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