- Pragmatism, Democracy, and the Plural Self
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 52, Number 4, Winter 2016
- pp. 633-651
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- Additional Information
This article offers a pragmatist conception of multiplicitous subjectivity that captures the best features of Richard Rorty’s private ironist and John Dewey’s social self while rejecting anti-democratic implications I identify in each. On the one hand, Rorty rightly sees that having a plural self is crucial for self-creation but fails to see the connection between self-creation and social justice. On the other hand, Dewey rightly sees the interrelationship between personal and social growth but fails to appreciate the danger implicit in his emphasis on integration of differences (both within the self and in the community). To see how we can achieve a compelling synthesis of these two views, I turn to Gloria Anzaldúa’s theory of “mestiza consciousness,” which points us toward a model of democratic citizenship that brings together Rorty’s tolerance for multiplicity and ambivalence with Dewey’s relational understanding of personal development and social progress.