Visit the Cybrarian John Shook
C. I. Lewis
W. V. Quine
There has been much talk of pragmatism's "eclipse" during analytic philosophy's greatest dominance from 1950 to 1990. The myth must be corrected: pragmatism was never eclipsed. While pragmatism was a prominent competitor with rival neo-idealisms and new realisms during the first two decades of the 20th century, pragmatism had few representatives across the top twenty philosophy departments. Already quite marginalized in the 1920s and 1930s, the handful of pragmatist professors such as Dewey at Columbia and Mead at Chicago encouraged many of their students to go into psychology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, education, and economics. Many of the best new minds favorable towards pragmatism strongly influenced the social sciences during the 1940s - 1980s.
In philosophy departments, pragmatism remained marginalized. However, Harvard and Columbia were still fairly pragmatic and carried on the debate. C.I. Lewis, Morton White, and W.V. Quine at Harvard, along with Ernest Nagel, Signey Morgenbesser, and Isaac Levi at Columbia, each pursued some pragmatist themes. Many of their students have in turn defended selected pragmatist views, much diluted and transformed, but still consistent with pragmatic naturalism (eg. views seen in Putnam, Davidson, Dennett, Churchland, etc). Supplemented by the efforts of renegade analytic philosophers such as Richard Rorty, pragmatism remained marginalized, yet very potent and defended by a few major figures at prominent philosophy departments. Visit The Genealogy Center for details. When philosophy became more interdisciplinary in the 1990s, its encounters with linguistics, anthropology, cognitive science, semiotics, etc., brought it back into contact with flourishing pragmatist views.
In summary, pragmatism has been a small but potent philosophy before and after WW II. Its contemporary vitality is enhanced by philosophy's re-engagement with the social and cognitive sciences. --J.S.
Nearly 300 scholars are included in the Cybrary's lists of philosophy professors whose research and teaching interests include pragmatism. Where did they come from? Which doctoral programs turn out graduates who learned about pragmatism and maintained that interest in their careers? The Pragmatism Cybrary won't rate PhD programs for quality or job placement, but these numbers let you draw your own conclusions. Note that most of these programs have turned out pragmatists for generations.
Columbia University, 19. Fordham University, 14. Southern Illinois University, 13. Vanderbilt University, 12. Pennsylvania State University, 11. University of Chicago, 11. Saint Louis University, 10. SUNY at Stony Brook, 10. University of Notre Dame, 10. Yale University, 10. Boston University, 9. Harvard University, 9. Princeton University, 8. University of Pennsylvania, 8. Emory University, 7. Purdue University, 6. University of Texas, 6. Boston College, 5. Claremont Graduate University, 5. Loyola University, Chicago, 5. University of Miami, 5. University of Oregon, 5. City University of New York, 4. Tulane University, 4. Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 4. University of Michigan, 4. University of Western Ontario, 4.
Pragmatism was the original functional psychology and cognitive science that (1) explains intelligence in terms of deliberate purposive conduct, and (2) explains knowledge as successful predictions about manipulating nature. Experience and mind are not limited to, or reducible to, brain events -- experience, mind, and the like are evolving natural systems of organism-environment transactions.
You can read defenses of some or all of these principles in the recent works of
Andy Clark (Edinburgh,
UK), Susan Hurley (Bristol, UK),
Alva Noë (UC Berkeley,
USA), Mark Rowlands
(Hertfordshire, UK), Robert Wilson
(Alberta, CAN), and Teed Rockwell
points of interest
Richard Rorty (1931-2007) was the most prominent "neo-pragmatist" for three decades, teaching at Princeton, Virginia, and Stanford. His best known books include Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature and Philosophy and Social Hope.
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Contemporary Pragmatism is an interdisciplinary, international journal for discussing pragmatism, and applying pragmatism to current topics.
Click here to find out more.