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Pragmatism: An Introduction provides a comprehensive and up-to-date account of the arguments of the central figures of American pragmatism. It is a wide-ranging and accessible introduction to the work of the classical pragmatists Charles Saunders Peirce, William James and John Dewey, as well as more recent figures including Richard Rorty, Richard J. Bernstein, Cheryl Misak and Robert B. Brandom. In a cogent and engaging analysis, Michael Bacon shows that the pragmatists insist on the centrality of social practice for philosophy. In so doing they oppose many of the presumptions that have dominated philosophy since Descartes. Rather than conceive of knowledge and truth as accurately representing a mind-independent reality, Bacon illustrates how pragmatists view them in terms of success in addressing the particular problems that confront human beings in the course of their lives. The book explores the diverse range of positions within the field which have often resulted in marked and sometimes acrimonious disputes amongst pragmatist thinkers. Bacon sheds light on these differences by identifying the themes which underlie them, suggesting greater commonality than might be expected. The result is an illuminating narrative of a rich philosophical movement which will be of interest to students in philosophy, politics, and the history of ideas.
Michael Bacon is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, Department of Politics and international Relations, Royal Holloway, University of London
Table of Contents
The Birth of Pragmatism
John Dewey on Philosophy and Democracy
Pragmatism and Analytic Philosophy
Neo-Pragmatism: Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam
Between Europe and America
The Return of Peirce
Rationalist Pragmatism and Pragmatic Naturalism
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