The Pragmatism Reader

The Pragmatism Reader : From Peirce through the Present

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The Pragmatism Reader is the essential anthology of this important philosophical movement. Each selection featured here is a key writing by a leading pragmatist thinker, and represents a distinctively pragmatist approach to a core philosophical problem. The collection includes work by pragmatism's founders, Charles Peirce, William James, and John Dewey, as well as seminal writings by mid-twentieth-century pragmatists such as Sidney Hook, C. I. Lewis, Nelson Goodman, Rudolf Carnap, Wilfrid Sellars, and W.V.O. Quine. This reader also includes the most important work in contemporary pragmatism by philosophers like Susan Haack, Cornel West, Hilary Putnam, Richard Rorty, Cheryl Misak, and Robert Brandom. Each selection is a stand-alone piece--not an excerpt or book chapter--and each is presented fully unabridged. The Pragmatism Reader challenges the notion that pragmatism fell into a midcentury decline and was dormant until the advent of "neopragmatism" in the 1980s. This comprehensive anthology reveals a rich and highly influential tradition running unbroken through twentieth-century philosophy and continuing today.
It shows how American pragmatist philosophers have contributed to leading philosophical debates about truth, meaning, knowledge, experience, belief, existence, justification, and freedom. * Covers pragmatist philosophy from its origins to today * Features key writings by the leading pragmatist thinkers * Demonstrates the continuity and enduring influence of pragmatism * Challenges prevailing notions about pragmatism * Includes only stand-alone pieces, completely unabridged * Reflects the full range of pragmatist themes, arguments, concerns, and commitments
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Product details

  • Paperback | 504 pages
  • 165 x 241 x 40.64mm | 794g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 5 line illus.
  • 0691137064
  • 9780691137063
  • 656,683

Back cover copy

"With an excellent selection of papers by all the classical pragmatists and a very well judged collection of pieces by more recent philosophers sympathetic to pragmatism, this superb volume provides material for a successful course on pragmatism and also offers readers a fascinating overview of its varieties."--Christopher Hookway, University of Sheffield

"The alleged patterns of storied philosophies are always contestable, and contested. Do they reflect objective joints or only artificial impositions? This collection helps to show just how objective the pattern of pragmatism is, and how broad its scope. It is a welcome arrangement of skillfully selected contributions."--Ernest Sosa, Rutgers University

"An excellent collection. The Pragmatism Reader currently offers the best selection of writings from the pragmatist tradition, and successfully presents the movement as a continuous and coherent strain in twentieth- and twenty-first-century philosophy."--Henry Jackman, York University

"The Pragmatism Reader does a much better job of bringing into bold relief the continuities in the development of pragmatism from its inception to the present than does any other anthology. Talisse and Aikin's introduction is bold and original and helps the reader to see these strands of continuity among the different pieces included here."--Richard M. Gale, professor emeritus, University of Pittsburgh
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Table of contents

Introduction 1 Charles S. Peirce Some Consequences of Four Incapacities 12 The Fixation of Belief 37 How to Make Our Ideas Clear 50 William James Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results 66 Pragmatism's Conception of Truth 79 The Will to Believe 92 John Dewey The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy 109 The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy 141 Creative Democracy-The Task before Us 150 Sidney Hook The Democratic Way of Life 155 C.I. Lewis A Pragmatic Conception of the A Priori 166 Nelson Goodman Words, Works, Worlds 174 The New Riddle of Induction 188 W.V.O. Quine Two Dogmas of Empiricism 202 On What There Is 221 Natural Kinds 234 Rudolf Carnap Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology 249 Wilfrid Sellars Language as Thought and Communication 265 Donald Davidson On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme 286 Hilary Putnam Meaning and Reference 299 Realism with a Human Face 309 A Reconsideration of Deweyan Democracy 331 Richard Rorty The World Well Lost 353 Solidarity or Objectivity? 367 The Priority of Democracy to Philosophy 381 Cornel West Dispensing with Metaphysics in Religious Thought 403 Susan Haack Double-Aspect Foundherentism: A New Theory of Empirical Justification 407 Richard A. Posner Pragmatic Adjudication 423 Robert Brando m From Truth to Semantics: A Path through Making It Explicit 440 Huw Price Truth as a Convenient Friction 451 Cheryl Misak Making Disagreement Matter: Pragmatism and Deliberative Democracy 471 Credits 485 Index 487
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Review quote

"[T]his is an excellent collection, not simply of pragmatist thinkers, but serious and substantive philosophers. Talisse and Aiken have done a truly fine job of exhibiting the contributions to first-order philosophy by pragmatist-oriented thinkers over the years and helping to dispel the notion that pragmatism has been on the sidelines of important philosophical work. I recommend it, not only as an introduction to pragmatism (indeed, more than an introduction), but also as a work of fecund philosophical engagement."--David Boersema, Essays in Philosophy
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About Robert B. Talisse

Robert B. Talisse is professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University. His books include "A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy". Scott F. Aikin is senior lecturer in philosophy at Vanderbilt. He is the coauthor, with Robert Talisse, of "Pragmatism: A Guide for the Perplexed".
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