Pragmatism and the Reflective Life

Pragmatism and the Reflective Life

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Pragmatism and the Reflective Life explains the moral perspective embedded in the pragmatist tradition of American philosophy and offers pragmatist moral thought as an alternative to analytic moral theory. By contrasting the commitments of pragmatism with most Western philosophical traditions, this book brings into focus the inclusive idealism that informs the American intellectual tradition.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 210 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 15.24mm | 317.51g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0739132385
  • 9780739132388

Table of contents

Part 1 Preface Chapter 2 1. Introduction Chapter 3 2. Pragmatism Chapter 4 3. From Moral Theory to the Reflective Life Chapter 5 4. The Reflective Life Chapter 6 5. Ideals Chapter 7 6. Deliberation Chapter 8 7. Education Chapter 9 8. Ecumenism
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Review quote

Rosenbaum rewards readers of this splendid book with lucid prose as well as with a compelling vision of a cosmopolitan, egalitarian, and democratic future. In conversation with classical and contemporary pragmatists and their critics, he presents a daring new conception of the reflective life in which habit, imagination, resourcefulness, and creativity are more central than are the traditional constructs of belief, desire, reason, and passion. Rosenbaum's leadership among neo-pragmatists is clear, and this book is certain to be influential for a long time. -- Guy Axtell, University of Nevada-Reno This is a fine example of what it means to think as a pragmatist, with the classical texts of Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey as Rosenbaum's conversational partners in his own treatments of democracy, education, and 'the reflective life.' In an engaging manner, Rosenbaum weaves knowledgeable discussions of these classical figures and such contemporary pragmatists as Richard Bernstein and Hilary Putnam with observations and examples from his own life and culture. -- Russell B. Goodman, Regents Professor, Emeritus, University of New Mexico In this lucid study, Rosenbaum does an excellent job of presenting a topic that gets less attention than it deserves: the ethical significance of pragmatism. Rosenbaum does an excellent job of relating this moral outlook to issues in education, politics, and contemporary society. This book is a clearly written and well-reasoned defense of pragmatism as a moral philosophy. Highly recommended. CHOICE, February 2010 Even those of us who are not persuaded by the pragmatist claim that thought is always bound by its historical circumstances can find much to appreciate in Professor Rosenbaum's attack on the idea of moral theory. He reminds us that sound morals require attention to circumstances, not abstract theorizing. -- David Fott, University of Nevada, Las Vegas In the brief autobiographical remarks found in the preface of Stuart Rosenbaum's Pragmatism and the Reflective Life, we discover that Rosenbaum began his philosophical career in the tradition of analytic philosophy. It is precisely this background in the analytic tradition that gives weight to the powerful criticisms he levels against that tradition as he wends his way through his newfound love, American pragmatism...In sum, Rosenbaum esteems pragmatism's account of the reflective life for its ecumenical spirit toward the varieties of human experience. American Journal of Theology and Philosophy Pragmatism as a living philosophical tradition has at its very core the demand not to merely contemplate the world, but to reflect upon our modes of relating to it with an eye to doing something about 'it.' It is this complex 'it' of world, reflection, and action that raises for us a hornet's nest of issues that Stuart Rosenbaum's book engages. Rosenbaum does not deny that pragmatism, in its various forms, surely gives us theses to ponder. Nevertheless, these theses are developed with a practical and existential intent, even if the working out of such intent remains dependent on conceptual clarity and (re)construction. On Rosenbaum's conception, pragmatism offers us tools for exercises in self-reflection, engaged attempts to get clear about specific frames, be they conceptual, moral, political, interpersonal, religious, and so forth, and to find ways of living consonant with Emerson's dictum, which he has taken to heart, that 'character is higher than intellect,' even if we need intellect, rightly conceived so as to avoid the paradigmatic tyranny of abstract knowledge, to build the 'right' kind of character. It is precisely this kind of intellect that Rosenbaum proposes to explore by offering not just theses to ponder but also by employing a method that combines a concern for generality with deep respect for exemplifying instances. The Pluralist
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About Stuart Rosenbaum

Stuart E. Rosenbaum is professor of philosophy at Baylor University.
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