Pragmatism and Objectivity illuminates the nature of contemporary pragmatism against the background of Rescher’s work, resulting in a stronger grasp of the prospects and promises of this philosophical movement. The central insight of pragmatism is that we must start from where we find ourselves and deflate metaphysical theories of truth in favor of an account that reflects our actual practices of the concept. Pragmatism links truth and rationality to experience, success, and action. While crude versions of pragmatism state that truth is whatever works for a person or a community, Nicholas Rescher has been at the forefront of arguing for a more sophisticated pragmatist position. According to his position, we can illuminate a robust concept of truth by considering its links with inquiry, assertion, belief, and action. His brand of pragmatism is objective and organized around truth and inquiry, rather than other forms of pragmatism that are more subjective and lenient. The contingency and fallibility of knowledge and belief formation does not mean that our beliefs are simply what our community decides, or that truth and objectivity are spurious notions. Rescher offers the best chance of understanding how it is that beliefs can be the products of human inquiry yet aim at the truth nonetheless. The essays in this volume, written by established and up-and-coming scholars of pragmatism, touch on themes related to epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and ethics.
Table of Contents
Part I: Truth and Reality
Chapter 1. Pragmatic Realism, Idealism, and Pluralism: A Rescherian Balance?
Chapter 2: Pragmatism and Metaphilosophy
Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse
Chapter 3. Prospects for an Objective Pragmatism: Frank Ramsey on Truth, Meaning, and Justification
Chapter 4: Pragmatism and Science
Chapter 5. Is Kant a Confused Pragmatist?
Chapter 6. Toward a More Peircean Version of Pragmatic Realism
Part II: Reasoning
Chapter 7. Ramsey’s Theory of Belief and the Problem of Attitude Divergence
Chapter 8. Concrete Reasonableness and Pragmatist Ideals: Peirce and Rescher on Normative Theory
Chapter 9. Obliquely about Realism: The State of Play of a Minor Affair
Part III: Value
Chapter 10. Rescherean Pragmatism
Joseph C. Pitt
Chapter 11. Pragmatism and the Inseparability of Objectivity and Solidarity: Rescher on Rhetorical Rationality, Method and Cooperative Interaction
Chapter 12. Psychology of Desire and the Pragmatics of Betterment
Chapter 13. From Method to Medicine: A Pragmatist Approach to Bioethics
Diana B. Heney
Chapter 14. Moral Responsibility and the Cognitive Status of Ethical Ideals
John R. Shook
Sami Pihlström is Director of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the University of Helsinki, Finland.