Pragmatism and Objectivity: Essays Sparked by the Work of Nicholas Rescher, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Pragmatism and Objectivity

Essays Sparked by the Work of Nicholas Rescher, 1st Edition

Edited by Sami Pihlström


282 pages

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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


Cheryl Misak:


Sami Pihlström

Part I: Truth and Reality

Chapter 1. Pragmatic Realism, Idealism, and Pluralism: A Rescherian Balance?

Sami Pihlström

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

Griffin Klemick:

Chapter 4: Pragmatism and Science

Robert Almeder

Chapter 5. Is Kant a Confused Pragmatist?

Tom Rockmore

Chapter 6. Toward a More Peircean Version of Pragmatic Realism

Vincent Colapietro

Part II: Reasoning

Chapter 7. Ramsey’s Theory of Belief and the Problem of Attitude Divergence

Jessica Wright

Chapter 8. Concrete Reasonableness and Pragmatist Ideals: Peirce and Rescher on Normative Theory

Rosa Mayorga

Chapter 9. Obliquely about Realism: The State of Play of a Minor Affair

Joseph Margolis

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

Helmut Pape

Chapter 12. Psychology of Desire and the Pragmatics of Betterment

Timo Airaksinen

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

About the Editor

Sami Pihlström is Director of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

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.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Epistemology
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy