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Behavioral Pragmatism: Making A Place for Reality and Truth

See the exquisite contrast of the types of mind! The pragmatist clings to facts and concreteness, observes truth at its work in particular cases, and generalises. Truth, for him, becomes a class-name for all sorts of definite working-values in experience. For the rationalist it remains a pure abstraction, to the bare name of which we must defer. When the pragmatist undertakes to show in detail just why we must defer, the rationalist is unable to recognise the concretes from which his own abstraction is taken. He accuses us of denying truth; whereas we have only sought to trace exactly why people follow it and always ought to follow it. Your typical ultra-abstractions fairly shudders at concreteness: other things equal, he positively prefers the pale and spectral. If the two universes were offered, he would always choose the skinny outline rather than the rich thicket of reality. It is so much purer, clearer, nobler.

You will probably be surprised to learn, then, that Messrs. Schiller’s and Dewey’s theories have suffered a hailstorm of contempt and ridicule. All rationalism has risen against them. In influential quarters Mr. Schiller, in particular, has been treated like an impudent schoolboy who deserves a spanking. I should not mention this, but for the fact that it throws so much sidelight upon that rationalistic temper to which I have opposed the temper of pragmatism. Pragmatism is uncomfortable away from facts. Rationalism is comfortable only in the presence of abstractions. This pragmatist talk about truths in the plural, about their utility and satisfactoriness, about the success with which they ‘work,’ etc., suggests to the typical intellectualist mind a sort of coarse lame second-rate makeshift article of truth. Such truths are not real truth. Such tests are merely subjective. As against this, objective truth must be something non-utilitarian, haughty, refined, remote, august, exalted. It must be an absolute correspondence of our thoughts with an equally absolute reality. It must be what we ought to think unconditionally. The conditioned ways in which we do think are so much irrelevance and matter for psychology. Down with psychology, up with logic, in all this question!

The note is on his book “Pragmatism and Four Essays From the Meaning of Truth

Dewey, John | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Scopri Pragmatism, A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking: Together With Four Related Essays Selected From The Meaning of Truth …

But what do the words verification and validation themselves pragmatically mean? Theyagain signify certain practical consequences of the verified and validated idea. It ishard to find any one phrase that characterizes these consequences better than the ordinaryagreementformula - just such consequences being what we have in mind whenever we say thatour ideas 'agree' with reality. They lead us, namely, through the acts and other ideaswhich they instigate, into or up to, or towards, other parts of experience with which wefeel all the while such feeling being among our potentialities -that the original ideasremain in agreement. The connexions and transitions come to us from point to point asbeing progressive, harmonious, satisfactory. This function of agreeable leading is what wemean by an idea's verification. Such an account is vague and it sounds at first quitetrivial, but it has results which it will take the rest of my hour to explain.

Let me begin by reminding you of the fact that the possession of true thoughts meanseverywhere the possession of invaluable instruments of action; and that our duty to gaintruth, so far from being a blank command from out of the blue, or a 'stunt' self-imposedby our intellect, can account for itself by excellent practical reasons.

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These views, you see, invite pragmatistic discussion. But the great assumption of theintellectualists is that truth means essentially an inert static relation. When you've gotyour true idea of anything, there's an end of the matter. You're in possession; you know;you have fulfilled your thinking destiny. You are where you ought to be mentally; youhave obeyed your categorical imperative; and nothing more need follow on that climax ofyour rational destiny. Epistemologically you are in stable equilibrium.

Pragmatism And Four Essays From The Meaning Of Truth Meridian Books M16 Document about Pragmatism And Four Essays From The Meaning Of Truth …

Some, like Mortimer Adler, argue that James held to a correspondence view of truth, but thought that truth was verified pragmatically by its effects. Others, such as Corduan and Russell, argue that James made the pragmatic effects the very meaning or essence of truth. This charge seems most obvious if it can be shown that James argues that opposing religious doctrines can be true if they work for their adherents. For instance, consider two sets of religious truth-claims:

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The Philisophy of Education by Annick Brennen


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Pragmatism is derived from the word pragmatic, meaning “dealing or concerned with facts or actual occurrences; practical.” Therefore a pragmatist is said to believe that the truth of a proposition is measured by its association with experimental results and by its practical outcome.

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Bertrand Russell, (London, 1910), p.135; quoted in Gertrude Ezorskey, “Pragmatic Theory of Truth,” in Paul Edwards, ed., (1967) 6:428. Ezorskey’s article takes the view that James’s did not hold to a correspondence view of truth, but viewed expedience as the meaning of truth. On this see Gordon Clark, (Jefferson, MD: The Trinity Foundation, 1989), pp.500-508, who likewise thinks that James abandoned the correspondence view.

Philosophy News | What is Truth?

Rorty's enduring attitude to relativism and subjectivism is that bothare products of the representationalist paradigm. Though the theme isexplicit in PM and CP ("Pragmatism, Relativism, Irrationalism"), it iswith Rorty's later and further appropriation of Davidson that hiscriticism of the idea of knowledge as representation becomes fullyelaborated (ORT "Introduction" and Part II). Drawing on Davidson'scriticism of the scheme-content distinction ("On the Very Idea of aConceptual Scheme") and of the correspondence theory of truth ("TheStructure and Content of Truth"), Rorty is able to back up hisrejection of any philosophical position or project which attempts todraw a general line between what is made and what is found, what issubjective and what is objective, what is mere appearance and what isreal. Rorty's position is not that these conceptual contrasts neverhave application, but that such application is always context andinterest bound and that there is, as in the case of the related notionof truth, nothing to be said about them in general. Rorty's commitmentto the conversationalist view of knowledge must therefore bedistinguished from subjectivism or relativism, which, Rorty argues,presuppose the very distinctions he seeks to reject. Equally, Rorty'sepistemological behaviorism must not be confused with an idealism thatasserts a primacy of thought or language with respect to the unmediatedworld, since this, too, is a position that is undercut by Rorty'sDavidsonian position. In light of the view of truth and of meaning thatRorty appropriates from Davidson, his conversationalism is not a matterof giving priority to the subjective over the objective, or to mind'spower over world's constraint. Rather it is the other side of hisanti-representationalism, which denies that we are related to the worldin anything other than causal terms. Differently put, Rorty arguesthat we can give no useful content to the notion that the world, by itsvery nature, rationally constrains choices of vocabulary with which tocope with it. (TP "The Very Idea of Human Answerability to the World:John McDowell's Version of Empiricism").

Truth about Jews: the Case Against …

CLASSICAL AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY-- CHARLES SANDERS PEIRCE-- Introduction-- Some Consequences of Four Incapacities-- The Fixation of Belief-- How to Make Our Ideas Clear-- The Doctrine of Necessity Examined-- The Categories and the Study of Signs-- What Pragmatism Is-- Issues of Pragmatism-- A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God-- Suggestions for Further Reading-- WILLIAM JAMES-- Introduction-- The Types of Philosophic Thinking-- The Stream of Thought-- A World of Pure Experience-- What Pragmatism Means-- The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life-- The Dilemma of Determinism-- The Will to Believe-- Suggestions for Further Reading-- JOSIAH ROYCE-- Introduction-- The Temporal and the Eternal-- The Body and the Members-- The Will to Interpret-- Loyalty to Loyalty, Truth, and Reality-- Loyalty and Religion-- Provincialism-- Suggestions for Further Reading-- GEORGE SANTAYANA-- Introduction-- The Genteel Tradition in American Philosophy-- Some Meanings of the Word "Is"-- Skepticism-- Essence-- Substance-- Teleology and Psyche-- Hypostatic Ethics-- The Implied Being of Truth-- Spirit-- Liberation-- Suggestions for Further Reading-- JOHN DEWEY-- Introduction-- The Need for a Recovery of Philosophy-- The Postulate of Immediate Empiricism-- Experience and Philosophic Method-- Existence as Precarious and Stable-- Nature, Communication, and Meaning-- The Pattern of Inquiry-- Education as Growth-- The Lost Individual-- Search for the Great Community-- The Live Creature and Aesthetic Experience-- Faith and Its Object-- Suggestions for Further Reading-- GEORGE HERBERT MEAD-- Introduction-- The Vocal Gesture and the Significant Symbol-- Thought, Communicaitn, and the Signficant Symbol-- Meaning-- The Nature of Reflective Intelligence-- The Nature of Scientific Knowledge-- Play, the Game, and the Generalized OTher-- The "I" and the "Me"-- The Philosophical Basis of Ethics-- Science Raises Problems for Philosophy -- Realism and Pragmatism-- The Present as the Locus of Reality-- Suggestions for Further Reading-- III.

Princeton University Press on JSTOR

In the Meridian/New American Library paperback edition, Pragmatism, and four essays from “The Meaning of Truth”, first published in 1955, it is on page 145.

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