Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

The teaching, writings, and personal support of many close colleagues and former colleagues have had immense impact on my thought, an impact likely beyond my ability to recognize and surely beyond my ability to acknowledge adequately: Vincent Colapietro, John Lachs, Richard A. Lee Jr., John Lysaker, Jose...

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Introduction: Expressivism and Pragmatism

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pp. 1-8

There are many philosophies—many views about the nature of reality, truth, beauty, goodness, justice, and the meaning of life. Sometimes they are set forth in the specialized jargon of academic scholars and supposed systems of philosophy professors, and sometimes—far more often—they are expressed in the beliefs...

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1. Chance Vistas and Sincerity in the Cosmic Labyrinth

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pp. 9-30

Differences and multiplicities and variations among individual lives and whole cultures are large and remarkable.¹ People employ multiple systems of signs and symbols, speak or fail to speak different languages, and both find and build for themselves and others different narratives. They inhabit one or a few of a great...

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2. Philosophies as Fashions

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pp. 31-60

A few years ago, while delivering an address on the continuing and contemporary importance of John Dewey’s political philosophy, I displayed lots of photographs related to global terrorism. During the discussion period after the address, a philosophy professor in the audience shook his head and said the whole...

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3. Does Philosophy Progress?: Criticism without Critique

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pp. 61-80

On the assumption that most travelers like to know a bit about their mode of transportation and their destination before their arrival, let me begin by signaling some of the background and temperament that guide my thinking. I do this by reference to two passages by William Carlos Williams and two by John Dewey...

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4. Convergence and Difference: Immanent Pluralism

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pp. 81-98

As a working label for one of the many fashions of philosophy, pragmatism is a class name for several major commitments. In the epistemology industry, these commitments include the following four:
1) Pragmatism manifests an empirical attitude focused on practice and consequences rather than theory and first...

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5. It’s All Relative: Beyond Absolutism and Nihilism

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pp. 99-116

If, having read Hume or just having managed to make a few successful inductive inferences on our own, we come to believe that the future will be a lot like the past, then the future will include a mixture of good and bad deeds, remarkable lives of both kindness and atrocity, moments seized and opportunities...

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6. Expressions of Nature: Refashioning the Hudson River School

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pp. 117-150

In 1819, traveling with the art patron Daniel Wadsworth (who would found the Wadsworth Atheneum twenty-five years later), Benjamin Silliman, the Yale College geologist and travel writer, observed, “National character often receives its peculiar cast from natural scenery.”¹ Nature, he explained, significantly fashions...

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7. Old Ideals Crumble: War and the Limits of Philosophy

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pp. 151-170

To understand philosophies as fashions is to understand different philosophies as different fashions. Drawing on the writings of George Santayana and William James and many others, I have stressed that these differences need not be construed as disagreements and that persons with one philosophy need not conclude...

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8. Democracy as Public Experiment: Beyond Mission Accomplished and Mission Impossible

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pp. 171-188

In 1926 at Ohio’s Kenyon College, American philosopher John Dewey delivered a series of invited lectures, revised and published the following year as The Public and Its Problems, on the topics of government, public life, and democracy. In these lectures, Dewey, having digested the criticisms about war and intellectuals...

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9. A Terrible Love of Hope: Toward Peace Before Death

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pp. 189-206

“All nations want peace,” Admiral Sir John Fisher said, “but they want a peace that suits them.” Most people, including maybe you and me, and most nations—perhaps all nations, and surely the United States of America—are not pacifists. It is not simply that they sometimes or even most of the time fail in practice to live...

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10. Absurd Pragmatism

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pp. 207-222

Philosophers from Socrates to William James and Albert Camus and many, many others have explicitly addressed this question, a question that sounds what James called “the profounder bass note of life” on a register beneath the “buzzing and jigging and vibration of small interests and excitements that form the tissue...

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11. The Spring Collection: Intermedia Moralia; or, a Romance of Our Incoherence

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pp. 223-238

In the preceding chapters, I have set forth an expressivist view of philosophy—a genealogical view of philosophies as plural fashions and personal visions from different vistas—and I have evoked and enacted an expressivist pragmatism in metaphilosophy (chapters 1 and 2), epistemology (chapters 3 and 4), ethics...

Notes

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pp. 239-252

Index

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pp. 253-257