1st Edition

Pragmatism, Pluralism, and the Nature of Philosophy

By Scott F. Aikin, Robert B. Talisse Copyright 2018
    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    For the past fifteen years, Aikin and Talisse have been working collaboratively on a new vision of American pragmatism, one which sees pragmatism as a living and developing philosophical idiom that originates in the work of the "classical" pragmatisms of Charles Peirce, William James, and John Dewey, uninterruptedly develops through the later 20th Century pragmatists (C. I. Lewis, Wilfrid Sellars, Nelson Goodman, W. V. O. Quine), and continues through the present day. According to Aikin and Talisse, pragmatism is fundamentally a metaphilosophical proposal – a methodological suggestion for carrying inquiry forward amidst ongoing deep disagreement over the aims, limitations, and possibilities of philosophy. This conception of pragmatism not only runs contrary to the dominant self-understanding among cotemporary philosophers who identify with the classical pragmatists, it also holds important implications for pragmatist philosophy. In particular, Aikin and Talisse show that their version of pragmatism involves distinctive claims about epistemic justification, moral disagreement, democratic citizenship, and the conduct of inquiry. The chapters combine detailed engagements with the history and development of pragmatism with original argumentation aimed at a philosophical audience beyond pragmatism.

    Foreword Cheryl Misak

    1. Introduction: The Problems of Pragmatist Philosophers

    Part I. Encounters with the Classical Idiom

    2. Peirce’s Mixed Theory of Epistemic Justification

    3. Fixing Belief as Epistemic Conduct

    4. Clifford’s Pragmatism and the Will to Believe

    5. James’s Moral Philosophy

    6. What is Living and What is Dead in Deweyan Political Theory

    Part II. Pragmatism and Metaphilosophy

    7. Against Triumphalism: Defending Analytic Pragmatism

    8. Metaphilosophical Creep

    9. Pragmatist Metaphilosophy and Skepticism

    Part III. Pragmatist Proposals

    10. Can Pragmatist be Pluralists?

    11. The Ethics of Inquiry

    12. Global Expressivism: Is it Still Cool?

    13. On a Certain Blindness in Pragmatist Political Philosophy

    14. Public Argument in a Free Society

    15. Epilogue: Pragmatism as Minimalist Metaphilosophy


    Scott F. Aikin is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He works primarily on pragmatism, epistemology, and argumentation theory. He has written more than fifty scholarly essays, and he has authored two books: Epistemology and the Regress Problem (2011) and Evidentialism and the Will to Believe (2014).

    Robert B. Talisse is W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Political Science, and Department Chair of the Philosophy Department at Vanderbilt University. His research focuses on pragmatism and contemporary political philosophy. He is the author of more than 100 scholarly articles, and several books, including Democracy and Moral Conflict (2009) and Engaging Political Philosophy (2016).