Pragmatism and Political Theory

Authored by: Robert B. Talisse

Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Social and Political Theory

Print publication date:  March  2011
Online publication date:  March  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415548250
eBook ISBN: 9780203875575
Adobe ISBN: 9781135997946

10.4324/9780203875575.ch11

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Abstract

Pragmatism is the name of an unruly philosophical family. The first pragmatists – Charles Peirce, William James, and John Dewey – disagreed over fundamental philosophical issues; and when post-Deweyan pragmatists such as Sidney Hook, C.I. Lewis, Nelson Goodman, W.V.O. Quine, Hilary Putman, Richard Rorty, Robert Brandom, Richard Posner, and Susan Haack are included, the discord becomes more pronounced. Perhaps the most that can be said is that pragmatists hold that philosophical theories must not only be tethered to practice, but are to be evaluated according to their capacity to guide practice. Hence, throughout the pragmatist tradition, one finds as a common line of criticism the charge that certain long-standing philosophical problems should simply be abandoned because they have no practical relevance.

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