Download 100 Years of Pragmatism: William James's Revolutionary by John J. Stuhr PDF

By John J. Stuhr

ISBN-10: 0253353874

ISBN-13: 9780253353870

William James claimed that his Pragmatism: a brand new identify for a few outdated methods of pondering might end up positive and epoch-making. this day, after greater than a hundred years, how is pragmatism to be understood? What has been its cultural and philosophical impression? Is it an important source for present difficulties and for all times and proposal sooner or later? John J. Stuhr and the prestigious members to this multidisciplinary quantity handle those questions, situating them in own, philosophical, political, American, and international contexts. enticing James in unique methods, those eleven essays probe and expand the importance of pragmatism as they specialise in 4 significant, overlapping issues: pragmatism and American tradition; pragmatism as a mode of pondering and settling disagreements; pragmatism as conception of fact; and pragmatism as a temper, angle, or temperament.

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Kallen adopted James’s philosophical ideas of consciousness, experience, toleration, pluralism, and experimentation, from which he forged the theory of cultural pluralism with which he became identified. Rather than insisting that one’s identity is always fixed by one’s grandparents, to use a formulation often associated with Kallen, or offering his now equally familiar image of American society as a symphony in which various ethnic groups represent different groups of instruments, Kallen at first sought 18 • James T.

Those few politicians who have invoked the pragmatists explicitly, such as former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, and those reformers and writers who have stressed the need to revitalize civil society have been maligned as temporizers by critics on both ends of the political spectrum. The doctrinaire right is locked into rigid commitments to the rewards of a so-called free market and a tightly regulated cul- 22 • James T. Kloppenberg ture—except where economic activity is concerned. One part of the left, almost equally doctrinaire, seems locked almost as tightly into defending problematic social programs such as public assistance and public schools, and committed to rights-based, liberationist mantras at a time when increasingly large numbers of people lack the moral principles necessary to deal responsibly with others and the basic skills necessary to cope with the bewildering world they confront.

It might seem self-evident that in fields such as business, architecture, medicine, law, education, and environmentalism, a pragmatist sensibility understood as the testing of results in practice would be commonplace; the principles of James’s pragmatism should be everywhere. According to prominent practitioners in each of those professions, however, the opposite is true. There are two reasons: James’s Pragmatism and American Culture, 1907–2007 • 23 First, for reasons that will become apparent, there are serious questions involved in deciding what it means for ideas to “work” in each of these domains.

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