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American Classical Essay Essential Interpretive Philosophy Pragmatism Reading

Pragmatism and Classical American Philosophy: Essential Readings and Interpretive Essays4.17 · Rating details ·  23 Ratings  ·  1 Review

Classical American philosophy has both contemporary and historical significance. It provides direct, imaginative, and critical insights into our contemporary global society, its massive and pressing problems, and its possibilities for real improvement. Pragmatism and Classical AmericanPhilosophy, 2/e, provides the resources necessary to understand and act on these insighClassical American philosophy has both contemporary and historical significance. It provides direct, imaginative, and critical insights into our contemporary global society, its massive and pressing problems, and its possibilities for real improvement. Pragmatism and Classical AmericanPhilosophy, 2/e, provides the resources necessary to understand and act on these insights. Revised and greatly expanded in this second edition, it offers a comprehensive account of classical American philosophy and pragmatism, presenting the essential writings of all the major figures of the tradition: Charles S. Peirce, William James, Josiah Royce, George Santayana, John Dewey, and George Herbert Mead. It also incorporates illuminating introductory essays by leading scholars in the field, providing biographical and cultural context as well as original critical and interpretive perspectives.
This new edition adds several new selections by, and about, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jane Addams, Borden Parker Bowne, Alain Locke, and John Herman Randall, Jr. These essays situate pragmatism and classical American philosophy in their wider American philosophical contexts of transcendentalism, feminism and writings by American women, personalism and idealism, African-American thought, and naturalism and realism. The volume also includes up-to-date suggestions for further reading that are useful for both beginning and advanced readers.
Pragmatism and Classical American Philosophy, 2/e, is ideal for courses in American philosophy, pragmatism, American thought and culture, and American intellectual history, and also serves as essential reading for anyone interested in American philosophy.
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Paperback, 720 pages

Published August 1st 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA

John and Ken begin by discussing the history of pragmatism and its unique roots in the American intellectual tradition. Ken discusses how the phrase "American Pragmatism" has a double meaning since both the school of philosophy and the average american seems more interested in getting things done and the result of action rather than abstract theories which do not inspire action. John goes on to describe the original tenet of pragmatism according to Charles Sanders Peirce: think about what the truth of statements means in terms of action, or what the consequences of truth is. Ken discusses William James' view of pragmatism, which roughly equates truth and usefulness--if something is true it is useful, and if it isn't useful, then talking about its truth doesn't make sense. John discusses the difference between James' pragmatism and Peirce's pragmaticism, and the difference between something being true and someone believing something is true.

John and Ken introduce John McDermott, University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University, editor of many William James collections and expert on American Pragmatism. John McDermott begins by trying to define pragmatism as an outlook or sensibility that keeps in mind that nothing is absolute and consequences arise everywhere. Ken tries to unravel this philosophical picture, and John points out that one of pragmatism's key elements is fallibilism--the idea that one can never be absolutely sure of anything and that claims must always be subject to revision.

Ken contrasts this central tenet of pragmatism to past philosophies which present fundamental framework truths that can be known for sure and can then be used to predict later experience. John McDermott discusses the history of pragmatism and how it can be explained as a continuation of Kant. Ken wonders what the difference between empiricism and pragmatism amounts to, and McDermott describes James and Dewey's response to empiricist arguments.

Ken brings up the relationship between truth and reality and whether or not the disconnect between this relationship in pragmatism makes it difficult to adopt. Aren't some things just true? Aren't there some things that are true but not useful? John McDermott and John Perry discuss these problems and callers weigh in on their interpretations of pragmatism, the relationship of absolutes and universals, as well as critical comments about the usefulness of a theory which considers only usefulness.

  • Roving Philosophical Report (Seek to 4:46): Lin Gu investigates the difference between pragmatism in China and the United States, asking Americans to define the pragmatism they are known for worldwide.
  • Sixty-Second Philosopher (Seek to 49:30): Ian Shoales speeds through the origins of pragmatism and its misapprehension throughout American history.

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