Pragmatic Encounters: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Pragmatic Encounters

1st Edition

By Richard J. Bernstein


244 pages

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Richard J. Bernstein is a leading exponent of American pragmatism and one of the foremost philosophers of the twentieth century. In this collection he takes a pragmatic approach to specific problems and issues to demonstrate the ongoing importance of this philosophical tradition. Topics under discussion include multiculturalism, political public life, evil and religion. Individual philosophers studied are Kant, Arendt, Rorty, Habermas, Dewey and Trotsky. Each of the sixteen essays, many of which are published here for the first time, offers a way of bridging contemporary philosophical differences. This book will be of interest to scholars of philosophy and those researching social and political theory.


"This book offers a selection of the papers that Richard J. Bernstein has written or given over the past 10 years or so. Together they offer an appealing picture of what he calls his 'engaged fallibilistic pluralism,' a pluralism that stems from the American pragmatists and is enriched by 'encounters' with, among others, Arendt, Gadamer, Habermas, Rorty and Taylor . . . Bernstein is always concerned to find his own common ground with the thinkers he 'encounters.' His interest is in discovering what we can take away from a thinker rather than locating where he or she might have failed . . . Pragmatic Encounters is a generous book and a pleasure to read." Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Table of Contents

Introduction Section I: Pragmatism and its History 1. The Romance of Philosophy 2. The Pragmatic Turn 3. Richard Rorty: ‘So much the worse for your old intuitions, start working up some new ones’ 4. John Dewey’s Encounter with Leon Trotsky Section II: Democracy and Pluralism 5. The Spectre Haunting Multiculturalism 6. Cultural Pluralism 7. Charles Taylor’s Engaged Pluralism 8. Democratic Hope 9. The Normative Core of the Public Sphere Section III: Critique in Dark Times 10. Herbert Marcuse’s Critical Legacy 11. Hannah Arendt: Thought-Defying Evil 12. The Justification of Violence? Section IV: Morality, Politics and Religion 13. Can we Justify Universal Moral Norms? 14. Is Politics ‘Practicable’ without Religion? 15. The Secular-Religious Divide: Kant’s Legacy 16. Paul Ricoeur’s Freud

About the Author

Richard J. Bernstein is Vera List Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, USA

About the Series

Routledge Studies in American Philosophy

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.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Political
PHILOSOPHY / Movements / Pragmatism