How (not) to write the history of pragmatist philosophy of science?

Perspectives on Science 16 (1):26-69 (2008)
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Abstract

This survey article discusses the pragmatist tradition in twentieth century philosophy of science. Pragmatism, originating with Charles Peirce's writings on the pragmatic maxim in the 1870s, is a background both for scientific realism and, via the views of William James and John Dewey, for the relativist and/or constructivist forms of neopragmatism that have often been seen as challenging the very ideas of scientific rationality and objectivity. The paper shows how the issue of realism arises in pragmatist philosophy of science and how some pragmatists, classical and modern, have attempted to deal with it. Various dimensions of the realism dispute are thus discussed, especially realism as contrasted to instrumentalism and realism as contrasted to relativism/constructivism. It is argued that the pragmatist tradition cannot avoid these tensions but is largely constituted by them.

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Sami Pihlström
University of Helsinki

Citations of this work

John Dewey’s Logic of Science.Matthew J. Brown - 2012 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 2 (2):258-306.
John Dewey: Was the Inventor of Instrumentalism Himself an Instrumentalist?Céline Henne - 2023 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 13 (1):120-150.

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References found in this work

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Ian Hacking.
Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Ontological relativity and other essays.Willard Van Orman Quine (ed.) - 1969 - New York: Columbia University Press.
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Richard Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.

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