Sidney Hook played a unique and often controversial role in contemporary American philosophy. Among the chief heirs to the pragmatic tradition, this student of John Dewey illustrated, perhaps more than any other philosopher, the application of pragmatic intelligence to ethical, social, and political issues. But since its founding in the 19th century by Charles Sanders Peirce, the pragmatic school had been criticized as anti-metaphysical and its focus on scientific method and critical inquiry viewed as undermining one of the very foundations of traditional philosophy. First published in 1927, Sidney Hook wrote The Metaphysics Of Pragmatism as his doctoral dissertation to juxtapose the terms "metaphysics" and "pragmatism" thereby showing that the pragmatic method cannot begin to help us solve human problems without holding to a particular view of how the world is arranged both physically and conceptually. As his groundbreaking (and career launching) study shows, pragmatism has an interactive dimension in which human problems are contingent on the ways we structure our questions and design methods for finding solutions, both of which can change (and the implied metaphysic evolves) as inquiry uncovers new information about ourselves and the world. Though in his "early years" at the time of The Metaphysics Of Pragmatism, Hook's skill in writing and persuasion is quite evident in this classic work from one of America's leading pragmatists. -- Midwest Book Review
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