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Volitional pragmatism

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  • Bromley, Daniel W.
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    Abstract

    Pragmatism approaches the problem of knowing through a commitment to diagnostic strategies that offer tentative answers to the vexing question of "why." When we can answer the "why question" we are on our way to explanation. But all answers are provisional--fallible. Beliefs are rules for action, and so pragmatism asks us to find reasons for holding particular beliefs, and it asks us to be open to reasons why those beliefs may, on further reflection, be open to yet further doubt. Pragmatism turned the positivist's world upside down by refusing to entertain the possibility that human agency, even with elaborate training and great practice, could defeat a world of indeterminacy. The modernist quest for assured rationality and abiding truth in the world is a chimera. Rather, pragmatists take the world as it seems to be and offer coping strategies that dispense with willful deceit. That is, pragmatism is concerned with mastering a complex world. Pragmatism is realistic in its acknowledgement of an opaque world, and it is mature in its epistemological ambitions and promises. Pragmatism replaces the arrogance of modernism with the cautious discernment of one who is deeply cognizant of an unruly world, yet intent on working out reasonable beliefs about that world.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1-2 (December)
    Pages: 1-13

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2008:i:1-2:p:1-13

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Pragmatism Epistemology Abduction Reasonable Beliefs Truth;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Juha Hiedanpaa & Daniel W. Bromley, 2012. "Contestations Over Biodiversity Protection: Considering Peircean Semiosis," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(3), pages 357-378, August.
    2. Clive L. Spash, 2012. "Ecological Economics and Philosophy of Science: Ontology, Epistemology, Methodology and Ideology," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2012_03, Institute for the Environment and Regional Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    3. Zimmerman, Frederick J., 2013. "Habit, custom, and power: A multi-level theory of population health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 47-56.
    4. Gaël Plumecocq, 2013. "L'action publique entre rhétorique et légitimité : une analyse des politiques locales de développement durable en termes de besoins fondamentaux," Post-Print hal-00994921, HAL.
    5. Thiel, Andreas, 2012. "The politics of problem solving: A co-evolutionary perspective on the recent scalar reorganisation of water governance in Germany," UFZ Discussion Papers 09/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    6. Clive L. Spash, 2013. "The Shallow or the Deep Ecological Economics Movement?," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2013_01, Institute for the Environment and Regional Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    7. Gaël Plumecocq, 2013. "The Institutionalisation of Multi-level Changes: Sustainable Development, Values and Territory," Post-Print hal-00994871, HAL.

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