Abstract

In this paper I argue that aspects of Deweyan pragmatism can and should be reconstructed in light of work in biological systems research. My claim is that Maturana and Varela's concept of autopoiesis captures better than Dewey and Bentley's characterization of transaction those phenomena that Dewey highlighted in systems that exhibit growth, including but not limited to living organisms. I argue that this reconstruction can help us to think more clearly about some poorly understood aspects of classical pragmatism, to better address contemporary problems involving boundaries, communities, and the relations of parts to wholes, and that this is a less problematic alternative than the linguistic pragmatism offered by neo-pragmatists.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9587
Print ISSN
0009-1774
Pages
pp. 312-334
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-21
Open Access
No
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