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Preludes to Pragmatism: Toward a Reconstruction of Philosophy 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0199899555
ISBN-10: 019989955X
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Editorial Reviews


"Preludes to Pragmatism is an important and rewarding book."--Christopher Hookway, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"In this lively and lucid collection of essays, Philip Kitcher--one of America's leading philosophers--seeks to further the reform of philosophy inspired by the pragmatic tradition of James and Dewey. Critical of the current state of Anglophone philosophy, he develops a pragmatic naturalism that deals with some of the most pressing cultural issues of our time-including the meaning of value in contemporary society and the reconciliation of science and religion. Anyone interested in the creative potential of pragmatism for the reconstruction of philosophy today will find this insightful book invaluable."--Richard J. Bernstein, Vera List Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research

"In articles ranging from metaphysics and philosophy of mathematics to ethics and the philosophy of religion, Preludes to Pragmatism develops and makes a powerful case for pragmatic naturalism. By drawing on, extending, and emending ideas drawn from the classical pragmatists, Philip Kitcher argues that no appeal to transcendent, non-natural entities is required to underwrite our deepest theoretical commitments, or rationalize our practices."--Catherine Z. Elgin, Harvard University

"Philip Kitcher's Preludes to Pragmatism offers a radical 'reconstruction of philosophy' which aims to renew the projects of William James and John Dewey. Advocating a form of 'pragmatic naturalism,' Kitcher's aim is not simply to use pragmatist ideas as material for a more sophisticated reformed 'normal philosophy.' Rather than using pragmatist ideas to provide better solutions to familiar problems, he follows Dewey in seeking to 'liberate philosophy' from familiar questions that can now be transcended. Whether discussing atheism or secularism, race or altruism, he meets familiar views with pragmatist challenges that can change the philosophical terrain. In doing so, he contributes to the truth of his claim that pragmatism is one of the most significant developments in the history of philosophy."--Christopher Hookway, University of Sheffield

About the Author

Philip Kitcher is a John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019989955X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199899555
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.4 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,064,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Philip Kitcher (New York, NY) is John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He is the author of twelve books, including Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith; In Mendel's Mirror: Philosophical Reflections on Biology; Science, Truth, and Democracy; and The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities. Professor Kitcher was the first recipient of the Prometheus Prize awarded by the American Philosophical Association for "lifetime contribution to expanding the frontiers of research in philosophy and science." He is also the winner of many other awards, most recently the Award for Distinguished Service to the Columbia Core Curriculum, the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award from Columbia University, the Lannan Foundation Notable Book Award (given for Living with Darwin), and the Friend of Darwin Award (given by the National Committee on Science Education).

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Format: Hardcover
Two generations of Anglophone philosophers taught their students that Charles S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey were, as Kitcher succinctly frames the old prejudice in this book, "well-intentioned but benighted, laboring with crude tools to develop ideas that were [so the story went] far more rigorously and exactly shaped by the immigrants from Central Europe whose work generated" the "analytic" tradition in philosophy. Kitcher notes that some recent neopragmatist scholarship on Dewey has sought, as a sort of re-domestication project, to bring him back into "the pantheon of respectable philosophers." Yet the point for Dewey, Kitcher observes, was "not to continue philosophy-as-usual, but to change it." In Preludes to Pragmatism, Kitcher compellingly presents Dewey's naturalism as a powerful alternative to the anemia of philosophy too often approached as a form of verbal conquest and scholasticism confined to “timeless” core problems manufactured by a small esoteric class of symbolic technicians.
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