John Dewey is a Tool: Lessons from Rorty and Brandom on the History of Pragmatism
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 50, Number 2, Spring 2014
- pp. 246-264
- Additional Information
Richard Rorty’s writings have long frustrated scholars of classical American philosophy. Robert Brandom’s recent engagements with the history of pragmatism have been met with similar disdain. This essay draws on Larry A. Hickman’s theory of technology and tool-use to find a productive framework for thinking through these interpretations. Foregrounding the purposes that guide their readings, we may find value where many readers have seen only ignorance. This strategy does not embrace interpretive relativism, nor does it preclude all scholarly criticism, but it instead promises a living and engaged approach to working with the history of philosophy.