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Preludes to Pragmatism

Philip Kitcher

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199899555
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980154 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199899555.001.0001
Preludes to Pragmatism

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Over the last two decades the author of this book has started to make a serious case for pragmatism as the source of a new life in contemporary philosophy. There are some, like this book's author, who view today's analytic philosophy as mired in narrowly focused, technical disputes of little interest to the wider world. What is the future of philosophy, and what would it look like? While Classical Pragmatism—the American philosophy developed by John Dewey, Charles Peirce, and William James in the nineteenth century—has a mixed reputation today, the author of this book admires the way its core ideas provide a way to prioritize avenues of inquiry. As the book points out, both James and Dewey shared a wish to eliminate “insignificant questions” from philosophy, and both harbored suspicion of “timeless” philosophical problems handed down generation after generation. Rather, they saw philosophy as inherently embedded in its time, grappling with pressing issues in religion, social life, art, politics, and education. The author states that he has become increasingly moved by this reformist approach to philosophy, and the published work included here, alongside a detailed introduction setting out the author's views, provide motivation for his view of the “reconstruction of philosophy.” These chapters try to install the pragmatic spirit into contemporary philosophy, renewing James and Dewey for our own times.

Keywords: pragmatism; analytic philosophy; classical pragmatism; John Dewey; Charles; Peirce; William James; reformist approach; reconstruction of philosophy

Book.  496 pages. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Preludes to Pragmatism

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The Naturalists Return in Preludes to Pragmatism

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Real Realism The Galilean Strategy in Preludes to Pragmatism

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Does ‘Race’ Have a Future? in Preludes to Pragmatism

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Mathematical <i>Truth</i>? in Preludes to Pragmatism

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Carnap and the Caterpillar in Preludes to Pragmatism

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Philosophy Inside Out in Preludes to Pragmatism

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