Pragmatism, By Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, And John Dewey

1553 Words Dec 19th, 2016 7 Pages
Pragmatism as a philosophy has become admittedly hard to define. It is now a field of philosophical thought that not only includes scholars such as Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey (whom many consider to be the founders of the tradition), but also more contemporary philosophers such as Cornel West and Richard Rorty, among many others. The sheer number of “pragmatists” who have published works over the past century and a half has created a seemingly endless number of versions of pragmatism. For instance, as we discussed in class, Peirce was primarily concerned with making philosophy more scientific in his works, while some modern scholars such as West view pragmatism as a tool to address oppression, making philosophy more focused on social justice than a strict scientific process. Yet, while pragmatism has become an incredibly diverse field of thought (Peirce even later changed his version of pragmatism to “pragmaticism” to distinguish himself from other scholars), many pragmatists share a great deal in common in terms of philosophical thought. For example, Peirce developed what is now the basis of almost all pragmatic thought in his “pragmatic maxim” which states: “Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object.” This maxim, primarily concerned with the practical effects of objects and ideas, can be…

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