Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Great Divide: Neoclassical- vs. Neo-Pragmatism

A chasm divides neoclassical- and neo-pragmatist scholarship in philosophy.

The neoclassicals are the inheritors of the living tradition of classical pragmatism, and anchor themselves to elaborating or developing that tradition. They're historians and/or producers of new ideas in the wake of the founding thinkers.

The neopragmatists are borrowers of a few good ideas of classical pragmatism. They are united by a family resemblance among themselves, and not the various theses of classical or contemporary thinkers. 

A historic discontinuity divides neopragmatism from classical pragmatism, while an intellectual discontinuity divides neopragmatists from neoclassicals. But there is more to it. Neopragmatists are also analytic philosophers, and thus have the institutional support of being members of the dominant tradition of philosophy in the English-speaking world. This underlies a lot of strife, which is visible at the various conferences run by neoclassicals, as there is a reputation and economic deficit.

An anonymous poster sparked my musement on the distinction by linking an Q&A with Huw Price, self-reported "pragmatist." Guess what kind of pragmatist he is by the following question-and-answer that I give in the comments.

Against Rachels' Elements of morality

I greatly dislike James and Stuart Rachels’ The Elements of Morality. It introduces contemporary ethical theories to beginning students, and I am required to use it in my ethics course this semester. My dislike stems from its approach, which I call the “logical problem” approach to subjects that is typical in analytic philosophy. The ideals, motivations, contexts, etc. are sublimated to the logical adequacy of the argument, and the author heavily interprets historic arguments to present them as logically adequate. The author attempts to be accessible, and much of the text is fantastic in this regard, but forgets that the beginning student is completely unmoved by notions of (abstract) reason, logical adequacy, validity, etc. These concerns only make sense to a specialized audience, and in my verb may be beside the point.

The poor treatment of David Hume motivates my criticism. The text presents Hume as kin of “subjectivism” and “emotivism,” yet the connection misrepresents his position so badly that I am shocked to read it in print.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Feminist Pragmatism in Place Schedule Out!

Feminist Pragmatism in Place

University of Dayton Philosophy Department Colloquium
October 19-20, 2012

The schedule is out!

* I don't want to post it here, and I cannot find a copy on the net. If you want it, I have posted it as a comment. *

Winners of Best Edited Volume Goes to Contemporary Feminist Pragmatism!

Prof. David Hildebrand offer the following congratulatory announcement.

Congratulations to SAAP Members Maurice Hamington and Celia Bardwell-Jones. Their edited volume, *Contemporary Feminist Pragmatism *(Routledge, 2012) was named Outstanding Edited Book by the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender (OSCLG) and will be given the award at their Annual Meeting in October.

Many of the contributors to the volume are SAAP members as well: Shannon Sullivan, V. Denise James, Amrita Banerjee, Susan Dieleman, Judy D. Whipps, Lisa Heldke, Babara Thayer-Bacon, Cynthia Willett, Cathryn Bailey, Claudia Gillberg, Erin McKenna, and Heather E. Keith.

You can read about the book at:

Saturday, September 8, 2012

IV Congreso Iberoamericano de Filosofía: El Pragmatismo en Diálogo

IV Congreso Iberoamericano de Filosofía,
Santiago de Chile, del 5 al 9 de noviembre de 2012.

Título del simposio: *El Pragmatismo en Diálogo*

Gregory Fernando Pappas,

Aurelia Di Berardino, Universidad de la Plata, Argentina
Ángel M. Faerna, Universidad de Toledo, Espana
Laura Inés García, U.N.C. – CONICET, Argentina
Daniel Kalpokas, UNC-CONICET, Argentina
Veronica Tozzi, UBA-UNTREF-CONICET, Argentina
Claudio Viale, UNC-CONICET, Argentina
Roger Ward, Georgetown College, USA
Federico Penelas, UBA/CONICET/GAF, Argentina
Gregory Fernando Pappas, Texas A & M University, USA
Pablo Quintanilla, PUCP, Peru

Tema y objetivo:

Algo admirable del “pragmatismo” como tendencia o corriente filosófica es
el hecho que ha evolucionado y que cuenta con una pluralidad de versiones y
modalidades. Nunca en la historia de la filosofía tantos y tan diversos
pensadores han sido catalogados como “pragmatistas”. A pesar de esta
inclusividad y diversidad no hubo suficiente diálogo entre los miembros de
esta tradición filosófica sobre las diferencias en su pensamiento. En la
familia de pragmatistas existen importantes tensiones que nuestro simposio
se propone examinar y confrontar por medio de un diálogo entre
investigadores de diferentes países de las Américas. Este diálogo entre
pragmatistas girará en torno a las siguientes preguntas: cuáles son
las más profundas
discrepancias entre pragmatistas contemporáneos (Putnam y Rorty), y también
entre los neo-pragmatistas (Rorty, Brandom Davidson) y los pragmatistas
clásicos (James, Dewey, Peirce) ¿Cuáles son las diferencias entre
“pragmatistas” en cuanto a la naturaleza de las emociones, la experiencia,
la percepción, el conocimiento, el lenguaje, las religión y las
creencias?Además proponemos contrastar el pensamiento
de los pragmatistas clásicos y neopragmaticos con* *algunas concepciones
contemporáneas sobre* *estos temas que son tan centrales en la filosofía.

Gregory Fernando Pappas, PhD

Professor of Philosophy, Texas A&M University
Fulbright Scholar '12-'13
Editor-in-Chief of the Inter-American Journal of Philosophy
* *

New Edition of Dewey's The Public and Its Problems

*The Public and Its Problems: An Essay in Political Inquiry*

*By John Dewey, and Edited and with an introduction by Melvin L. Rogers*

The revival of interest in pragmatism and its practical relevance for
democracy has prompted a reconsideration of John Dewey’s political
philosophy. Dewey’s *The Public and Its Problems *(1927) constitutes his
richest and most systematic meditation on the future of democracy in an age
of mass communication, governmental bureaucracy, social complexity, and
pluralism. Drawing on his previous writings and prefiguring his later
thinking, Dewey argues for the importance of civic participation and
clarifies the meaning and role of the state, the proper relationship
between the public and experts, and the source of democracy’s legitimacy.
These themes remain as important today as they were when Dewey first
engaged them, and this is the work to which scholars consistently turn when
assessing Dewey’s conception of democracy and what might be imagined for
democracy in our own time.

In this carefully annotated edition, Melvin L. Rogers provides an
introductory essay that elucidates the philosophical and historical
background of *The Public and Its Problems* while explaining the key ideas
of the book. He also provides a biographical outline of Dewey’s life and
bibliographical notes to assist student and scholar alike.

208 pages
ISBN 978-0-271-05569-5 | cloth: $69.95
ISBN 978-0-271-05570-1 | paper: $20.95

Here's the URL of the web page for that title:

Monday, September 3, 2012

First European Pragmatism Conference

First European Pragmatism Conference
Rome, 19-21 September 2012

The First European Pragmatism Conference, organized by the Nordic
Pragmatism Network <> and the Associazione
takes place in Rome on September 19-21, 2012. The conference will be held
in Roma Tre University, Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Via Ostiense 234,

The purpose of the conference is for the first time to bring
togetherdifferent European groups and individuals working on the tradition
of pragmatism and American philosophy. The focus of the conference is on a
better understanding of the contemporary relevance of American philosophy
in general, and pragmatism in particular. American philosophy is here
considered as a proper philosophical tradition, distinguished from, and
capable of a dialogue with other traditions.

The conference is sponsored by the Philosophy Department and the Head of
Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of Roma Tre University, and the Department
of Human Historical and Social Sciences of the University of Molise. The
Nordic Pragmatism Network has received financial support from NordForsk.

The organizing committee: Rosa M. Calcaterra (Università Roma Tre); Roberto
Frega (Institute for Advanced Studies, Paris); Giovanni Maddalena
(University of Molise); Sami Pihlström (University of Helsinki); Henrik
Rydenfelt (University of Helsinki).

For more details and the full conference programme, please visit the
conference webpage at: