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Pragmatism

Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition founded by three American philosophers: Charles Sanders Peirce, William James and John Dewey. Starting from Alexander Bains definition of belief as a rule or habit of action, Peirce argued that the function of inquiry is not to represent reality, but rather to enable us to act more effectively. He was critical of the copy theory of knowledge which had dominated philosophy since the time of Descartes, and especially of the idea of immediate, intuitive self-knowledge. He was also a prophet of the linguistic turn, one of the first philosophers to say that the ability to use signs is essential to thought. Peirces use of Bain was extended by James, whose The Principles of Psychology (1890) broke with the associationism of Locke and Hume. James went on, in Pragmatism (1907) to scandalize philosophers by saying that "The true" is only the expedient in our way of thinking. James and Dewey both wanted to reconcile philosophy with Darwin by making human beings pursuit of the true and the good continuous with the activities of the lower animals - cultural evolution with biological evolution. Dewey criticized the Cartesian notion of the self as a substance which existed prior to language and acculturation, and substituted an account of the self as a product of social practices (an account developed further by George Herbert Mead). Dewey, whose primary interests were in cultural, educational and political reform rather than in specifically philosophical problems (problems which he thought usually needed to be dissolved rather than solved), developed the implications of pragmatism for ethics and social philosophy. His ideas were central to American intellectual life throughout the first half of the twentieth century. All three of the founding pragmatists combined a naturalistic, Darwinian view of human beings with a deep distrust of the problems which philosophy had inherited from Descartes, Hume and Kant. They hoped to save philosophy from metaphysical idealism, but also to save moral and religious ideals from empiricist or positivist scepticism. Their naturalism has been combined with an anti-foundationalist, holist account of meaning by Willard van Orman Quine, Hilary Putnam and Donald Davidson - philosophers of language who are often seen as belonging to the pragmatist tradition. That tradition also has affinities with the work of Thomas Kuhn and the later work of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

1 Classical pragmatism
Charles Sanders Peirce, William James and John Dewey - often referred to as the three classical pragmatists had very different philosophical concerns. Except for their shared opposition to the correspondence theory of truth, and to copy theories of knowledge, their doctrines do not overlap extensively (see Truth, pragmatic theory of). Although each knew and respected the other two, they did not think of themselves as belonging to an organized, disciplined philosophical movement. Peirce thought of himself as a disciple of Kant, improving on Kants doctrine of categories and his conception of logic. A practising mathematician and laboratory scientist, he was more interested in these areas of culture than were James or Dewey. James took neither Kant nor Hegel very seriously, but was far more interested in religion than either Peirce or Dewey. Dewey, deeply influenced by Hegel, was fiercely anti-Kantian. Education and politics, rather than science or religion, were at the centre of his thought. Peirce was a brilliant, cryptic and prolific polymath, whose writings are very difficult to piece together into a coherent system. He is now best known as a pioneer in the theory of signs, and for work in logic and semantics contemporaneous with, and partially paralleling, that of Frege. Peirces account of inquiry as a matter of practical problem-solving was complemented by his criticisms of the Cartesian (and empiricist) idea of immediate knowledge, and of the project of building knowledge on self-evident foundations (of either a rationalist or empiricist kind). Peirce protested against James appropriation of his ideas, for complex reasons to do with his obscure and idiosyncratic doctrine of Scotistic realism - the reality of universals, considered as potentialities or dispositions. Peirce was more sympathetic to metaphysical idealism than James, and found James version of pragmatism simplistic and reductionist. James himself, however, thought of pragmatism as a way of avoiding reductionism of all kinds, and as a counsel of tolerance. Particularly in his famous essay The Will to Believe (1896), he attempted to reconcile science and religion by viewing both as instruments useful for distinct, non-conflicting purposes.

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Although he viewed many metaphysical and theological disputes as, at best, exhibitions of the diversity of human temperament, James hoped to construct an alternative to the anti-religious, science-worshipping positivism of his day. He approvingly cited Giovanni Papinis description of pragmatism as like a corridor in a hotel. Innumerable chambers open out of it. In one you may find a man writing an atheistic volume; in the next someone on his knees praying for faith; in a third a chemist investigating a bodys properties they all own the corridor, and all must pass through it. His point was that attention to the implications of beliefs for practice offered the only way to communicate across divisions between temperaments, academic disciplines and philosophical schools. Dewey, in his early period, tried to bring Hegel together with evangelical Christianity. Although references to Christianity almost disappear from his writings around 1900, in a 1903 essay on Emerson he still looked forward to the development of a philosophy which religion has no call to chide, and which knows its friendship with science and with art. The anti-positivist strain in classical pragmatism was at least as strong as its anti-metaphysical strain, and so James and Dewey found themselves attacked simultaneously from the empiricist left and from the idealist right - by Bertrand Russell as well as by F.H. Bradley. Both critics thought of the pragmatists as fuzzy and jejune thinkers. This sort of criticism was repeated later in the century by the disciples of Carnap, most of whom dismissed the classical pragmatists as lacking in precision and argumentative rigour. James wrote a few remarkable essays on ethics - notably The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life (1891), in which, echoing Mills Utilitarianism, he says that every desire and need has a prima facie right to be fulfilled, and that only some competing desire or need can provide a reason to leave it unsatisfied. But neither James nor Peirce attempted any systematic discussion of moral or political philosophy. Dewey, however, wrote extensively in this area throughout his life - from Outlines of a Critical Theory of Ethics (1891) to Human Nature and Conduct (1922) and Theory of Valuation (1939). Dewey urged that we make no sharp distinction between moral deliberation and proposals for change in sociopolitical institutions, or in education (the last being a topic on which he wrote extensively, in books which had considerable impact on educational practice in many countries). He saw changes in individual attitudes, in public policies and in strategies of acculturation as three interlinked aspects of the gradual development of freer and more democratic communities, and of the better sort of human being who would develop within such communities. All of Deweys books are permeated by the typically nineteenth-century conviction that human history is the story of expanding human freedom and by the hope of substituting a less professionalized, more politically-oriented conception of the philosophers task for the Platonic conception of the philosopher as spectator of time and eternity. In Reconstruction in Philosophy (1920) he wrote that under disguise of dealing with ultimate reality, philosophy has been occupied with the precious values embedded in social traditions . has sprung from a clash of social ends and from a conflict of inherited institutions with incompatible contemporary tendencies. For him, the task of future philosophy was not to achieve new solutions to traditional problems, but to clarify mens ideas as to the social and moral strifes of their own day. This conception of philosophy, which developed out of Hegels and resembled Marxs (see Hegel,G.W.F.; Marx, K.), isolated Dewey (particularly after the rise of analytic philosophy) from colleagues who thought of their discipline as the study of narrower and more precise questions questions that had remained substantially unchanged throughout human history.

2 Pragmatism after the linguistic turn


Peirce was one of the first philosophers to emphasize the importance of signs. The word or the sign which man uses is the man himself, he wrote, my language is the sum total of myself; for the man is the thought. But, with the exception of C.I. Lewis and Charles Morris, philosophers did not take Peirces work on signs very seriously. Indeed, for decades Peirce remained largely unread: he had never published a philosophical book, and most of his articles were collected and republished only in the 1930s. By that time philosophy in the English-speaking world was already in the process of being transformed by admirers of Frege, notably Carnap and Russell. These philosophers accomplished what Gustav Bergmann was to baptize the linguistic turn in philosophy. They thought that it would be more fruitful, more likely to yield clear and convincing results, if philosophers were to discuss the structure of language rather than, as Locke and Kant had, the structure of the mind or of experience. The early analytic philosophers, however, accompanied this turn
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with a revival of the traditional empiricist idea that sense-perception provides foundations for empirical knowledge - an idea which, at the beginning of the century, the idealists and the classical pragmatists had united in rejecting. These philosophers also insisted on a strict distinction between conceptual questions (the analogue of Kants transcendental questions), now reinterpreted as questions about the meaning of linguistic expressions, and empirical questions of fact. It was not until that distinction was questioned by Willard van Orman Quine in his groundbreaking Two Dogmas of Empiricism (1951) that pragmatism was able once again to obtain a hearing (see Quine, W.V. 8). James and Dewey had been viewed during the heyday of logical positivism as having prefigured the logical positivists verifiability criterion of empirical meaningfulness, but as unfortunately lacking the powerful analytic tools which the new logic had made available. However, Quines suggestion that empirical observation of linguistic behaviour could not detect a difference between necessary, analytic truths and contingent, synthetic, yet unquestioned truths helped revive the pragmatists combination of holism, anti-foundationalism and naturalism. That suggestion was reinforced by other publications which were roughly simultaneous with Quines. In Philosophical Investigations (1953), Ludwig Wittgenstein mocked the idea that logic is both something sublime and the essence of philosophy, an idea which the younger Wittgenstein had shared with Russell (see Wittgenstein, L. 8). That book also reinvigorated the pragmatists claim that most philosophical problems should be dissolved rather than solved. Wilfrid Sellars Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind (1953) renewed both Peirces assault on the idea of immediate experience and his claim that the intentionality of the mental is derived from the intentionality of the linguistic, rather than conversely (see Sellars, W.). In America, this article had the same devastating effect on the notion of sense-datum, and thus on the empiricist roots of logical positivism, that J.L. Austins work was simultaneously having in Britain (see Austin, J.L.). The work of Sellars and Austin conspired to deprive empiricism of the prestige which it had traditionally enjoyed in the Anglophone philosophical world. Somewhat later, Thomas Kuhns The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) broke the grip of the positivist notion that natural science, because it offered paradigmatically rational methods and procedures, should be imitated by the rest of culture (see Kuhn, T.S.). The effect of these various anti-empiricist and anti-positivist writings was to make many post-positivistic analytic philosophers sympathetic to Deweys suspicions of the Cartesian-Kantian problematic of modern philosophy. Hilary Putnam, the best-known contemporary philosopher to identify himself as a pragmatist, has written appreciatively about all three classical pragmatists, praising their refusal to distinguish the world as it is in itself from the world as it appears in the light of human needs and interests. On Putnams account, the heart of pragmatismwas the insistence on the agent point of view. If we find that we must take a certain point of view, use a certain conceptual system", when we are engaged in practical activitythen we must not simultaneously advance the claim that it is not really the way things are in themselves (1987). Putnam holds that our moral judgments are no more and no less objective than our scientific theories, and no more and no less rationally adopted. He agrees with Dewey that the positivists attempt to separate fact from value is as hopeless as their pre-Quinean attempt to separate fact from language. Putnam has also come to the defence of the most notorious and controversial of the classical pragmatists doctrines: the so-called pragmatist theory of truth. Peirce said the opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real. Putnam has revived this idea, arguing that even if we cannot follow Peirce in defining true as idealized rational assertibility, the latter notion is, as a regulative ideal, inseparable from an understanding of the concept of truth. He has criticized the correspondence theory of truth by arguing that any such correspondence of a belief to reality can only be to reality under a particular description, and that no such description is ontologically or epistemologically privileged. Putnam follows Nelson Goodman in saying that there is no one Way the World Is.

3 Pragmatism as anti-representationalism
Putnam is chary, however, of endorsing James claim that "The true"is only the expedient in the way of our thinking, as "the right" is only the expedient in our way of behaving. That formulation was attacked by James contemporaries as at worst an invitation to self-deception, and at best a confusion of truth with justifiability. Dewey tried to avoid the controversy by ceasing to use the word truth, and speaking instead of warranted
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assertibility. But this did not shield him from charges of confusion and inconsistency. Russell, reviewing Dewey, said that there is a profound instinct in me which is repelled by [Deweys] instrumentalism: the instinct of contemplation, and of escape from ones own personality. He and many other critics complained that pragmatism is unable to take account of the eternity and absoluteness of truth - of the fact that a sentence that contains no demonstratives is, if true, true in utter independence of changes in human needs or purposes. Putnams treatment of truth is designed to avoid the appearance of relativism, and to escape such strictures as Russells. Despite its paradoxical air and its apparent relativism, however, James claim does bring out pragmatisms strongest point: its refusal to countenance a discontinuity between human abilities and those of other animals. Pragmatists are committed to taking Darwin seriously. They grant that human beings are unique in the animal kingdom in having language, but they urge that language be understood as a tool rather than as a picture. A species gradual development of language is as readily explicable in Darwinian terms as its gradual development of spears or pots, but it is harder to explain how a species could have acquired the ability to represent the universe - especially the universe as it really is (as opposed to how it is usefully described, relative to the particular needs of that species). In a weak sense of represent, of course, an earthworm or a thermostat can be said to contain representations of the environment, since there are internal arrangements in both which are responsible for the reactions of each to certain stimuli. But it makes little sense to ask whether those representations are accurate. Philosophers who take epistemological scepticism seriously (as pragmatists do not) have employed a stronger sense of representation, one in which it does make sense to ask whether the way in which it best suits human purposes to describe the universe is an accurate representation of the universe as it is in itself (see Scepticism). The idea that knowledge is accurate representation and the idea that reality has an intrinsic nature are inseparable, and pragmatists reject both. In rejecting these ideas pragmatists are rejecting the problematic of realism and antirealism - the question of whether there is or is not a matter of fact about, for example, mathematics or ethics, whether beliefs in these areas are attempts to correspond to reality. Whatever may be said about truth, pragmatists insist, we cannot make sense of the notion of correspondence, nor of that of accurate representation of the way things are in themselves (see Truth, correspondence theory of). Donald Davidson is the philosopher of language whose work is most reminiscent of the classical pragmatists attempts to be faithful to Darwin. Davidson has said that Beliefs are true or false, but they represent nothing. It is good to be rid of representations, and with them the correspondence theory of truth, for it is thinking that there are representations that engenders thoughts of relativism (1989). He has argued that we need to get rid of what he calls the third dogma of empiricism, the distinction between the mind or language as organizing scheme, and something else (for example, the sensible manifold, the world) as organized content - the Kantian version of the dualism of subject and object (1974). In A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs (1986), an attempt to radicalize and extend Quines naturalistic approach to the study of linguistic behaviour, he has suggested that we erase the boundary between knowing a language and knowing our way about in the world generally, and that there is no such thing as a language, not if a language is anything like what many philosophers and linguists have supposed. Davidson does not wish to be called a pragmatist, however, since he equates pragmatism with unfeasible attempts to reduce truth to some form of assertibility, thereby making it an epistemic concept, rather than a merely semantic one. Unlike Peirce and Putnam, Davidson thinks that we should treat true as a primitive term, and should neither attempt to revitalize the correspondence theory of truth nor replace it with a better theory of truth. Davidsons strategy is summed up in his recommendation that we not say that truth is correspondence, coherence, warranted assertibility, ideally justified assertibility, what is accepted in the conversation of the right people, what science will end up maintaining, what explains the convergence on single theories in science, or the success of our ordinary beliefs (1990). We should, he says in the same article, not offer an analysis of the meaning of true, but rather confine ourselves to describing the ultimate source of both objectivity and communication, namely, the triangle that, by relating speaker, interpreter and the world determines the contents of thought and speech. The trouble with the correspondence theory, on Davidsons view, is that it cuts out the interpreter side of the triangle, and treats truth as relation of matching between speaker and world. If one follows Davidsons advice, one can give up the pragmatist theory of truth without giving up the Darwinian naturalism which that theory was a paradoxical-sounding attempt to articulate. Such naturalism, however, entails
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an abandonment of much of the problematic of contemporary philosophy. If truth is never the name of a relation (corresponding, representing, getting right, fitting) which holds between sentences and non-sentences, there is no point in asking whether this relation holds for some true sentences (for example, perceptual reports or scientific theories) and not for others (for example, sentences about numbers or values). On this latter point, Putnam and Davidson are in agreement (see Truth, correspondence theory of). Michael Dummett has suggested, plausibly, that the problematic of realism and antirealism is at the heart of the Western philosophical tradition (see Realism and antirealism). If he is right, and if Davidson is right in thinking that we should now abandon that problematic, then James and Deweys suggestions about how to end the traditional and seemingly sterile quarrels between materialists and idealists, positivists and metaphysicians, theists and atheists, science-worshippers and poetry-worshippers look more promising. The heart of both mens pragmatism was not any particular doctrine about the nature of truth, of knowledge, or of value, but rather the hope that philosophy could renew itself by moving out from under traditional dualisms (subject-object, mind-world, theory-practice, morality-prudence) which recent science and recent social changes had, they believed, rendered obsolete. The classical pragmatists saw themselves as responding to Darwin in the same way as the great philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had responded to Galileo and Newton. Philosophers such as Descartes, Locke and Kant attempted to accommodate old, precious, moral and spiritual aspirations to new scientific developments. James and Dewey thought that these attempts had been made obsolete by Darwins new account of the origin of our species, and that fresh attempts were needed. If one reads Quines and Davidsons naturalization of semantics as a continuation of philosophys attempt to come to terms with Darwin, one can also read these two philosophers as continuing the larger enterprise which James and Dewey inaugurated.

4 Pragmatism and humanitys self-image


By stepping back from its relation to traditional empiricism on the one hand and to the linguistic turn on the other, one can put pragmatism in a larger context. Much twentieth-century philosophy has been devoted to a criticism of the view, shared by Plato and Aristotle, that a capacity to know things as they really are is central to being human. Philosophers influenced by Nietzsche - notably Heidegger, Sartre and Derrida - have argued against the idea that cognition is the distinctively human capacity. Heideggers treatment of inquiry as a species of coping, in his discussion of Vorhandenheit in Being and Time (1927), has much in common with Deweys and Kuhns attempts to see scientific progress as problem-solving - as the overcoming of obstacles to the satisfaction of human needs, rather than as convergence towards a special, specifically cognitive, relation to reality. Both Dewey and Heidegger saw the Greek quest for certainty as debilitating. Neither granted the traditional assumption that, in addition to all the other needs human beings have, there is a need to know the truth (see Heidegger, M.). Heideggers criticism of what he called onto-theology - Western philosophy viewed as a series of attempts to find solace and support in the non-temporal - has much in common with Deweys criticism of what he called intellectualism. Both of these men saw the tradition which begins with Plato as a self-deceptive attempt to give the eternal priority over the temporal. So did Bergson and Whitehead, the founders of the tradition known as process philosophy, a tradition to which James (especially in his Essays in Radical Empiricism) made important contributions (see Process philosophy). This downgrading of the eternal is characteristic of a great deal of twentieth-century philosophy. It is found in James criticisms of Bradley, in Putnams criticism of Bernard Williams claim that we can use an absolute conception of the world as a regulative ideal of inquiry, in Heideggers criticism of Husserl, and in Derridas criticism of Heidegger. Downgrading eternity means downgrading both the idea of truth as eternal and the assumption that knowledge of eternal truth is the distinctively human activity. From a Davidsonian, as from a Deweyan, point of view, the only point of the doctrine that truth is eternal is to contrast truth with justification (which is obviously neither eternal nor absolute, because it is relative to the composition of the audience to which justification is offered, and thus to historical circumstance). But that contrast can be formulated without treating truth as the name of a goal to be reached, or of an object to be admired. Davidsons treatment of truth forbids us to think of inquiry as subject to a norm of acquiring true beliefs, in addition to the norm of providing adequate justification. There is no way to seek for truth apart from seeking for justification. Justification gets better as the community to which justification is offered becomes more sophisticated and complex, more aware of possible sources of evidence and more capable of
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dreaming up imaginative new hypotheses and proposals. So pragmatists place the capacity to create complex and imaginative communities at the centre of their image of humanity, superseding the ability to know. Dewey and Putnam agree that the aim of inquiry is what Putnam calls human flourishing - the kind of human life which is possible in free, democratic, tolerant, egalitarian societies. These are the societies in which the arts and the sciences proliferate and progress, and within which idiosyncrasy is tolerated. The obvious difference between James, Dewey and Putnam on the one hand and Nietzsche, Heidegger and Foucault on the other - between the two most prominent sections of the twentieth-century revolt against the Greek self-image of humanity - is that these three Europeans do not share the Americans enthusiasm for, and optimism about, liberal-democratic society. Nietzsches, and the early Heideggers, insistence on the resolute authenticity of the lonely individual, and their exaltation of will as opposed to intellect, are equally foreign to Dewey and to Putnam (though they have some echoes in certain passages of James). Rather than replace intellect by will, in the manner of Schopenhauer, pragmatists tend to replace knowledge by love, in the manner of Kierkegaards contrast between Socrates and Christ (see Kierkegaard, S.A.). For Dewey, the pragmatist who speculated most daringly, and developed the greatest historical self-consciousness, the glory of human beings is their ability to become citizens of a liberal-democratic society, of a community which constantly strives to see beyond its own limits - both with an eye to the inclusion of presently excluded or marginalized human beings and with respect to innovative intellectual and artistic initiatives. This is the capacity which most clearly sets us apart from other animals. It presupposes, of course, the capacity to use language, but for Dewey the point of having language, and therefore thought, was not to penetrate through the appearances to the true nature of reality, but rather to permit the social construction of new realities. For him, language was not a medium of representation, but a way of coordinating human activities so as to enlarge the range of human possibilities. These processes of coordination and enlargement, which make up cultural evolution, do not have a destined terminus called the Good or the True, any more than biological evolution has a destined terminus called The Ideal Life-Form. Deweys imagery is always of proliferating novelty, rather than of convergence. The naturalist strain in pragmatism, the attempt to come to terms with Darwin, is thus from a Deweyan point of view important mainly as a further strategy for shifting philosophers attention from the problems of metaphysics and epistemology to the needs of democratic politics. Dewey once said that he agreed with Plato that politics was the science of the whole, a remark which summarized the following train of reasoning. Finding out what there is is a matter of finding out what descriptions of things will best fulfil our needs. Finding out what needs we should fulfil is a task for communal reflection about what human beings might become. Such cooperative inquiry into the possibilities of self-transcendence is best accomplished within a democratic society. So philosophers should stop asking about the nature of reality or of knowledge, and instead try to strengthen and improve the institutions of such societies by clarifying mens ideas as to the social and moral strifes of their own day. See also: Darwin, C.; Doubt; Empiricism; Logical positivism; Pragmatism in ethics; Scientific realism and antirealism RICHARD RORTY

References and further reading


Ayer, A.J. (1968) The Origins of Pragmatism: Studies in the Philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce and William James, San Francisco, CA: Freeman, Cooper & Co.(A somewhat unsympathetic examination, by a disciple of Carnap, of selected aspects of classical pragmatism.) Brandom, R. (1994) Making It Explicit: Reasoning, Representing and Discursive Commitment, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994.(Chapter 1 sketches the similarities between the pragmatist view of meaning and Wittgensteins. Chapter 5 contains a strikingly original reinterpretation of the point of pragmatist theories of truth, and the formulation of a new theory along similar lines.) Davidson, D. (1986) A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs in E. LePore (ed.) Truth and Interpretation: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson, Oxford: Blackwell, 433-46.(Attacks the idea that a language is a set of conventions, or something possessing an isolable structure. See the responses to this essay by Michael Dummett and Ian Hacking, in the same volume.) Davidson, D. (1974) On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme, repr. in Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984.(Attacks the third, and perhaps last, dogma of empiricism: the distinction between scheme and content.)
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Davidson, D. (1989) The Myth of the Subjective in M. Krausz (ed.) Relativism: Interpretation and Confrontation, Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 159-72.(A criticism of the subject-object analysis of knowledge.) Davidson, D. (1990) The Structure and Content of Truth, Journal of Philosophy 87: 279-28.(Argues that triangulation between speaker, audience and world is required for intentionality.) Dewey, J. (1882-1953) The Early Works, The Middle Works, The Later Works, Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969-90.(Deweys view of the nature and function of philosophy is best summarized in Reconstruction in Philosophy (1920; vol. 12 of The Middle Works), his ethical views are most fully laid out in Human Nature and Conduct (1922; vol. 14 of The Middle Works) and his understanding of democracy in The Public and Its Problems (1927; vol. 2 of The Later Works).) Dewey, J. (1903) Emerson - the Philosopher of Democracy, The Middle Works, vol. 3, 184-92.(This essay of 1909 describes Emerson as the first and as yet almost the only Christian of the Intellect.) Diggins, J.P. (1994) The Promise of Pragmatism: Modernism and the Crisis of Knowledge and Authority, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.(A survey of uses of, and reactions to, the classical pragmatists thought by twentieth-century social and cultural critics in the US.) James, W. (1890) The Principles of Psychology, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981.(James said that this thousand-page treatise, originally published in 1890, rejects both the associationist and the spiritualist theories [of mental functioning].) James, W. (1897) The Will to Believe and Other Essays In Popular Philosophy, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979.(The title essay (1896) defends the right to be religious in despite of science, and is James best-known and most controversial publication. This volume also includes The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life, which argues for the impossibility of an abstract system of ethics.) James, W. (1907, 1909) Pragmatism and The Meaning of Truth, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979; reprint of two books in one volume.(Pragmatism (1907) is the classic statement of James overall philosophical outlook. The essays collected in The Meaning of Truth (1909) - of which Humanism and Truth and The Pragmatist Theory of Truth and its Misunderstanders are the most incisive - defend his pragmatic theory of truth against its critics.) James, W. (1912) Essays in Radical Empiricism, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976.(Defends a kind of neutral monism, especially in the essays Does "Consciousness" Exist? and A World of Pure Experience.) Kuhn, T.S. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.(Initiated the reaction against the attempt to isolate a scientific method which differentiated science from other areas of culture.) Lewis, C.I. (1923) A Pragmatic Conception of the A Priori, Journal of Philosophy 20: 169-77.(A very influential article, which attempted to blend classical pragmatism with Kant. Lewis acted as intermediary between classical pragmatism and logical empiricism.) Murphy, J.P. (1990) Pragmatism: From Peirce to Davidson, Boulder, CO: Westview Press.(An introductory textbook. Murphy sees Quine and Davidson as continuing the pragmatist tradition. Contains a substantial bibliography.) Okrent, M. (1988) Heideggers Pragmatism, Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell University Press.(Part One of this book discusses sections 12-24 of Being and Time, in which Heideggers anti-Cartesian arguments parallel those of the classical pragmatists.) Quine, W.V. (1951) Two Dogmas of Empiricism in From a Logical Point of View, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953.(A groundbreaking essay which initiated the post-positivistic period of analytic philosophy.) Peirce, C.S. (1934) Pragmatism and Pragmaticism, vol. 5 of Collected Papers, ed. C. Hartshorne and P. Weiss, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.(See especially the anti-Cartesian polemic in Questions Concerning Certain Faculties Claimed for Man (1868) and Some Consequences of Four Incapacities (1868), and also the first explicit formulation of Peirces pragmatism in How to Make our Ideas Clear (l878). A new edition of Peirces papers is now in preparation.) Putnam, H. (1981) Reason, Truth and History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.(Chapter 8, The impact of science on modern conceptions of rationality, is an important statement of pragmatisms criticisms of logical empiricism.) Putnam, H. (1987) The Many Faces of Pragmatism, La Salle, IL: Open Court, 83.(Collects essays in which Putnam offers pragmatist solutions of various problems.) Putnam, H. (1990) Realism with a Human Face, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (A collection of
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essays, replying to critics of pragmatism, and relating Putnams own work to James, Deweys, and Goodmans.) Putnam, H. (1992) Renewing Philosophy, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Chapter 5, Bernard Williams and the absolute conception of the world criticizes the notion of a description of reality which abstracts from human needs and interests.) Rorty, R. (1991) Objectivity, Relativism and Truth, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.(Part II of this book tries to fit Davidsons work into the pragmatist tradition by emphasizing his anti-representationalism.) Saatkamp, H.J., Jr (ed.) (1995) Rorty and the Pragmatists, Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.(Includes five essays arguing that Rorty misreads and distorts both the classical pragmatists and Davidson, and Rortys replies.) Scheffler, I. (1974) Four Pragmatists: A Critical Introduction to Peirce, James, Mead and Dewey, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.(Combines sympathetic presentation with detailed criticism.) Sellars, W. (1953) Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind, in Science, Perception and Reality, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1956.(Argues against the Myth of the Given and for the claim that all awareness is a linguistic affair.) Smith, J.E. (1984) Purpose and Thought: The Meaning of Pragmatism, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. (Emphasizes the classical pragmatists anti-atomistic conceptions of the nature of experience.) Thayer, H.S. (1968) Meaning and Action: A Critical History of Pragmatism, Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill.(The most comprehensive history, containing material on C.I. Lewis, F.C.S. Schiller, G.H. Mead, and others, as well as on Peirce, James and Dewey.) West, C. (1989) The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism, Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.(Puts pragmatism in the context of American intellectual life, with special reference to Emerson and to leftist politics.) White, M.G. (1954) Towards Reunion in Philosophy, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.(Treats pragmatism as a corrective to logical positivism.) Wittgenstein, L. (1953) Philosophical Investigations, Oxford: Blackwell.(Argues for a therapeutic approach to traditional philosophical problems, and against the Cartesian notion of immediate self-awareness.)

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Version 1.0, London and New York: Routledge (1998)