Article

Pragmatism

Albert Atkin

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0093
Pragmatism

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Pragmatism is, broadly, an approach to philosophy that clusters loosely around a set of themes and a common tradition. The most clearly Pragmatist of these themes is what we might call a turn to practice. The idea is that in order to understand philosophical concepts fully, we must look to those ordinary practices that take such concepts as central. A famous example of this is the pragmatic account of truth, whereby our practices of inquiry are taken to suggest that truth is the set of beliefs that a sufficiently long and well-practiced investigation would leave intact. By the standards of philosophy, Pragmatism is still a relatively young tradition emerging from work by C. S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While Pragmatism fell out of favor during the early part of the 20th century, it saw something of a revival from the late 1970s in the Neo-Pragmatist work of Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam. Pragmatism is currently experiencing a third resurgence, christened New Pragmatism by Cheryl Misak, in which a general revisionist attitude to the tradition draws on Classical and Neo-Pragmatist work, and supplements this with what are seen as pragmatist insights from outside the core of the tradition. This entry focuses on these three waves of pragmatist philosophy, drawing particular attention to key figures, themes, and ideas indicative of Pragmatism.

Article.  6366 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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