Preludes to Pragmatism: Toward a Reconstruction of Philosophy

Preludes to Pragmatism: Toward a Reconstruction of Philosophy

Preludes to Pragmatism: Toward a Reconstruction of Philosophy

Preludes to Pragmatism: Toward a Reconstruction of Philosophy

Synopsis

The published essays of Philip Kitcher included here, alongside a detailed introduction setting out his views, provide, motivation for his view of the "reconstruction of philosophy." These essays try to install the pragmatic spirit into contemporary philosophy, renewing James and Dewey for our own times.

Excerpt

I would like to thank Peter Ohlin for his encouragement and advice, and two referees who offered valuable suggestions about an earlier version.

Many of the essays were improved by the comments and questions of a large number of people, and most of my debts are recorded in footnotes. I would like, in addition, to single out a few people whose influence, whether through teaching, conversation, or their writings, has been pervasive. in this regard, I am grateful to Richard Bernstein, Isaac Levi, Hilary Putnam, and Jerry Schneewind.

My debts to Richard Rorty and to Sidney Morgenbesser are even greater. Dick Rorty’s teaching long ago at Princeton planted seeds that have taken a long time to germinate. Perhaps that would never have happened but for a long series of discussions with Sidney Morgenbesser that led me both to write some of the following essays and also to see some of my earlier work in a different light. I am only sorry that we can no longer continue the conversations.

Work on this collection was completed in the wonderful intellectual environment of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. I would like to thank all those who make WiKo such a special place for academic work, and also to express my gratitude to the Humboldt Stiftung for its support.

Over forty years ago, I moved from mathematics, first to history of science and then to the philosophy of science. That trajectory was largely inspired by my reading a book that is now celebrating its 50th Anniversary, Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. in the years since, I have often responded to challenges I have found in Tom Kuhn’s writings, but in the course I am now following I see more clearly the enduring significance of his ideas. So I dedicate this collection to his memory.

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