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The New Pragmatism

The New Pragmatism

Alan Malachowski
Copyright Date: 2010
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130hcww
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  • Book Info
    The New Pragmatism
    Book Description:

    The pragmatism that emerges from this exploration of its "classic" and "new wave" forms is then assessed in terms of both its philosophical potential and its wider cultural contribution. Readers will finish the book with a more secure grip on what pragmatism involves and a correspondingly clearer grasp of what it has to offer and what its current resurgence is all about.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-9472-2
    Subjects: Philosophy
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE (pp. ix-xii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (pp. xiii-xiii)
    Alan Malachowski
  5. ABBREVIATIONS (pp. xiv-xiv)
  6. 1 INTRODUCING THE NEW PRAGMATISM (pp. 1-16)

    The aim of this book is to provide a broad-based introduction to the New Pragmatism for those who are to a large extent, or perhaps even completely, unfamiliar with it. In tackling that task, it ranges over five large questions: what is the New Pragmatism? Why has it come into prominence in recent years? What, if anything, isnewabout it? What are its main strengths? And what are its prospects?

    In dealing with such big questions, the book cannot help but evoke further issues. Some of these are subsidiary, and hence disposable. Others are quite important. However, most of...

  7. 2 LEAVING CLASSIC PRAGMATISM BEHIND (pp. 17-32)

    The precise details of the early history of ‘classic pragmatism’ are still disputed.¹ Nevertheless, it is quite clear who the key figures were.

    There were three of them. Charles Sanders Peirce was the founder in the sense of coining pragmatism’s name and some of the main ideas first associated with it. But, according to John Murphy (1990: 33), it was William James who first used the designator ‘pragmatism’ in print. He extended the scope of Peirce’s ideas, and attracted much greater attention to pragmatism in doing so. When he linked up with a keen ally in America, John Dewey, pragmatism...

  8. 3 RORTY AGAINST THE TRADITION (pp. 33-60)

    Richard Rorty had such an important influence on the New Pragmatism, and in such a variety of ways, that it is worth examining his approach in the round. And, this can best be done by looking at how his pragmatism, the New Pragmatism, evolved out of a long and complex philosophical journey, one that is often misinterpreted with unfortunate consequences for the reception of his views. Moreover, certain aspects of that journey help to explain why Christopher Voparil is exactly right in saying that reading Rorty is a unique experience.

    We treat Rorty somewhat differently from Putnam (see Chapter 4)...

  9. 4 PUTNAM’S CONTRIBUTIONS (pp. 61-82)

    Hilary Putnam is a prolific and influential philosopher who has had a long and distinguished academic career. In his case, we do not need to fill in as much background detail as we did with Rorty. For, although Putnam has never been afraid of courting controversy, his philosophical career has been much more conventional that Rorty’s.¹ As a result, his views have not been inordinately clouded or distorted by the fog of public notoriety.

    Putnam’s contributions to the growth of the New Pragmatism have spanned some thirty years or so. During this lengthy period, Putnam’s overall position has been revised...

  10. 5 PUTNAM AND RORTY: PRAGMATISM WITHOUT RECONCILIATION (pp. 83-98)

    Putnam and Rorty argued with one another for over a period of about thirty years. That debate sheds some important light on the New Pragmatism. For it shows how the two thinkers most responsible for reviving interest in a pragmatist approach to philosophy diverged in their beliefs as to what that approach should involve. Furthermore, this disagreement is in many ways more instructive than those between the proponents of the New Pragmatism and their external critics. For these are always liable to deteriorate into the kind of sterile, energy-sapping contests that stifled classic pragmatism.

    In this chapter, we shall review...

  11. 6 PROSPECTS (pp. 99-128)

    One of the obstacles to the New Pragmatism’s progress in the short term is the resistance of the analytic establishment. Some of this is self-serving.¹ It pays to keep old philosophical disputes going. New Pragmatists deny a selfless version of this. Precisely because there is norealpay-off and because they are bored by the lack of genuinely productive results, the ‘doldrums’ Margolis referred to, they want to stake out uncharted territory, to visit Rorty’s promised land where controversies over distinctions such as those between mind and body or appearance and reality seem beside the point and the theories developed...

  12. CONCLUSION: THE NEW PRAGMATISM AND PHILOSOPHY (pp. 129-136)

    We have said that the New Pragmatism needs to capitalize on its influence outside the field of philosophy itself. And, we have shown some of the ways in which it has started to do so with enthusiasm and evident accomplishment. Does this mean that it cannot flourishwithinthat field? This question needs to be split up. We did not intend to imply that the New Pragmatism cannot do well within philosophy. Our claim simply acknowledged that it would prefer to do well by its own standards. And there is more social utility to be had, and more scope for...

  13. NOTES (pp. 137-146)
  14. READING THE NEW PRAGMATISTS (pp. 147-150)
  15. BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 151-156)
  16. INDEX (pp. 157-162)