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Pragmatism(s) Plural, Part II: From Classical Pragmatism to Neo-Pragmatism


  • James Webb


This article is the companion to "Pragmatism(s) Plural, Part I" which argued the virtue of classical pragmatism (of C.S. Peirce and John Dewey) as a methodological and philosophical adjunct to empirical inquiry in political economy. This article briefly examines the use of "pragmatism" to refer to philosophical positions having little to do with classical pragmatism and which are generally antithetical to it. Succeeding sections indicate how W.V. Quine, Richard Rorty, Karl Popper and others are associated with distortions, misreadings, and baseless criticisms of classical pragmatism — or more often of imagined or phantom versions of classical pragmatism. These other "pragmatisms" block more effective inquiry by substituting philosophical attacks and rationales for ongoing, evidential criteria.

Suggested Citation

  • James Webb, 2012. "Pragmatism(s) Plural, Part II: From Classical Pragmatism to Neo-Pragmatism," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(1), pages 45-74.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:46:y:2012:i:1:p:45-74
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624460102

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