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Pragmatic Turn in Philosophy, The

Contemporary Engagements between Analytic and Continental Thought

William Egginton, Mike Sandbothe

Publication Year: 2004

The Pragmatic Turn in Philosophy explores how the various discursive strategies of old and new pragmatisms are related, and what their pertinence is to the relationship between pragmatism and philosophy as a whole. The contributors bridge the divide between analytic and continental philosophy through a transcontinental desire to work on common problems in a common philosophical language. Irrespective of which side of the divide one stands on, pragmatic philosophy has gained ascendancy over the traditional concerns of a representationalist epistemology that has determined much of the intellectual and cultural life of modernity. This book details how contemporary philosophy will emerge from this recognition and that, in fact, this emergence is already underway.

Published by: State University of New York Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1-10

In recent years the classical authors of Anglo-Saxon pragmatism have garnered a renewed importance in international philosophical circles. In the aftermath of the linguistic turn, philosophers such as Charles S. Peirce, William James, George H. Mead, Ferdinand C. S. Schiller, and John Dewey are being reread alongside, for example, recent postmodern and deconstructivist thought as alternatives to a traditional orientation toward the concerns of a representationalist epistemology...

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1. The Insistence on Futurity: Pragmatism’s Temporal Structure

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pp. 11-30

In his lectures of 1906, Pragmatism, A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking,William James announced that Pragmatism, “from looking backwards upon principles [. . .] shifts the emphasis and looks forward [. . .] The really vital question for us all is, What is this world going to be?”1 This shift in perspective is the topic of this essay, in which I will investigate James’s insistence on futurity, his emphasis on action and on its horizon: hope, and his accompanying strategy of de-dramatizing...

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2. Philosophy as a Reconstructive Activity: William James on Moral Philosophy

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pp. 31-46

In his “Introduction: Reconstruction as Seen Twenty-Five Years Later” to the second edition of Reconstruction in Philosophy,2 John Dewey wrote,Today Reconstruction of Philosophy is a more suitable title than Reconstruction in Philosophy. For the intervening events have sharply defined, have brought to a head, the basic postulate of the text: namely that the distinctive office, problems and subject matter of philosophy grow out of the stresses...

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3. Pragmatic Aspects of Hegel’s Thought

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pp. 47-66

While the analytical philosophical tradition since the turn of the century has generally considered Hegel’s thought to be meaningless and has only regarded selected aspects as interesting for larger connections, it appears that this situation is currently changing. An increase of recent publications that engage Hegel’s philosophy in problem-oriented approaches can be noted.1 Questions regarding future directions focus...

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4. The Pragmatic Twist of the Linguistic Turn1

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pp. 67-92

Modern academic philosophy currently finds itself in a transitional period marked by the increase in alternative, pragmatic approaches to philosophy.2 Those approaches have come to stand alongside the long-dominating theoreticist conception of academic Philosophy. In the theoreticist approach the central question is the conditions under which human knowledge is possible...

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5. The Debate about Truth: Pragmatism without Regulative Ideas

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pp. 93-114

The classical definition of truth that has largely determined the understanding of the concept in the history of European philosophy comes, as is well known, from Aristotle. Aristotle says: “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.”2 This formulation of Aristotle’s has been understood, to a large extent...

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6. The Viewpoint of No One in Particular

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pp. 115-130

My title is drawn from the little book (Space, Time and Gravitation) written in 1920 by the physicist Arthur Eddington.2 I am grateful to Thomas Ryckman, who has been working on Eddington, for bringing him and his delightful book to my attention. I hope that Eddington’s “point of view of no-one in particular” may call to mind...

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7. A Pragmatist View of Contemporary Analytic Philosophy

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pp. 131-144

This paper has two parts. In the first I discuss the views of my favorite philosopher of science, Arthur Fine. Fine has become famous for his defense of a thesis whose discussion seems to me central to contemporary philosophy—namely, that we should be neither realists nor antirealists, that the entire realism-antirealism issue should be set aside. On this point he agrees with my favorite philosophers of language, Donald Davidson and Robert Brandom...

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8. What Knowledge? What Hope? What New Pragmatism?

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pp. 145-162

Philosophy and Social Hope offers a restatement of Richard Rorty’s themes since Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature twenty years earlier. Longstanding antiepistemological, antimetaphysical, polemically metaphilosophical themes are freshly formulated and combined...

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9. Richard Rorty: Philosophy beyond Argument and Truth?

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pp. 163-186

Richard Rorty’s position within American philosophy is paradoxical.* Once he bore all the hopes of analytic philosophy,1 but ever since his Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature of 1979,2 in which he criticized this school of thought, he has been practically ignored by most analytic philosophers...

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10. Keeping Pragmatism Pure: Rorty with Lacan

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pp. 187-222

Given Richard Rorty’s oft-confessed appreciation for the work of Freud, it is curious that he has had so little to say about Freud’s most influential follower, Jacques Lacan. This would not be so surprising if Rorty were universally suspicious of the French intellectual style of which Lacan was so infamous an example...

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11. Cartesian Realism and the Revival of Pragmatism

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pp. 223-248

Richard Rorty is widely credited with having revived pragmatism’s sagging fortunes. And so he has. But it is hardly clear, whether what Rorty revived, beginning with Consequences of Pragmatism (1982), is indeed the recovery of pragmatism proper. Certainly, he has earned the pragmatist badge through sheer exuberance and drive and the inventive continuity he’s forged between his views and the classic pragmatists’; but the connection seems to owe as much to a kind of squatter’s rights...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 249-256

List of Contributors

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pp. 257-258


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pp. 259-262

E-ISBN-13: 9780791485132
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791460696
Print-ISBN-10: 079146069X

Page Count: 268
Publication Year: 2004

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Pragmatism -- History.
  • Philosophy, Modern -- 21st century.
  • Pragmatism -- History -- 21st century.
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