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Theory and Practice
Philosophy and African Development: Theory and Practice appraises development in a holistic manner. It goes beyond the usual measurement in terms of economic achievement and widens the scope to include the impact that history of ideas, political theory, sociology, social and political philosophy, and political economy have had on development in Africa. It is a departure from the traditional treatment of development by economists who point towards the so-called time-tested assertions and recommendations for 'sustainable development', but which are yet bring about significant change in the economies of the so-called 'developing' societies. It is on account of the failures of the economic development theory, with its tepid prescriptions for 'sustainable development' and 'poverty reduction' that theories of development have now been expanded from mere economic analysis to include considerations of history, sociology, political economy and anthropology, as could be discovered in this book. Most of the contributions in this book have been prepared by philosophers across Africa and the United States who implicitly practise their discipline as one whose most effective modern function would be to appraise the human experience in all its dimensions from the standpoints of modern social and natural sciences, all disciplinary offspring of philosophy itself. With chapters ranging from issues of modernity and religious interpretations, the human right to development, the idea of 'African time', the primacy of mental decolonisation, and the type of education offered in Africa today and as a tool for development, to development planning, science, technology and globalisation, as well as issues of post coloniality among others. The tenor of the contributions is not only proportional, but also engaged in the meta-analysis of the theories on which the concept of development is founded and practised. This book is strongly recommended as a useful text in the hands of scholars, researchers and students of development studies. It approaches the important issue of African development from the broad perspective of the social sciences in general, and buttresses this with the keen analytical approach of its contributors.
The philosophy of mathematics plays a vital role in the mature philosophy of Charles S. Peirce. Peirce received rigorous mathematical training from his father and his philosophy carries on in decidedly mathematical and symbolic veins. For Peirce, math was a philosophical tool and many of his most productive ideas rest firmly on the foundation of mathematical principles. This volume collects Peirce's most important writings on the subject, many appearing in print for the first time. Peirce's determination to understand matter, the cosmos, and "the grand design" of the universe remain relevant for contemporary students of science, technology, and symbolic logic.
Pluralism, Democracy, Relativism, and the Absurd
John J. Stuhr, a leading voice in American philosophy, sets forth a view of pragmatism as a personal work of art or fashion. Stuhr develops his pragmatism by putting pluralism forward, setting aside absolutism and nihilism, opening new perspectives on democracy, and focusing on love. He creates a space for a philosophy that is liable to failure and that is experimental, pluralist, relativist, radically empirical, radically democratic, and absurd. Full color illustrations enhance this lyrical commitment to a new version of pragmatism.
It is said that America came of age intellectually with the appearance of the pragmatic movement in philosophy. Pragmatic Naturalism presents a selective and interpretative overview of this philosophy as developed in the writings of its intellectual founders and chief exponents—Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, George Herbert Mead, and John Dewey. Mr. Eames groups the leading ideas of these pragmatic naturalists around the general fields of “Nature and Human Life,” “Knowledge,” “Value,” and “Education,” treating the primary concerns and special emphasis of each philosopher to these issues.
Philosophy students, teachers of philosophy, and general readers will find this book a comprehensive overview of American philosophy.
Pragmatism mediates rival extremes, and religion is no exception: the problems of realism versus antirealism, evidentialism versus fideism, and science versus religion, along with other key issues in the philosophy of religion, receive new interpretations when examined from a pragmatist point of view. Religion is then understood as a human practice with certain inherent aims and goals, responding to specific human needs and interests, serving certain important human values, and seeking to resolve problematic situations that naturally arise from our practices themselves, especially our need to live with our vulnerability, finitude, guilt, and mortality.
Contemporary Engagements between Analytic and Continental Thought
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.
Lessons from John Dewey
Larry A. Hickman presents John Dewey as very much at home in the busy mix of contemporary philosophy-as a thinker whose work now, more than fifty years after his death, still furnishes fresh insights into cutting-edge philosophical debates. Hickman argues that it is precisely the rich, pluralistic mix of contemporary philosophical discourse, with its competing research programs in French-inspired postmodernism, phenomenology, Critical Theory, Heidegger studies, analytic philosophy, and neopragmatism-all busily engaging, challenging, and informing one another-that invites renewed examination of Dewey's central ideas.Hickman offers a Dewey who both anticipated some of the central insights of French-inspired postmodernism and, if he were alive today, would certainly be one of its most committed critics, a Dewey who foresaw some of the most trenchant problems associated with fostering global citizenship, and a Dewey whose core ideas are often at odds with those of some of his most ardent neopragmatist interpreters.In the trio of essays that launch this book, Dewey is an observer and critic of some of the central features of French-inspired postmodernism and its American cousin, neopragmatism. In the next four, Dewey enters into dialogue with contemporary critics of technology, including Jrgen Habermas, Andrew Feenberg, and Albert Borgmann. The next two essays establish Dewey as an environmental philosopher of the first rank-a worthy conversation partner for Holmes Ralston, III, Baird Callicott, Bryan G. Norton, and Aldo Leopold. The concluding essays provide novel interpretations of Dewey's views of religious belief, the psychology of habit, philosophical anthropology, and what he termed the epistemology industry.
Pragmatism, Phenomenology, and Native American Thought
Continuing his quest to bring American philosophy back to its roots, Bruce Wilshire connects the work of such thinkers as Thoreau, Emerson, Dewey, and James with Native American beliefs and practices. His search is not for exact parallels, but rather for fundamental affinities between the equally "organismic" thought systems of indigenous peoples and classic American philosophers. Wilshire gives particular emphasis to the affinities between Black Elk’s view of the hoop of the world and Emerson’s notion of horizon, and also between a shaman’s healing practices and James’s ideas of pure experience, willingness to believe, and a pluralistic universe. As these connections come into focus, the book shows how European phenomenology was inspired and influenced by the classic American philosophers, whose own work reveals the inspiration and influence of indigenous thought. Wilshire’s book also reveals how artificial are the walls that separate the sciences and the humanities in academia, and that separate Continental from Anglo-American thought within the single discipline of philosophy.
A Theory of Witnessing from Nineteenth-Century American Literature
The nineteenth century was a time of extraordinary attunement to the unspoken, the elusively present, and the subtly haunting. Quiet Testimony finds in such attunement a valuable rethinking of what it means to encounter the truth. It argues that four key writers—Emerson, Douglass, Melville, and Henry James—open up the domain of the witness by articulating quietude’s claim on the clamoring world.The premise of quiet testimony responds to urgent questions in critical theory and human rights. Emerson is brought into conversation with Levinas, and Douglass is considered alongside Agamben. Yet the book is steeped in the intellectual climate of the nineteenth century, in which speech and meaning might exceed the bounds of the recognized human subject. In this context, Melville’s characters could read the weather, and James’s could spend an evening with dead companions.By following the path by which ostensibly unremarkable entities come to voice, Quiet Testimony suggests new configurations for ethics, politics, and the literary.
A Pragmatic Tradition from Emerson to Ellison
America has a love-hate relationship with individualism. In Reconstructing Individualism, James Albrecht argues that our conceptions of individualism have remained trapped within the assumptions of classic liberalism. He traces an alternative genealogy of individualist ethics in four major American thinkers-Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, John Dewey, and Ralph Ellison. These writers' shared commitments to pluralism (metaphysical and cultural), experimentalism, and a melioristic stance toward value and reform led them to describe the self as inherently relational. Accordingly, they articulate models of selfhood that are socially engaged and ethically responsible, and they argue that a reconceived-or, in Dewey's term, "reconstructed"-individualism is not merely compatible with but necessary to democratic community. Conceiving selfhood and community as interrelated processes, they call for an ongoing reform of social conditions so as to educate and liberate individuality, and, conversely, they affirm the essential role individuality plays in vitalizing communal efforts at reform.