Vailati, Papini, and the Synthetic Drive of Italian Pragmatism

European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 11 (1) (2019)
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According to the standard interpretation, Italian pragmatism is split into two groups. On the one hand is the mathematician Giovanni Vailati, Peano’s former collaborator, and his disciple, the economist Mario Calderoni. On the other hand, there are the two “brats,” Giovanni Papini and Giuseppe Prezzolini, naïve philosophers with eccentric ideas. While Vailati and Calderoni followed Peirce’s mathematical and logical pragmatism, the other two articulated a “magical” pragmatism, a kind of relativist, post-modern version of the original American movement. The paper shows that this narrative is incomplete. During the years 1905-6, while Vailati was living in Florence, Italian pragmatists listed three kinds of pragmatism among themselves. Relying on the third stripe, attributed to Vailati, they found a more Unitarian, theoretical project that united the will to belief and the precision of reasoning. The unity did not last very long because Vailati moved from Florence in 1906. However, the common project from 1905-6 remains the highest peak of their awareness of pragmatism and, possibly, an original way to interpret it.



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Giovanni Maddalena
Università Del Molise

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G. papini and the pragmatist movement in italy.William James - 1906 - Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 3 (13):337-341.

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