The Metaphysics of Pragmatism

The Metaphysics of Pragmatism

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Considered by some the most controversial American philosopher of contemporary times, SIDNEY HOOK (1902-1989) was infamous for the wild swing in his political thought over the course of his career, starting out as a young Marxist before the Great Depression and ending up a vehement anti-Communist in his later years. The Metaphysics of Pragmatism-Hook's first work, originally published in 1927-is something of a malicious joke on the philosopher's part, one he readily acknowledges in his introduction, a bringing together of one discipline, that of metaphysics, with the one generally regarded as its polar opposite, that of pragmatism, for the purposes of rescuing the second. Though not a political work at all-except, possibly, one of academic politics-this is nevertheless a fascinating introduction to this notorious figure. In its expression of the author's "passionate moral interest in the creative power... of human thinking," it may, perhaps, begin to lend some understanding to the shifts in his own thinking that characterized his work.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 156 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 9mm | 236g
  • English
  • 1605203602
  • 9781605203607
  • 1,799,740

Back cover copy

Since its founding in the nineteenth century by Charles Sanders Peirce, the pragmatic school had been criticized as antimetaphysical and its focus on scientific method and critical inquiry viewed as undermining one of the very foundations of traditional philosophy. In the Metaphysics of Pragmatism, written as his doctoral dissertation and first published in 1927, Hook began his distinguished philosophical career by juxtaposing the terms "metaphysics" and "pragmatism" to show that the pragmatic method cannot begin to help us solve human problems without holding to a particular view of how the world is arranged both physically and conceptually. But this does not imply that pragmatism holds to a traditional, rigid metaphysic. Rather, as Hook's ground-breaking study shows, it has an interactive dimension in which human problems are viewed as contingent on the ways we structure our questions and design methods for finding solutions, both of which can change - and the implied metaphysic evolve - as inquiry uncovers new information about ourselves and the world.
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