Feminist Pragmatism

Authored by: V. Denise James

The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138795921
eBook ISBN: 9781315758152
Adobe ISBN:


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In the late nineteenth century, classical pragmatism found its first explicit exponent in the philosopher William James, who credited the epistemological and methodological insights of fellow US philosopher Charles S. Peirce with opening up a new route in philosophical inquiry that was necessarily linked to experience. Although Peirce would later decry the connection between his views and James’s interpretation of his epistemology, James went on to develop a theory of truth that he claimed was first articulated by Peirce. Following Peirce’s lead, James would call the philosophical orientation associated with this theory of truth and its consequences pragmatism. Pragmatism, for James, was a philosophical attitude, “The attitude of turning away from first things, principles, ‘categories,’ supposed necessities; and of looking towards last things, fruits, consequences, facts” (James 2000: 33). John Dewey took up the banner of James’ pragmatism, expanding it to include the associated theories of the social and political world that would be influential not only for academically trained philosophers but also for the growing progressive movements of his day, especially in education policy and democratic theory.

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