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Pragmatism and European Social Theory
Europan Studies in Social Theory
NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Pragmatism is the golden thread running through American social thought and is often seen as the quintessential philosophical tradition of American liberal democracy. Whereas pragmatism was committed to clarity and simplicity of its ideas, European social theory has been seen by its critics as deliberately vague, abstract and obscure.
Since its early condemnation by Durkheim as a dangerous ‘attack on reason,’ the philosophy of pragmatism has won more resistance than recognition from European theorists, their critique partly fueled by misinterpreting this American-born philosophy through stereotypes of American culture as narrowly mercenary, instrumentalist, and philistine. With the resurgence of pragmatism in Anglo-American philosophy, there is growing recognition of its valuable impact on European thought, especially with respect to social and political theory. Pragmatism and European Social Theory provides a very helpful contribution to exploring this influence and furthering an important dialogue.
Pragmatism is the paradigmatic social theory of knowledge, but the ‘social’ has typically been ignored by philosophers. This collection explores many of the dimensions of the social in pragmatism, with a salutary emphasis on Peirce, James and Rorty. By doing so it returns pragmatism to its original status as a disturbing challenge: difficult to assimilate, difficult to accept.