Introducing Pragmatism

Introducing Pragmatism A Tool for Rethinking Philosophy DE WAAL, Cornelis

This unique introduction fully engages and clearly explains pragmatism, an approach to knowledge and philosophy that rejects outmoded conceptions of objectivity while avoiding relativism and subjectivism. It follows pragmatism's focus on the process of inquiry rather than on abstract justifications meant to appease the skeptic. According to pragmatists, getting to know the world is a creative human enterprise, wherein we fashion our concepts in terms of how they affect us practically, including in future inquiry. This book fully illuminates that enterprise and the resulting radical rethinking of basic philosophical conceptions like truth, reality, and reason.

Author Cornelis de Waal helps the reader recognize, understand, and assess classical and current pragmatist contributions-from Charles S. Peirce to Cornel West-evaluate existing views from a pragmatist angle, formulate pragmatist critiques, and develop a pragmatist viewpoint on a specific issue.

The book discusses:

  • Classical pragmatists, including Peirce, James, Dewey, and Addams;
  • Contemporary figures, including Rorty, Putnam, Haack, and West;
  • Connections with other twentieth-century approaches, including phenomenology, critical theory, and logical positivism;
  • Peirce's pragmatic maxim and its relation to James's Will to Believe;
  • Applications to philosophy of law, feminism, and issues of race and racism.
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    Taylor & Francis Ltd
    310 pp.

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