The Revival of Pragmatism: New Essays on Social Thought, Law, and Culture

Overview

Although long considered the most distinctive American contribution to philosophy, pragmatism-with its problem-solving emphasis and its contingent view of truth-lost popularity in mid-century after the advent of World War II, the horror of the Holocaust, and the dawning of the Cold War. Since the 1960s, however, pragmatism in many guises has again gained prominence, finding congenial places to flourish within growing intellectual movements. This volume of new essays brings together leading philosophers, ...
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The Revival of Pragmatism: New Essays on Social Thought, Law, and Culture

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Overview

Although long considered the most distinctive American contribution to philosophy, pragmatism-with its problem-solving emphasis and its contingent view of truth-lost popularity in mid-century after the advent of World War II, the horror of the Holocaust, and the dawning of the Cold War. Since the 1960s, however, pragmatism in many guises has again gained prominence, finding congenial places to flourish within growing intellectual movements. This volume of new essays brings together leading philosophers, historians, legal scholars, social thinkers, and literary critics to examine the far-reaching effects of this revival.

As the twenty-five intellectuals who take part in this discussion show, pragmatism has become a complex terrain on which a rich variety of contemporary debates have been played out. Contributors such as Richard Rorty, Stanley Cavell, Nancy Fraser, Robert Westbrook, Hilary Putnam, and Morris Dickstein trace pragmatism's cultural and intellectual evolution, consider its connection to democracy, and discuss its complex relationship to the work of Emerson, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein. They show the influence of pragmatism on black intellectuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois, explore its view of poetic language, and debate its effects on social science, history, and jurisprudence. Also including essays by critics of the revival such as Alan Wolfe and John Patrick Diggins, the volume concludes with a response to the whole collection from Stanley Fish.

Including an extensive bibliography, this interdisciplinary work provides an in-depth and broadly gauged introduction to pragmatism, one that will be crucial for understanding the shape of the transformations taking place in the American social and philosophical scene at the end of the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

Alan Ryan
Among the pleasures of the volume are some essays that stray outside the usual fare of philosophylaw and political theory....Just as pragmatists repudiated any idea that truth was a matter of our minds picturing the way the world really isso they repudiated any idea that mind was other than an aspect of our bodily selves. So do we all when we are not led astray by philosophers. —The New York Times Book Review
Alan Ryan
Among the pleasures of the volume are some essays that stray outside the usual fare of philosophy, law and political theory....Just as pragmatists repudiated any idea that truth was a matter of our minds picturing the way the world really is, so they repudiated any idea that mind was other than an aspect of our bodily selves. So do we all when we are not led astray by philosophers.
The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Morris Dickstein

Morris Dickstein is Distinguished Professor of English at Queens College and at the Graduate School of the City University of New York. His previous books include Double Agent: The Critic and Society and Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Pragmatism Then and Now 1
What Difference Does Pragmatism Make? The View from Philosophy
Pragmatism as Romantic Polytheism 21
Pragmatism and Realism 37
Response to Hilary Putnam's "Pragmatism and Realism" 54
The Moral Impulse 62
What's the Use of Calling Emerson a Pragmatist? 72
Pragmatism and the Remaking of Social Thought
Pragmatism: An Old Name for Some New Ways of Thinking? 83
Pragmatism and Democracy: Reconstructing the Logic of John Dewey's Faith 128
Community in the Pragmatic Tradition 141
Another Pragmatism: Alain Locke, Critical "Race" Theory, and the Politics of Culture 157
Going Astray, Going Forward: Du Boisian Pragmatism and Its Lineage 176
The Inspiration of Pragmatism: Some Personal Remarks 190
The Missing Pragmatic Revival in American Social Science 199
Pragmatism and Its Limits 207
Pragmatism and Law
Pragmatic Adjudication 235
Freestanding Legal Pragmatism 254
What's Pragmatic about Legal Pragmatism? 275
Pragmatism and Law: A Response to David Luban 304
It's Positivist, It's a Pragmatist, It's a Codifier! Reflections on Nietzsche and Stendhal 312
Pragmatism, Pluralism, and Legal Interpretation: Posner's and Rorty's Justice without Metaphysics Meets Hate Speech 324
Pragmatism, Culture, and Art
Why Do Pragmatists Want to Be Like Poets? 347
Pragmatists and Poets: A Response to Richard Poirier 362
The Novelist of Everyday Life 370
When Mind Is a Verb: Thomas Eakins and the Work of Doing 377
Religion and the Recent Revival of Pragmatism 404
Afterword
Truth and Toilets: Pragmatism and the Practices of Life 418
Selected Bibliography 435
Contributors 441
Index 445
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