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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 , pp. 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 to what 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 free will, 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. 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 postanalytic philosopher Daniel Dennett , who argues that anyone who wants to understand the world has to acknowledge both the "syntactical" aspects of reality i. Radical empiricism gives answers to questions about the limits of science, 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.

Both John Dewey in Experience and Nature and half a century later Richard Rorty in his Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature 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.

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 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' 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 Of the classical pragmatists, John Dewey wrote most extensively about morality and democracy. Edel In his classic article Three Independent Factors in Morals Dewey , 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 [] ch.

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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 s and first decade of , pragmatism was embraced by many in the field of bioethics led by the philosophers John Lachs and his student Glenn McGee , whose 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.

Pragmatism - Wikipedia

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 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 wake of 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.

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, , 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". 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: for example, conceptual pragmatist C.

Lewis was very critical of Dewey; neopragmatist Richard Rorty disliked Peirce. Important analytic pragmatists include early Richard Rorty who was the first to develop neopragmatist philosophy in his Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature , [24] Hilary Putnam , W. Quine , and Donald Davidson. 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".

Neopragmatist thinkers who are more loyal to classical pragmatism include Sidney Hook and Susan Haack known for the theory of foundherentism. 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 methodological 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.

With the advent of postanalytic philosophy and the diversification of Anglo-American philosophy, many philosophers were 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 in the edition, p.

Another example is Mark Johnson whose embodied philosophy Lakoff and Johnson 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 book Mind and the World Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge.

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It is often seen as opposed to structural problems connected to the French critical theory of Pierre Bourdieu. French pragmatism has more recently made inroads into American sociology as well. Philosophers John R. Shook and Tibor Solymosi said that "each new generation rediscovers and reinvents its own versions of pragmatism by applying the best available practical and scientific methods to philosophical problems of contemporary concern".

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 is closer to pragmatism than other philosophy of language because of its nominalist character although Peirce's pragmatism is not nominalist [15] and because it takes the broader functioning of language in an environment as its focus instead of investigating abstract relations between language and world. 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. 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. 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 , [31] political science , [32] leadership studies, [33] international relations , [34] conflict resolution, [35] and research methodology [36] have incorporated the tenets of pragmatism in their field.

Often this connection is made using Dewey and Addams's expansive notion of democracy. In the early twentieth century, Symbolic interactionism , a major perspective within sociological social psychology, was derived from pragmatism, 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 knowledge. Enthusiasts suggest that pragmatism offers an approach which is both pluralist and practical. Scholars claim classical pragmatism had a profound influence on the origin of the field of public administration.

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 introduced Dewey's notion of the Community of Inquiry. Miller [51] and Shields [52] [53] also responded. In addition, applied scholarship of public administration that assesses charter schools , [54] contracting out or outsourcing , [55] financial management, [56] performance measurement , [57] urban quality of life initiatives, [58] and urban planning [59] 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, [63] 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.

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Since the mid s, feminist philosophers have re-discovered classical pragmatism as a source of feminist theories. Works by Seigfried, [65] Duran, [66] Keith, [67] and Whipps [68] 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.


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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".

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.

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In the 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.

British philosopher Bertrand Russell devoted a chapter each to James and Dewey in his book A History of Western Philosophy ; Russell pointed out areas in which he agreed with them but also ridiculed James's views on truth and Dewey's views on inquiry. Neopragmatism as represented by Richard Rorty has been criticized as relativistic both by other neopragmatists such as Susan Haack Haack and by many analytic philosophers Dennett Rorty's early analytic 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.

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 [s] 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. 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 expressed.

Peirce, especially the second paper, "How to make our Thoughts clear," [ sic ] in the Popular Science Monthly for January, I have always fathered my pragmati ci sm 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 Leibniz.

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. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Philosophical movement. This article is about the philosophical movement. For other uses, see Pragmatism disambiguation. Plato Kant Nietzsche. Buddha Confucius Averroes. Main article: Pragmatic theory of truth. Main article: Pragmatic ethics. Main article: Neopragmatism.

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Classical pragmatists — [ edit ] Name Lifetime Notes Charles 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. William 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.

John Dewey — prominent philosopher of education , referred to his brand of pragmatism as instrumentalism. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Supreme Court Associate Justice. Schiller — one of the most important pragmatists of his time, Schiller is largely forgotten today. Important protopragmatists or related thinkers Name Lifetime Notes George Herbert Mead — philosopher and sociological social psychologist. Josiah 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 with neo-Hegelianism.

George 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 — student of James at Harvard who applied pragmatist principles to his sociological work, especially in The Philadelphia Negro and Atlanta University Studies.

Additional figures Name Lifetime Notes Giovanni Papini — Italian essayist, mostly known because James occasionally mentioned him. Giovanni Vailati — Italian analytic and pragmatist philosopher. Hu Shih — Chinese intellectual and reformer, student and translator of Dewey's and advocate of pragmatism in China. Reinhold Niebuhr — American philosopher and theologian, inserted pragmatism into his theory of Christian realism. Lewis — American philosopher, founder of conceptual pragmatism.

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His work interprets contemporary philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and philosophical logic through the lens of classical American pragmatism. Arthur Fine — Philosopher of Science who proposed the Natural Ontological Attitude to the debate of scientific realism. Stanley Fish — Literary and Legal Studies pragmatist. Criticizes Rorty's and Posner's legal theories as "almost pragmatism" [75] and authored the afterword in the collection The Revival of Pragmatism. Bockover ed. Authors: Kim, Sungmoon. Page 13 of All Academic Convention is the premier solution for your association's abstract management solutions needs.

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