The Revival of Pragmatism

New Essays on Social Thought, Law, and Culture

The Revival of Pragmatism

Post-Contemporary Interventions

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Book Pages: 464 Illustrations: 5 photographs Published: November 1998

Subjects
Law > Legal Theory, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Theory, Theory and Philosophy

Although long considered the most distinctive American contribution to philosophy, pragmatism—with its problem-solving emphasis and its contingent view of truth—lost popularity in mid-century after the advent of World War II, the horror of the Holocaust, and the dawning of the Cold War. Since the 1960s, however, pragmatism in many guises has again gained prominence, finding congenial places to flourish within growing intellectual movements. This volume of new essays brings together leading philosophers, historians, legal scholars, social thinkers, and literary critics to examine the far-reaching effects of this revival.
As the twenty-five intellectuals who take part in this discussion show, pragmatism has become a complex terrain on which a rich variety of contemporary debates have been played out. Contributors such as Richard Rorty, Stanley Cavell, Nancy Fraser, Robert Westbrook, Hilary Putnam, and Morris Dickstein trace pragmatism’s cultural and intellectual evolution, consider its connection to democracy, and discuss its complex relationship to the work of Emerson, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein. They show the influence of pragmatism on black intellectuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois, explore its view of poetic language, and debate its effects on social science, history, and jurisprudence. Also including essays by critics of the revival such as Alan Wolfe and John Patrick Diggins, the volume concludes with a response to the whole collection from Stanley Fish.
Including an extensive bibliography, this interdisciplinary work provides an in-depth and broadly gauged introduction to pragmatism, one that will be crucial for understanding the shape of the transformations taking place in the American social and philosophical scene at the end of the twentieth century.

Contributors. Richard Bernstein, David Bromwich, Ray Carney, Stanley Cavell, Morris Dickstein, John Patrick Diggins, Stanley Fish, Nancy Fraser, Thomas C. Grey, Giles Gunn, Hans Joas, James T. Kloppenberg, David Luban, Louis Menand, Sidney Morgenbesser, Richard Poirier, Richard A. Posner, Ross Posnock, Hilary Putnam, Ruth Anna Putnam, Richard Rorty, Michel Rosenfeld, Richard H. Weisberg, Robert B. Westbrook, Alan Wolfe


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Morris Dickstein is Distinguished Professor of English at Queens College and at the Graduate School of the City University of New York. His previous books include Double Agent: The Critic and Society and Gates of Eden: American Culture in the Sixties.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments

Introduction: Pragmatism Then and Now / Morris Dickstein

What Difference Does Pragmatism Make? The View From Philosophy

Pragmatism as Romantic Polytheism / Richard Rorty

Pragmatism and Realism / Hilary Putnam

Response to Hilary Putnam’s “Pragmatism and Realism” / Sidney Morgenbesser

The Moral Impulse / Ruth Anna Putnam

What’s the Use of Calling Emerson a Pragmatist? / Stanley Cavell

Pragmatism and the Remaking of Social Thought

Pragmatism: An Old Name for Some New Ways of Thinking? / James T. Kloppenberg

Pragmatism and Democracy: Reconstructing the Logic of John Dewey’s Faith / Robert B. Westbrook

Community in the Pragmatic Tradition / Richard J. Bernstein

Another Pragmatism: Alain Locke, Critical “Race” Theory, and the Politics of Culture / Nancy Fraser

Going Astray, Going Forward: Du Boisian Pragmatism and Its Lineage / Ross Posnock

The Inspiration of Pragmatism: Some Personal Remarks / Hans Joas

The Missing Pragmatic Revival in American Social Science / Alan Wolfe

Pragmatism and Its Limits / John Patrick Diggins

Pragmatism and Law

Pragmatic Adjudication / Richard A. Posner

Freestanding Legal Pragmatism / Thomas C. Grey

What’s Pragmatic about Legal Pragmatism? / David Luban

Pragmatism and Law: A Response to David Luban / Richard Rorty

It’s a Positivist, It’s a Pragmatist, It’s a Codifier! Reflections on Nietzsche and Stendhal / Richard H. Weisberg

Pragmatism, Pluralism, and Legal Interpretations: Posner’s and Rorty’s Justice without Metaphysics Meets Hate Speech / Michael Rosenfeld

Pragmatism, Culture, and Art

Why Do Pragmatists Want to Be Like Poets? / Richard Poirier

Pragmatists and Poets: A Response to Richard Poirier / Louis Menand

The Novelist of Everyday Life / David Bromwich

When Mind Is a Verb: Thomas Eakins and the Work of Doing / Ray Carney

Religion and the Recent Revival of Pragmatism, Giles Gunn

Afterword

Truth and Toilets: Pragmatism and the Practices of Life / Stanely Fish

Selected Bibliography

Contributors

Index
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2245-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2228-3
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