- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 53, Number 2, Spring 2017
- pp. 246-269
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This essay argues that classical pragmatism à la John Dewey is a philosophy on its way to post-humanism. Dewey's account of non-human animals is not a mere tangent, but a central axis for his concepts of communication and language. Despite a lifelong insistence on the exceptional qualities of humans, Dewey's more expansive accounts of language are adequate for a post-humanist perspective. For Dewey to fully come to terms with the implications of Darwin and the postulate of continuity, consistency should be demanded between his theory of language and his accounts of non-human animal behavior and expression. Dewey's concept of "an experience" coincides with the theory of adaptation and the bodily ability to make new environments and change habits. Pragmatists should acknowledge that all living organisms engage in creative meaning-laden behavior as part of general life-activity.