Cracks in the Inexorable: Bourne and Addams on Pacifists during Wartime
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 46, Number 2, Spring 2010
- pp. 282-299
- View Citation
- Additional Information
There is general consensus that Randolph Bourne was right in his criticism of Dewey’s support for U.S. participation in World War One. Bourne’s central argument against Dewey was that war is inexorable. War cannot be controlled; pragmatist method becomes inoperable. Jane Addams largely agreed with Bourne, but would question his claim that war’s inexorability is absolute. I will use Addams’s participation with the U.S. Food Administration to show cracks in the inexorability of war and also to raise questions about the pragmatist grounding of Bourne’s attack on Dewey. I argue that although Addams’s participation with the Food Administration was in some ways morally ambiguous, it also demonstrated a more throughgoing, pragmatist understanding of democracy than Bourne’s critique contained.