Philosophical methodology is the central focus of pragmatism’s founding documents. The early works of Peirce, James, and Dewey examine methodological questions such as ‘how do we make philosophical ideas clear?’, ‘what is the best method for fixing belief?’ and ‘how do we know whether a philosophical question is answerable?’. Thus, many consider pragmatism inherently methodological – as a metaphilosophy, a view about how philosophy should or must be done (e.g. Talisse 2017). Any summary of pragmatist methods is therefore a summary (...) of pragmatism itself. Given such an impossibly broad remit, this chapter does only three things. First, it provides four broad claims common to pragmatist approaches to philosophical methodology, claims reflecting its underlying theory of inquiry. Second, it briefly examines three core pragmatist methods – for conceptual clarification, for fixing belief, and for settling or dissolving philosophical disputes. Third, it briefly describes differences between the Classical figures regarding each method. This is merely a brief sketch – the reader should consider all entries in this volume relevant to pragmatism qua philosophical method. (shrink)
Note: This draft was updated on November 10, 2020. Discussing federal statutes, Justice Scalia tells us that “[t]he stark reality is that the only thing that one can say for sure was agreed to by both houses and the president (on signing the bill) is the text of the statute. The rest is legal fiction." How should we take this claim? If we take "text" to mean the printed text, that text without more is just a series of marks. If (...) instead we take "text" (as we must) to refer to something off the page such as the "meaning" of the series of marks at issue, what is that meaning and how do we know that all the legislators "agreed" on that "meaning"? In seeking answers here, we necessarily delve into semiotics (i.e., the “general theory of signs”) by noting that meaningful ink marks ("signifiers) signify a meaning beyond themselves (the "signified.") Thus, understanding how signs function is integral to lawyers' textual and linguistic analysis. Additionally, as this article demonstrates, legal analysis and rhetoric are much impoverished if lawyers ignore nonverbal signs such as icons, indices, and nonverbal symbols. In providing a broad overview of semiotics for lawyers, this article thus (1) begins with a general definition of signs and the related notion of intentionality. It then turns to, among other things, (2) the structure and concomitants of signs in more detail (including the signifier and the signified), (3) the possible correlations of the signifier and the signified that generate signs of interest to lawyers such as the index, the icon, and the symbol; (5) the expansion of legal rhetoric through use of the index, the icon, and the non-verbal as well as the verbal symbol, (6) the nature of various semiotic acts in public and private law (including assertives, commissives, directives, and verdictives); (7) the interpretation and construction of semiotic acts (including contracts as commissives and legislation as directives); (8) the role of speaker or reader meaning in the interpretation and construction of semiotic acts; (9) the semiotics of meaning, time, and the fixation of meaning debate; (10) the impact of signifier drift; (11) the distinction between sense and understanding; and (12) some brief reflections on semiotics and the First Amendment. This article also provides an Appendix of further terms and concepts useful to lawyers in their explorations of semiotics. (shrink)
Philosophically engaged fiction often employs ideas in ways that reflect the exploitation-exploration dilemma in developmental psychology: by exploiting well articulated theories by enacting their conflicts, or by exploring the uncertainties of puzzling ontologies or moral complexities. We can see this in action in many works, but some novels of ideas seek to defy such categorization, with lessons for readers and writers. This paper analyzes two recent works – The Overstory by Richard Powers (2018) and Elizabeth McKenzie’s The Portable Veblen (2016) (...) – to show how they deal with related concerns and settings through very different approaches. While Powers offers an enactment, its complexity seeks to evade the book becoming a simple polemic. McKenzie’s protagonist explores her muddled identity, philosophy and much else while flirting with the enactment of ideas when she does not comprehend. (shrink)
Christopher Hookway has been influential in promoting engagement with pragmatist and naturalist perspectives from classical and contemporary American philosophy. This book reflects on Hookway’s work on the American philosophical tradition and its significance for contemporary discussions of the understanding of mind, meaning, knowledge, and value. -/- Hookway’s original and extensive studies of Charles S. Peirce have made him among the most admired and frequently referenced of Peirce’s interpreters. His work on classical American pragmatism has explored the philosophies of William James, (...) John Dewey, and Josiah Royce, and examined the influence of pragmatist ideas outside of the United States. Additionally, Hookway has participated in a number of celebrated exchanges with some of the most high-profile figures of twentieth- and twenty-first-century philosophy, including Karl-Otto Apel, Philip Pettit, Hilary Putnam, and W.V.O. Quine, through which his treatments of a large range of topics in epistemology and the philosophies of mind and language have been developed and promoted. The chapters in this book—which include contributions from several of Hookway’s former students and colleagues—include studies of Hookway’s engagement with the works of Peirce, James, and Dewey, his contributions to virtue epistemology, and his discussions of hope and pragmatist metaphysics. -/- Pragmatic Reason will be of interest to researchers and advanced students working on American philosophy, the history of analytic philosophy, and epistemology. (shrink)
By tracing its own narrative from the feminist pragmatism of the 1980s-2000s back to the avant-la-lettre feminist pragmatism of the Progressive Era, this chapter explores the use of narrative within feminist pragmatism. It pays particular attention to uses of narrative in Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Anna Julia Cooper and Jane Addams to reveal the usefulness of narrative as a feminist pragmatist mode of inquiry and of elucidating meaning. The chapter concludes with a brief suggestion of where feminist pragmatist narrative may take (...) us next. (shrink)
This short review raises a trilemma for Chris Voparil’s reading of Richard Rorty. Voparil must deny one of three things. He must deny that Rorty affirmed a Jamesian approach to metaethics; he must deny that Rorty affirmed a version of Peircean realism; or, he must deny that Rorty treated all domains of discourse roughly the same. Because Rorty is quite clear in his commitment to the first and third theses and far less clear in affirming Peircean realism, I argue that (...) Voparil is forced to give up attributing realism to Rorty or must simply concede that his version of Rorty is incoherent. (shrink)
An aspect of Peirce’s thought that may still be underappreciated is his resistance to what Levi calls _pedigree epistemology_, to the idea that a central focus in epistemology should be the justification of current beliefs. Somewhat more widely appreciated is his rejection of the subjective view of probability. We argue that Peirce’s criticisms of subjectivism, to the extent they grant such a conception of probability is viable at all, revert back to pedigree epistemology. A thoroughgoing rejection of pedigree in the (...) context of probabilistic epistemology, however, _does_ challenge prominent subjectivist responses to the problem of the priors. (shrink)
Pragmatism is typically understood as a philosophy embedded in scientific inquiry. Thinkers, like Charles Peirce (1877), C.I. Lewis (1923) and Susan Haack (1998) envisioned pragmatism and its scientific inquiry as a method of systematizing our beliefs and acquiring knowledge. They thought that scientific practice and its implied standards, techniques, and values is the only source of hope for scientific and philosophical progress. In this dissertation, I construct a pragmatic approach to the meta-ethical questions of our moral truths, beliefs and principles (...) that proposes a normative systematization of ethics grounded in moral practice, development and experimentation. I argue that maintaining a pragmatic faith in the origination and formation of our moral constitutions will provide us with a realist, cognitivist and objective view of reality subject to the capacities of our human cognition and empirical evidence and not subject to metaphysical and universal methods of reasoning. (shrink)
In this essay, I link Pragmatism and the philosophy of liberation by making a comparison between John Dewey’s concept of the public and Enrique Dussel’s concept of the pueblo. I am specifically interested in how these concepts set up the relationship between intellectuals and their constituency—the community from which their thought emerges and to which they take themselves to be responsible. Reading the public and the pueblo together, I emphasize the need for intellectuals to consider further how their scholarship affects (...) those they claim to serve. I conclude via what AnaLouise Keating calls “risking the personal”—offering some autobiographical remarks on the questions I raise below. (shrink)
North-American philosophy was bolstered with the doctrines of the Jesuits. The penetration of the Coimbra Jesuits in the United States of America can be examined through the paradigmatic case of Charles Sanders Peirce. The extent to which Peirce was affected by the Coimbra Jesuits has not yet been researched. However, it is known that Peirce was acquainted with the Coimbra Jesuit Aristotelian Course.
In Pragmatism’s Evolution, Trevor Pearce demonstrates that the philosophical tradition of pragmatism owes an enormous debt to specific biological debates in the late 1800s, especially those concerning the role of the environment in development and evolution. Many are familiar with John Dewey’s 1909 assertion that evolutionary ideas overturned two thousand years of philosophy—but what exactly happened in the fifty years prior to Dewey’s claim? What form did evolutionary ideas take? When and how were they received by American philosophers? Although the (...) various thinkers associated with pragmatism—from Charles Sanders Peirce to Jane Addams and beyond—were towering figures in American intellectual life, few realize the full extent of their engagement with the life sciences. In his analysis, Pearce focuses on a series of debates in biology from 1860 to 1910—from the instincts of honeybees to the inheritance of acquired characteristics—in which the pragmatists were active participants. If we want to understand the pragmatists and their influence, Pearce argues, we need to understand the relationship between pragmatism and biology. (shrink)
I examine and resolve an exegetical dichotomy between two main interpretations of Peirce’s theory of abduction, namely, the Generative Interpretation and the Pursuitworthiness Interpretation. According to the former, abduction is the instinctive process of generating explanatory hypotheses through a mental faculty called insight. According to the latter, abduction is a rule-governed procedure for determining the relative pursuitworthiness of available hypotheses and adopting the worthiest one for further investigation—such as empirical tests—based on economic considerations. It is shown that the Generative Interpretation (...) is inconsistent with a fundamental fact of logic for Peirce—i.e., abduction is a kind of inference—and the Pursuitworthiness Interpretation is flawed and inconsistent with Peirce’s naturalistic explanation for the possibility of science and his view about the limitations of classical scientific method. Changing the exegetical locus classicus from the logical form of abduction to insight and economy of research, I argue for the Unified Interpretation according to which abduction includes both instinctive hypotheses-generation and rule-governed hypotheses-ranking. I show that the Unified Interpretation is immune to the objections raised successfully against the Generative and the Pursuitworthiness interpretations. (shrink)
Alexander Livingston’s fascinating examination of William James’ work in Damn Great Empires!: William James and the Politics of Pragmatism argues that “William James was an important and innovative theorist of politics.” Livingston claims that James’ anti-imperialist arguments in the letters, editorials, and speeches collected in the Nachlass are an important part of James’ philosophical corpus that provides a critical lens through which the rest of James’ work can be fruitfully read. Though Livingston is not the first to propose a political (...) reexamination of James’ thought, his careful and systematic book-length work provides one of the strongest and most sustained arguments for a historical reinterpretation of James. In this review, I point out some of the strengths and limitations of Livingston's project. (shrink)
In this article, I reply to some criticisms of my book, Pragmatist Egalitarianism, offered by professors Robert Talisse, Susan Dieleman, and Alexander Livingston. Some of the major themes and questions I address include the following: How are conflicts between different egalitarian ideals best understood and addressed? Does the quest for equality have a fundamental locus, or are the different egalitarian variables I identify in the book, conceptually speaking, on an equal footing? What is the relationship between justice and equality? How (...) are feminist egalitarianism and Marxian egalitarianism best slotted into my distinction between “vertical” and “horizontal” egalitarianism? What does liberalism, problematic though it may sometimes be, have to contribute to the egalitarian project? (shrink)
The American philosophy and the problem of time –[article]– attempts to briefly outline the concepts of understanding of the problem of time, temporality and continuity in American philosophy which is represented by Ch. Peirce, W. James, and A. N. Whitehead. The article also tries to point out the importance of the enquiry on the field of time. Further, it gives abbreviated outline of the historic conditions of emergence of the American philosophy.
This paper explicates and defends some of William James' more controversial claims in ‘The Will to Believe’. After showing some of the weaknesses in standard interpretations of James' position, I turn to James' Principles of Psychology and The Varieties of Religious Experience to spell out in more detail James' account of the nature of the attitudes of belief, doubt, and disbelief and link them to an account of the subject. In so doing, the moral force of the argument comes to (...) the fore by casting the question ‘Can we believe at will?’ in a new light. Through a discussion of the conversion experiences of The Varieties of Religious Experience and the kinds of self-transformations in which beliefs that once appeared dead become live that appear throughout James' psychology, the moral urgency of James' position in ‘The Will to Believe’ is clarified. (shrink)
In this comment on Misak’s Cambridge Pragmatism, I examine a case study—debate about the existence of free will—in order to explore residual tensions between Misak’s ‘truth-affirming,’ Peircean pragmatism, and mainstream analytic philosophy. I suggest that Misak’s Peirce makes a metaphysical commitment to the existence of rational self-control, and thereby to the existence of free will. I also suggest, however, that her ‘analytic pragmatism’ thus far offers few clues about how we should defend such a commitment from skeptical arguments emerging from (...) contemporary analytic metaphysics. I conclude that analytic pragmatists have more work to do in explaining pragmatism’s complex relationship with metaphysics, and defending its core commitments from skeptical threats. (shrink)
What is W. V. O. Quine’s relationship to classical pragmatism? Although he resists the comparison to William James in particular, commentators have seen an affinity between his “web of belief” model of theory confirmation and James’s claim that our beliefs form a “stock” that faces new experience as a corporate body. I argue that the similarity is only superficial. James thinks our web of beliefs should be responsive not just to perceptual but also to emotional experiences in some cases; Quine (...) denies this. I motivate James’s controversial view by appealing to an episode in the history of medicine when a researcher self-experimented by swallowing a vial of bacteria that at the time had not been studied in much detail. The researcher’s commitment to his own as-yet untested hypothesis was based in part on emotional considerations. Finally, I argue that Quine’s insistence that emotions can never be relevant to adjusting our web of belief reflects a tacit holdover of one of logical positivism’s crucially anti-pragmatist commitments—that philosophy of science should focus exclusively on the context of justification, not the context of discovery. James’s emphasis on discovery as a (perhaps the) crucial locus for epistemological inquiry is characteristic of pragmatism in general. Since Quinean epistemology is always an epistemology of justification, he is not happily viewed as a member of the pragmatist tradition. (shrink)
The radical skeptic argues that I have no knowledge of things I ordinarily claim to know because I have no evidence for or against the possibility of being systematically fed illusions. Recent years have seen a surge of interest in pragmatic responses to skepticism inspired by C. S. Peirce. This essay challenges one such influential response and presents a better Peircean way to refute the skeptic. The account I develop holds that although I do not know whether the skeptical hypothesis (...) is true, I still know things I ordinarily claim to know. Although it will emerge that this reply appears similar to a classic contextualist response to radical skepticism, it avoids two central problems facing that response. (shrink)
Both Kant and James claim to limit the role of knowledge in order to make room for faith. In this paper, we argue that despite some similarities, their attempts to do this come apart. Our main claim is that, although both Kant and James justify our adopting religious beliefs on practical grounds, James believes that we can—and should—subsequently assess such beliefs on the basis of evidence. We offer our own account of this evidence and discuss what this difference means for (...) their accounts of religious belief. (shrink)
In addition to being a founder of American pragmatism, Charles Sanders Peirce was a scientist and an empiricist. A core aspect of his thoroughgoing empiricism was a mindset that treats all attitudes as revisable. His fallibilism seems to require us to constantly seek out new information, and to not be content holding any beliefs uncritically. At the same time, Peirce often states that common sense has an important role to play in both scientific and vital inquiry, and that there cannot (...) be any “direct profit in going behind common sense.” Our question is the following: alongside a scientific mindset and a commitment to the method of inquiry, where does common sense fit in? Peirce does at times directly address common sense; however, those explicit engagements are relatively infrequent. In this paper, we argue that getting a firm grip on the role of common sense in Peirce’s philosophy requires a three-pronged investigation, targeting his treatment of common sense alongside his more numerous remarks on intuition and instinct. By excavating and developing Peirce’s concepts of instinct and intuition, we show that his respect for common sense coheres with his insistence on the methodological superiority of inquiry. We conclude that Peirce shows us the way to a distinctive epistemic position balancing fallibilism and anti-scepticism, a pragmatist common sense position of considerable interest for contemporary epistemology given current interest in the relation of intuition and reason. (shrink)
Os signos e as classes dos signos estão entre os tópicos mais importantes do sistema filosófico de Charles S. Peirce. As 10, 28, e 66 classes de signos são classificações desenvolvidas especialmente a partir de 1903 e representam um grande refinamento da divisão fundamental de signos – ícone, índice, símbolo. Nossa abordagem aqui define uma estratégia de visualização das classificações dos signos, com especial atenção para as 10 e 66 classes de signos. O livro está dividido em duas partes: (i) (...) bases teóricas, (ii) diagramas para as classes de signos. Na Parte I (bases teóricas), são apresentadas introdutoriamente as noções fundamentais das categorias fenomenológicas, classes de signos, as tricotomias e diagramas, assim como implicações gerais de nossa abordagem, metodologia e aplicações. Na Parte II (diagramas para as classes de signos), são apresentados e discutidos os modelos das classes, propostos por Peirce e seus comentadores, incluindo uma introdução detalhadamente documental de nossos modelos, 10cubes e 3N3, diagramas dinâmicos para as classes de signos. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe article explores the connection between James's “radical empiricism” and Deleuze's “transcendental empiricism” with a particular focus on the concept of “pure experience.” It argues for the substantial nature of this connection in terms of both philosophical motivations and formal innovations. Both thinkers are motivated to construct “better” empiricisms that do not complacently accept conventional conceptual representations as exhaustive of the real. Moreover, radical empiricism develops a latent critique of representational models of consciousness that is accomplished through a turn to (...) events or processes as ontologically primary. These innovations are further developed by Deleuze in his treatment of the problem of individuation. Taken together, they help to specify the metaphysical reasons for the experimental pluralism that both James and Deleuze affirm, showing how these reasons are inextricable from the radical empiricist impulse to be maximally inclusive of modalities of real experience, including the felt, the vague, and the affective. Emphasizing the metaphysical dimensions of these alternative empiricisms brings into clearer focus the stakes of philosophical thought as part of the open-ended and ongoing relational processes by which the universe continues to unfold. (shrink)
In his theory of determination, Charles Peirce considered two processes of determination, the semiotic process and epistemology. The semiotic process is an extensional process from object to interpretant that consists of an infinite chain of references that can be spatially reversible. The epistemological process of determination is temporal and irreversible, where the idea grows into the individual mind, as the universe is unfolded by the agency of mind.
Taking my lead from Robert Talisse and Scott Aikin's distinction between “meaning pragmatism” and “inquiry pragmatism,” and guided throughout by Christopher Hookway's understanding of Peirce, I revisit some of the best-known locuses of both Peirce's meaning pragmatism and his inquiry pragmatism, and conclude that the distinction dissolves in Peirce. For Peirce, the very mechanism for elucidating a concept's meaning, the pragmatic maxim, requires ongoing inquiry. Moreover, in performing an inquiry, we elucidate meaning.
This article investigates the history of the relation between idealism and pragmatism by examining the importance of the French idealist Charles Renouvier for the development of William James's ‘Will to Believe’. By focusing on French idealism, we obtain a broader understanding of the kinds of idealism on offer in the nineteenth century. First, I show that Renouvier's unique methodological idealism led to distinctively pragmatist doctrines and that his theory of certitude and its connection to freedom is worthy of reconsideration. Second, (...) I argue that the technical vocabulary and main structure of the argument from the ‘Will to Believe’ depend upon Renouvier's idealist theory of knowledge and psychology of belief, and that taking account of this line of influence is of crucial importance for establishing the correct interpretation of James's work. (shrink)
In this paper, I focus on an internal tension within James’s Principles and suggest that its formal structure provides useful insight into James’s subsequent evolution. Specifically, through a close reading of James’s account of ‘conceptions’ in the Principles, I examine the tension between these ‘conceptions’ construed as discrete and self-identical and James’s famous phenomenological description of consciousness as a continuous stream. Such a tension primarily involves the intersection of an epistemic need (or condition of possibility) with a quasi-metaphysical intuition or (...) postulate (continuity). Importantly, this tension is intensified by the methodological constraints of bracketing metaphysical questions which James sets for himself in the Principles. James’s decision to deny the cogency of this methodological bracketing can therefore be read as his response to the tension I examine and his speculative turn to “radical empiricism” as an attempt to resolve epistemological difficulties by going more radical ontologically. Doing so raises questions about the status of speculative metaphysics in intersection with empirical inquiry. (shrink)
Philosophers working within the pragmatist tradition have pictured their relation to Kant and Kantianism in very diverse terms: some have presented their work as an appropriation and development of Kantian ideas, some have argued that pragmatism is an approach in complete opposition to Kant. This collection investigates the relationship between pragmatism, Kant, and current Kantian approaches to transcendental arguments in a detailed and original way. Chapters highlight pragmatist aspects of Kant’s thought and trace the influence of Kant on the work (...) of pragmatists and neo-pragmatists, engaging with the work of Peirce, James, Lewis, Sellars, Rorty, and Brandom, among others. They also consider to what extent contemporary approaches to transcendental arguments are compatible with a pragmatist standpoint. The book includes contributions from renowned authors working on Kant, pragmatism and contemporary Kantian approaches to philosophy, and provides an authoritative and original perspective on the relationship between pragmatism and Kantianism. (shrink)
As British and American idealism waned, new realisms displaced them. The common background of these new realisms emphasized the problem of the external world and the mind-body problem, as bequeathed by Reid, Hamilton, and Mill. During this same period, academics on both sides of the Atlantic recognized that the natural sciences were making great strides. Responses varied. In the United States, philosophical response focused particularly on functional psychology and Darwinian adaptedness. This article examines differing versions of that response in William (...) James and Roy Wood Sellars. James viewed the mind as a “fighter for ends.” His neutral monism, by taming the mind-body problem and the problem of the external world, provided a secure metaphysics of mind as functional activity. In contrast, Sellars ’s scientific realism endorsed physical reality but was not mechanistic or reductionist. His critical realism and evolutionary naturalism offered novel metaphysical and epistemological positions in comparison with other American and British realisms. James and Sellars are distinguished from British philosophy in 1890–1918 in the types of realism they endorsed and in their success at introducing Darwinian evolutionary considerations and functional psychology into mainstream philosophy. (shrink)
The turn of the last century saw an explosion of philosophical realisms, both in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Gary Hatfield helpfully asks whether we can impose order on this chaotic scene by portraying these diverse actors as responding to a common philosophical problem—the so-called problem of the external world, as articulated by William Hamilton. I argue that we should not place the American realism that grows out of James’s neutral monism in this problem space. James first (...) articulated his position in response to critical attacks on the methodology he had employed in his psychological research. The direct topic of these criticisms was James’s earlier claim that a scientific psychology must treat knowledge as an inexplicable theoretical primitive. If I am right, then we ought to hesitate about Hatfield’s suggestion that American realism operated inside the same problem space as the early realism of British figures like Russell and Moore. James’s neutral monism first emerged as a conception of knowledge by a psychologist, and it was designed to meet concerns about his scientific research that had been raised by other psychologists. (shrink)
This commentary explores the disagreement between Alex Klein and Cheryl Misak about the core insights of American Pragmatism, against a background of agreement. Both take the history of early American pragmatism to be a vital part of the history of analytic philosophy, not a radical break with it. But Misak argues that James seeks to loosen the usual epistemic standards so that religious and scientific belief can both be justified by a unitary set of evidentiary rules, and Klein argues that (...) James’s aim is not primarily to seek a rationale or justification for religious belief. At the heart of the debate is a matter still very much alive in philosophy of science: the nature and status of indispensability arguments or arguments purporting to show that we need to assume some things in order to conduct inquiry. (shrink)
Although commonly cited as one of the philosophers responsible for the resurgence of interest in pragmatism, Wilfrid Sellars was also the son of Roy Wood Sellars, one of the most dedicated critical realists of the early 20th century. Given his father’s realism and his own ‘scientific realism,’ one might assume that the history of realism – and, despite contemporary interest, not pragmatism – would best serve as the historical background for Wilfrid Sellars’ philosophy. I argue that Wilfrid Sellars, far from (...) being the adherent to classical pragmatism assumed by some, holds more in common with critical realism - specifically, a realism that was framed in opposition to pragmatism – than one finds amongst the writings of Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, or John Dewey. I support this claim by examining Wilfrid Sellars’ adoption of his father’s criticisms of C.I. Lewis, and offer various arguments and historical considerations against thematic accounts that insist on a strong connection between Wilfrid Sellars and pragmatism. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the work of several positivists involved with the "Metaphysical Club" of Cambridge, MA in the early 1870s -- John Fiske, Chauncey Wright, and Francis Ellingwood Abbot. Like the logical positivists of the 1930s, these philosophers were forced to answer a key question: with so many of its traditional domains colonized by science and so many of its traditional questions dismissed as metaphysical or useless, what is left for philosophy to do? One answer they gave was (...) that philosophy could unify the sciences. As Fiske put it, "positive philosophy is science organized.". (shrink)
This is an introduction to a special issue of the British Journal for the History of Philosophy, on the relation between idealism and pragmatism. It sets out the way in which the two traditions can be related, and then outlines the papers contained in the special issue.
This article argues for a definition of public philosophy inspired by John Dewey’s understanding of the “supreme intellectual obligation.” The first section examines five strong reasons why more public philosophy is needed and why the growing movement in public philosophy should be encouraged. The second section begins with a review of common understandings of public philosophy as well as some initial challenges that call for widening our conception of the practice. Then, it applies Dewey’s argument in “The Supreme Intellectual Obligation” (...) to public philosophy, which must not be seen simply as a one-way street from intellectuals to the masses but, rather, as the task of fostering the scientific attitude and intellectual habits of mind in all citizens. (shrink)
This overview of the life and career of Charles S. Peirce identifies the central factors that shaped this seminal American intellect, and describes the dramatic events that turned the final decades of his professional existence into a tragedy. The purpose of this short article is to serve as a first biographical introduction to Peirce.
The Commens Papers (http://www.commens.org/papers) publishes preprints, reports, and communications that deal with the philosophy, scientific contributions, and life of C. S. Peirce. The Commens Papers are primarily meant for scholarly products that lack other means of publication, but which the author wishes to bring to the attention of the research community. The papers must meet editorial approval, but they are not fully peer reviewed. -/- The Commens Papers accepts a broad variety of intellectual products in various formats, including: Conference papers, (...) Manuscripts made available for comments and criticism before submission for peer review, Reports of original research, such as archival research, Catalogues or other systematic summaries of (parts of) Peirce’s writings, Reports from scientific meetings Lectures, as text, video, or audio, Posters presented at academic conferences . (shrink)
Throughout his many writings Charles Sanders Peirce occasionally presented examples of how to use the pragmatist method of defining one’s terms, having insisted that pragmatism is just that: a methodological stance concerning how best to clarify one’s terminology. One of the more remarkable examples is his definition of the word ‘reality’ with the corollary definition of the word ‘truth’. It is argued here that this definition also supplies for free a corollary definition of the word ‘knowledge’. Moreover, the same type (...) of definition (involving long-run perfectionist ideals of some sort) can be given for the words ‘democracy’ and ‘justice’. (shrink)
The purpose of the essay is to explore some points pertaining to Peirce’s conception of reality, with a special emphasis on the themes developed in his later writings (such as normativity, common sense, and the logic of signs). The resulting proposal advances a preliminary reading of some key issues (arising in connection with Peirce’s discussions of reality and truth), configured with a view to the socially sustainable, coordinated practices of inquiry that are intrinsically embedded in the biological and cultural dynamics (...) of the evolving sense of reasonableness in human practical and cognitive enterprises. (shrink)
The intention of this essay is to offer a reading of John Dewey’s recently found manuscript (considered lost for decades), Unmodern Philosophy and Modern Philosophy, as a kind of philosophical history leading up to the formulation of the key problems to be addressed by the general framework of Dewey’s cultural naturalism. I argue, first, that cultural naturalism has direct implications for the way that we think about history, and that Dewey’s recently recovered manuscript reflects this in its conception of the (...) purpose and mode of historical reconstruction. Second, the essay presents a synoptic overview of the historically emergent thought-conditions structuring, according to Dewey’s narrative, the possibilities of the philosophical discourse of modernity. In conclusion, I argue that cultural naturalism allows us to move beyond these problems by a radical revision of the terms in which we construe the idea of “persons.” Specifically, instead of thinking about persons in terms of embodied minds, we should start thinking about them as participants in histories, carving their individual paths through the world of events, with their existence being essentially both temporal and social. I also suggest that this view of persons allows us to outline a promising account of the notion of human freedom, couched in terms of historical social agency. (shrink)