Pluralism and Perspectivism in the American Pragmatist Tradition

In Michela Massimi (ed.), Knowledge From a Human Point of View. Springer Verlag (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This chapter explores perspectivism in the American Pragmatist tradition. On the one hand, the thematization of perspectivism in contemporary epistemology and philosophy of science can benefit from resources in the American Pragmatist philosophical tradition. On the other hand, the Pragmatists have interesting and innovative, pluralistic views that can be illuminated through the lens of perspectivism. I pursue this inquiry primarily through examining relevant sources from the Pragmatist tradition. I will illustrate productive engagements between pragmatism and perspectivism in three areas: in the pragmatists’ fallibilistic theories of inquiry and truth, in their pluralistic metaphysics, and in their views on cultural pluralism. While there are some potential sticking points between pragmatism and perspectivism, particularly around the visual metaphor of perspective, these philosophical approaches nonetheless have much to learn from each other. Perspectivism is in danger of falling between the horns of pernicious relativism and a platitudinous view of the limits of human perception and cognition. The pragmatists accounts of truth and reality open the possibility of a more thoroughgoing perspectivism. I will follow this thread through Charles S. Peirce’s, William James’, and John Dewey’s theories of inquiry and truth, Peirce’s evolutionary metaphysics, James’ radical pluralism, Dewey’s cultural naturalism, Richard Rorty’s anti-essentialism, Jane Addams’ standpoint epistemology, W.E.B. Du Bois’ theory of race consciousness, Horace Kallen’s and Alain LeRoy Locke’s cultural pluralism, and Mary Parker Follett’s account of pluralistic integration.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 89,491

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Ortega’s Pragmatist Perspectivism: On the Problem of Relativism.Marnie Binder - 2019 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 13 (3):384-402.
Pragmatist Epistemologies.Roberto Frega (ed.) - 2011 - Lexington books.
Pragmatic pluralism, multiculturalism, and the new Hispanic.José Medina - 2011 - In Gregory Fernando Pappas (ed.), Pragmatism in the Americas. Fordham University Press.
Models and perspectives on stage: remarks on Giere’s Scientific perspectivism.Matthew J. Brown - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):213-220.
Deleuze and Pragmatism.Simone Bignall, Sean Bowden & Paul Patton (eds.) - 2014 - New York: Routledge.
Pragmatic Pluralism and American Democracy.H. G. Callaway - 2000 - In R. Tapp (ed.), Multiculturalism: Humanist Perspectives. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. pp. 221-247.
Pragmatism and Pluralism.Beth J. Singer - 1992 - The Monist 75 (4):477-491.
Some Sources of Putnam's Pragmatism.Russell B. Goodman - 2008 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 95 (1):125-140.
Toward a New Pragmatist Politics.Robert B. Talisse - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (5):552-571.
Cultural pluralism.Richard J. Bernstein - 2015 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 41 (4-5):347-356.


Added to PP

27 (#500,012)

6 months
6 (#198,879)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Matthew J. Brown
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

References found in this work

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Otto Neurath.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Richard Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.
Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
The structure of empirical knowledge.Laurence BonJour - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

View all 188 references / Add more references