This book proposes a pragmatist methodological framework for generating practically relevant political philosophy. It draws on John Dewey’s social and political philosophy to develop an "experimentalist" method, thus charting a middle course between idealism and realism in political philosophy. Deweyan experimentalism promises to balance civic deliberation, empirical facts, and moral considerations by reconstructing Dewey’s pragmatist conceptions of ‘philosophy’ and ‘democracy’ from the perspective of social action. While some authors have taken the steps to articulate Dewey’s experimentalism, they have focused on institutional rather than methodological implications. This book is original in the ways in which it situates the role of ideas in political practice and contemporary political problems. Additionally, it underlines the similarities between today and the historical context in which Dewey wrote, connects Dewey’s social and political philosophy to Greek and Roman mythology, and concludes with a timely case study in which the author’s methodological insights are applied. The result is a book that offers a focused reconstruction of Dewey’s work and shows its relevance for engaging with contemporary issues in political philosophy and political theory.
"This inspiring work combines informed and insightful exposition of Dewey’s philosophy with clear and compelling arguments about how to practice philosophy in ways relevant to concrete social and political problems. The scholarship is impressive, the attention to differing views responsible, and the writing style engaging. This is a valuable book for both students and scholars." – Martin Coleman, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, USA
Chapter 1: The Problem of Method in Political Philosophy
Chapter 2: In Pursuit of Relevance: Dewey's Pragmatist Rejection of the Quest for Certainty
Chapter 3: Dewey’s Experimentalist Conception of the Role of Philosophy
Chapter 4: Objecting to Dewey’s Philosophic Ideal
Chapter 5: Dewey’s Call for Democratic Renewal
Chapter 6: Dewey’s Democratic Ideal: Democracy as a Way of Life
Chapter 7: Traditional Objections to Deweyan Democracy
Chapter 8: Deweyan Democracy, Robert Talisse and the Fact of Reasonable Pluralism
Chapter 9: The Question of Method: Deweyan Experimentalism in Political Philosophy
Chapter 10: Experimentalism as a Method for 21st Century Political Philosophy: Democratic Innovation, Participatory Budgeting, and Civic Studies
This series is dedicated to monographs and essay collections that examine, from diverse theoretical perspectives, any aspects of America’s rich web of philosophical traditions, from the 17th Century onwards. Frequently associated with pragmatism, particularly in the United States, American philosophy also encompasses many other schools of thought, and has had a significant impact on the development of contemporary epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and political philosophy. By publishing outstanding treatments of its many diverse threads, this series aims to become the default resource for scholars and students interested in a full picture of American philosophy.