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Native Pragmatism

Overview

Pragmatism is America’s most distinctive philosophy. Generally it has been understood as a development of European thought in response to the "American wilderness." A closer examination, however, reveals that the roots and central commitments of pragmatism are indigenous to North America. Native Pragmatism recovers this history and thus provides the means to re-conceive the scope and potential of American philosophy. Pragmatism has been at best only partially understood by those who focus on its European ...

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Overview

Pragmatism is America’s most distinctive philosophy. Generally it has been understood as a development of European thought in response to the "American wilderness." A closer examination, however, reveals that the roots and central commitments of pragmatism are indigenous to North America. Native Pragmatism recovers this history and thus provides the means to re-conceive the scope and potential of American philosophy. Pragmatism has been at best only partially understood by those who focus on its European antecedents. This book casts new light on pragmatism’s complex origins and demands a rethinking of African American and feminist thought in the context of the American philosophical tradition. Scott L. Pratt demonstrates that pragmatism and its development involved the work of many thinkers previously overlooked in the history of philosophy.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"... [T]his is an interesting and insightful study of the origins of American pragmatism." —Choice, November 2002

Choice - S. C. Pearson

Accepting the common view that pragmatism is the uniquely American philosophy, Pratt (Univ. of Oregon) maintains that much of what American philosophy is known for can be traced to its origins in the borderlands between Europe and America and its 'originality' to well—established aspects of Native American thought. At these borderlands, he discerns the emergence of an attitude of resistance to the attitudes of European colonialism. This new attitude drove commitments to interaction, pluralism, community, and growth, the core of pragmatic thought. He plumbs Native American thought for sources of these commitments; he argues for the influence of a Native Prophetic movement on Benjamin Franklin, whose ideas in turn influenced the initial formulation of pragmatism by Peirce and James. He also asserts a prominent role for Native thought in the development of the women's movement. Readers may be skeptical regarding the extent to which Native thought shaped pragmatism, and Pratt admits that his volume is not intended as a comprehensive history, but rather as an additional perspective. Read as such, this is an interesting and insightful study of the origins of American pragmatism. For general readers and upper—division undergraduates through faculty.S. C. Pearson, emeritus, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Read as such, this is an interesting and insightful study of the origins of American pragmatism. For general readers and upper—division undergraduates through faculty., Choice, November 2002

From the Publisher
Accepting the common view that pragmatism is the uniquely American philosophy, Pratt (Univ. of Oregon) maintains that much of what American philosophy is known for can be traced to its origins in the borderlands between Europe and America and its 'originality' to well—established aspects of Native American thought. At these borderlands, he discerns the emergence of an attitude of resistance to the attitudes of European colonialism. This new attitude drove commitments to interaction, pluralism, community, and growth, the core of pragmatic thought. He plumbs Native American thought for sources of these commitments; he argues for the influence of a Native Prophetic movement on Benjamin Franklin, whose ideas in turn influenced the initial formulation of pragmatism by Peirce and James. He also asserts a prominent role for Native thought in the development of the women's movement. Readers may be skeptical regarding the extent to which Native thought shaped pragmatism, and Pratt admits that his volume is not intended as a comprehensive history, but rather as an additional perspective. Read as such, this is an interesting and insightful study of the origins of American pragmatism. For general readers and upper—division undergraduates through faculty.S. C. Pearson, emeritus, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Read as such, this is an interesting and insightful study of the origins of American pragmatism. For general readers and upper—division undergraduates through faculty., Choice, November 2002
Choice

"... [T]his is an interesting and insightful study of the origins of American pragmatism." —Choice, November 2002

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253215192
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,201,038
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott L. Pratt is Associate Professor of Philosophy and head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Oregon. He received his B. A. in philosophy from Beloit College (Wisconsin) and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He teaches American Philosophy and the history of Modern European Philosophy, and is co-editor of American Philosophies: An Anthology and The Philosophical Writings of Cadwallader Colden.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

1. The Problem of Origins
2. American Pragmatism
3. The Colonial Attitude
4. American Progress
5. The Indigenous Attitude
6. Welcoming the Cannibals
7. The Logic of Place
8. "This Very Ground"
9. Science and Sovereignty
10. The Logic of Home
11. Feminism and Pragmatism

Conclusion: The Legacy of Native American Thought

Notes
Works Cited
Index

Indiana University Press

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