OF all the philosophies which today compete in the market place of ideas, Pragmatism alone can claim to be truly American in birth, outlook, and emphasis.1 And to these rightful claims could be added the fact that no other philosophy has influenced so greatly American opinion and behavior in every field of individual and collective effort: from law to education; from social policy to religion, politics and morality.
Despite the fact that the term, Pragmatism, does not refer to a single unified formal system of thought, it is possible to indicate certain specific conceptions which controlled the thinking of its three distinguished founders, Charles S. Peirce ( 1839-1914), William James ( 1842-1910) and John Dewey ( 1859-1952). The application of these conceptions in the specialized fields of philosophy constitutes the substance of the Pragmatic contribution to contemporary Western thought.
Human experience, human will, and human intelligence furnish the foundations upon which Pragmatism rests. Each pragmatic thinker, however, has felt free to define and apply these conceptions in his own way to the clarification and solution of particular problems2 while remaining a true exponent of this philosophy.
The United States at the end of the nineteenth century furnished a most propitious environment for the birth and develop____________________