Pragmatism: From Peirce to Davidson

Front Cover
Westview Press, 1990 - Philosophy - 152 pages
0 Reviews
The most important distinctively American contribution to philosophy is the pragmatist tradition. In this short, lucid, and completely convincing exposition, Professor John P. Murphy begins by exploring the roots of this tradition as found in the work of Peirce, James, and Dewey, demonstrating its power and originality. Historians of philosophy will appreciate the insight Murphy brings to these figures, but the special value of this book lies in his discussion of how the pragmatist spirit has flowered in contemporary philosophy in the work of Quine, Rorty, and Davidson.Throughout, Murphy emphasizes the logic and structure of the views held by these six philosophers and what it is they have in common that makes their work especially “pragmatist.” There is no better introduction to this historical tradition and perhaps no better way into the philosophies of the contemporaries whom Murphy discusses.Interest in pragmatist ideas is undergoing a revival at present, and this book shows us why. It will be of interest to both historians of philosophy and students of contemporary philosophy.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


About the Book and Author

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 37 - between propositions, whenever it is a genuine option that cannot by its nature be decided on intellectual grounds; for to say, under such circumstances, 'Do not decide, but leave the question open/ is itself a passional decision—just like deciding yes or no,—and is attended with the same risk of losing the truth.
Page 55 - The truth of an idea is not a stagnant property inherent in it. Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events. Its verity is in fact an event, a process: the process namely of its verifying itself, its ven-fication.
Page 38 - the life of the law has not been logic, it has been experience. The felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories, intuitions of public policy, avowed or unconscious, even the prejudices which judges share with their fellow men, have a good deal more to do than the syllogism in determining the rules by which men shall be governed.
Page 27 - Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object.
Page 15 - sustaining of a thought because I choose to when I might have other thoughts"—need be the definition of an illusion. At any rate, I will assume for the present—until next year—that it is no illusion. My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.
Page 55 - The true,' to put it very briefly, is only the expedient in the way of our thinking, just as 'the right' is only the expedient in the way of our behaving. Expedient in almost any fashion; and expedient in the long
Page 3 - The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real.
Page 47 - the whole function of philosophy ought to be to find out what definite difference it will make to you and me, at definite instants of our life, if this world-formula or that world-formula be the one which is true.
Page 55 - Truth for us is simply a collective name for verificationprocesses, just as health, wealth, strength, etc., are names for other processes connected with life, and also pursued because it pays to pursue them. Truth is made, just as health, wealth, and strength are made, in the course of experience,
Page 56 - ones, then the current notion that truth is divine and precious, and its pursuit a duty, could never have grown up or become a dogma. In a world like that, our duty would be to shun truth, rather. But in this world, just as certain foods are not only agreeable to our taste, but good for

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1990)

John P. Murphy was professor of philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, until his death in 1987.

Bibliographic information