of Pragmatism: William James's Revolutionary 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 are included.
* 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 as paper) * John Dewey, "A short catechism concerning truth" (chapter) * W. V. O. Quine, "Three 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. ISBN 978-0415837705 .
* 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. _