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Truth, Politics, Morality: Pragmatism and Deliberation Hardcover – December 29, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0415140355 ISBN-10: 0415140358
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Editorial Reviews


...a major contribution to the philosophical literature on public deliberation, and should consequently find an interested audience beyond the circles of American Philosophy.
–Semiotic Inquiry

...a delight to read. The account Cheryl Misak gives of knowledge and truth is sophisticated, but readily understood.
–Robert L. Frazier, Christ Church, Oxford

Cheryl Misak develops and defends a lucid, well-informed, and attractive argument...valuable reading for anyone with serious interests in liberalism, democracy or truth.
–Henry Richardson, Georgetown University

About the Author

Cheryl Misak is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and author of Verificationism (1995), published by Routledge.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (December 29, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415140358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415140355
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,209,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Talisse on October 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In this book, Cheryl Misak develops and defends a Peircean conception of truth and a pragmatist moral epistemology. She then shows how a proper understanding of core epistemic concepts such as belief, truth, and inquiry commits us to a radically democratic and deliberative politics. Finally, she shows how her Peircean politics can respond forcefully to challenges from radical anti-democrats (such as Schmitt). This is by far the best book on pragmatism and democracy written in in the past twenty years. None of the recent work on Dewey's politics comes close. An absolutely essential read for anyone interested in democracy, deliberation, or pragmatism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Misak provides a well argued exposition of the application of Charles Peirce's pragmatism to politics and morality. Peirce, writing in 19th century America, is recognized there and abroad as initiating a distinctly American philosophy. While his focus is on logic and truth of the sort found in science, he also writes significantly about how his ideas apply to the broader and more problematic areas of political and moral deliberation.

Peirce approaches the notion of truth by starting with the notion of belief. We all have beliefs about a wide variety of topics. Belief, according to Peirce, is all we, including the scientists among us, ever have. Truth is a property of belief. So, perhaps we are better off using the adjective 'true' instead of the noun 'truth.' That is, we should ask whether a particular belief is true. Our task, as seekers of truth, is to work to make our beliefs as defensible as possible against the challenges from the community of seekers of truth. And revise them, when they are no longer defensible. That is the best we can do. There is no authority that will tell us what is true. We must be satisfied with never being certain that a belief is true.

This characterization of truth as defensible belief is encompasses political and moral deliberation as well as scientific. Misak explains clearly and in detail how it applies. Peirce consistently argues that a defensible belief is one that has been subjected to rigorous logically argumentation. Beliefs arise as hypotheses from our experience. We use deduction to infer other beliefs as consequences. And then we check the collection of beliefs we arrive at through these deductions against our experiences. And so it goes - round and round. In this manner we make our beliefs ever more defensible.
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