- Pragmatism and Anti-realism about the Past
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 46, Number 3, Summer 2010
- pp. 401-422
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- Additional Information
Recently John Dewey scholars such as David Hildebrand have made some ambitious claims about the capacity of Deweyan pragmatism to transcend the contemporary realism/anti-realism debate. I demonstrate that in one part of this debate, concerning the reality of the past, Deweyan pragmatism shares too many affinities with anti-realism to justify Hildebrand's claims. These affinities should not weaken the appeal of a pragmatist philosophy of the past (including the historical past). However, I argue that this philosophy needs to be supported by a stronger realism concerning the data from which—on the pragmatist and anti-realist understanding—the past is inferentially reconstructed.