Dimming, Eclipse, and Demolition: The Middle of the 20th Century in a Monistic Account of Pragmatism’s History
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 56, Number 3, Summer 2020
- pp. 427-455
- Additional Information
In this article I distinguish between a monistic and a dualistic interpretation of the history of pragmatism. The former emphasizes the continuities between Peirce, James, and Dewey whereas the latter assumes that there is a chasm between the positions of James and Dewey, on the one hand, and Peirce, on the other. This article assumes the monistic position. Based on this position, I advance a novel understanding of the history of pragmatism in the middle of the 20th century. It rejects the traditional view that pragmatism suffered an eclipse in that period and argues that we should actually split that period into two periods. The first period is dominated by the logical positivist account of C. I. Lewis and its pragmatic inclinations. I call this period “the dimming period of pragmatism.” The latter period is characterized by Quine’s and Sellars’s critiques of logical positivism as critiques in the spirit of pragmatism and made with tools from pragmatism. I call it the “supposed eclipse but actual demolition” period of pragmatism.