Pragmatism with Purpose: Selected Writings

Pragmatism with Purpose: Selected Writings

PETER HARE
Joseph Palencik
Douglas R. Anderson
Steven A. Miller
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13wzxfg
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  • Book Info
    Pragmatism with Purpose: Selected Writings
    Book Description:

    Pragmatism with Purpose collects essays by the late Peter Hare, a leading proponent of the American philosophical tradition. The volume includes essays on "holistic pragmatism" that Hare developed in conversation with Morton White, as well as historical articles on William James and C. S. Peirce and commentaries on the profession.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-6435-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Present at the End? Who Will Be There When the Last Stone Is Thrown?
    (pp. 1-18)
    Vincent Colapietro

    Peter H. Hare was prone emphatically to remind me, from time to time, that he was drawn to William James not only because of James’s literary gifts but also because of his philosophical insights. While Peter¹ was throughout his life appreciative of James’s efforts to articulate an ethics of belief, he was not willing to grant so readily to James and his followers the right to believe in the context of religion.² He felt compelled to hound the gods and their defenders.³ Even so, the ethics of belief outlined and partly filled in by James provided Peter with the insights,...

  5. AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL OCCASIONS
    (pp. 19-28)

    Deep maternal and paternal roots in American intellectual history going back to the earliest settlers have influenced me since childhood. Most directly, my grandmother’s work in American cultural history and my father’s desire to combine philosophy, religion, physics, mathematics, and the arts have motivated my career. With a temperamental craving for inclusiveness and connectedness, I tried as a Yale undergraduate to integrate these influences by majoring in philosophy while slaving on the board ofThe Yale Literary Magazine. Arthur Pap’s seminar in contemporary empiricism and John E. Smith’s course in Kant engaged me as much as the teachings of Brand...

  6. Part I. The Ethics of Belief
    • [Part I. Introduction]
      (pp. 29-30)

      The apparent freedom we have to choose our beliefs is a well-entrenched philosophical topic. Many prominent thinkers including Pascal, James, and Clifford have all expressed provocative views. It is a topic highly relevant to pragmatically based epistemologies, since our evidence for believing a proposition is frequently incomplete and inconclusive. In the essays selected, readers will be able to observe Hare’s development on this topic. We have included two of his early essays, “The Right and Duty to Will to Believe” as well as “William James, Dickinson Miller, and C. J. Ducasse on the Ethics of Belief.” Both nicely demonstrate Hare’s...

    • ONE THE RIGHT AND DUTY TO WILL TO BELIEVE
      (pp. 31-49)
      Peter Kauber

      Rights and duties to will to believe have too long been considered an embarrassing indulgence by philosophers who pride themselves on their methodological rigor. A fresh look at William James’s work will show how a more robust, though no less analytically rigorous, ethics of belief is possible.

      The history of James’s ethics of belief is a stormy one, filled with mainly hostile criticisms on the part of others, with seminal suggestions, gropings, and retractions on the part of James himself. At various points in the development of this ethics of belief, one encounters such expressions as “duty to believe,” “will...

    • TWO WILLIAM JAMES, DICKINSON MILLER, AND C. J. DUCASSE ON THE ETHICS OF BELIEF
      (pp. 50-62)
      Edward H. Madden

      In American philosophy, few papers have generated as much discussion as William James’s essay “The Will to Believe.” James is America’s most provocative philosopher, and this is one of his most controversial papers. According to R. B. Perry, “the most important of the discussions stimulated byThe Will to Believewas that in which the leader was Dickinson S. Miller, one of the closest of James’s personal friends, and on other issues a powerful ally.”¹

      After reading the title essay ofThe Will to Believeas separately published in 1896, Miller engaged in extensive correspondence with James. In one of...

    • THREE PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS IN THE ETHICS OF BELIEF
      (pp. 63-82)

      Prospects have never been brighter for an ethics of belief in the tradition of William James. But the development of such an ethics of belief will require collaboration between diverse philosophical traditions and between philosophy and science, collaboration that we have not seen hitherto. Accordingly, I want to use this occasion to make a plea for cooperative effort. I urge cooperation between those working in the tradition of pragmatist metaphysics, those working in analytic epistemology, and those working in cognitive science. Let me briefly describe the relevant aspects of the current philosophical scene in a way that makes clear the...

  7. Part II. Reflections on Classical Pragmatism
    • FOUR A CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF JAMES’S VIEW OF CAUSALITY
      (pp. 85-97)
      Edward H. Madden

      We are convinced that James saw the issues of causality in the proper light and correctly estimated the direction in which their solutions lie. He was right in arguing that potentiality and counterfactuality are irreducible ontological concepts and that the Humean is unable to make sense of them. Moreover, both his earlier and later efforts to supply the needed alternative analysis, though inadequate by themselves, provide genuine insights into a more adequate view. In his discussions of causality and objective reference James, as elsewhere in his writings, makes useful reading for the contemporary philosopher.

      As early as the 1870s James...

    • FIVE IN MEMORIAM: FREDERIC HAROLD YOUNG (1905–2003) AND THE FOUNDING OF THE PEIRCE SOCIETY
      (pp. 98-116)

      On October 15, 1945, while he was the minister of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Newark, New Jersey, and a Wyman Fellow in Philosophy at Prince ton University, the Reverend Frederic Harold Young¹ delivered to the Pike County Historical Society in Milford, Pennsylvania, an address entitled “Charles Sanders Peirce: America’s Greatest Logician and Most Original Philosopher.” While revealing much of Young’s own approach to Peirce, the address also tells us about the attitudes toward Peirce of several eminent philosophers of that day, philosophers Young had enlisted in support of his campaign to memorialize Peirce and promote the study of his...

    • SIX THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL TRADITION AS PROGRESSIVELY ENRICHED NATURALISM
      (pp. 117-122)

      Comments on Arnold Berleant’s “Metapragmatism and the Future of American Philosophy” (Meeting of Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, Bentley College, Waltham, Mass., March 1995)

      Let me begin my comments by noting that, whatever disagreements with Arnold Berleant I express in what follows, he and I share a firm commitment to American pragmatic naturalism. Where we may perhaps differ, as you shall see, is in our views about what strategies to use in fostering future development of that tradition. However, before you can understand how my strategies may differ from Arnold’s, you need to understand my conception of the...

  8. Part III. Naturalism, Holism, Contextualism
    • SEVEN PROPOSITIONS AND ADVERBIAL METAPHYSICS
      (pp. 125-131)

      Not many philosophers are adept both in the use of modern techniques of philosophical analysis and in the construction of a comprehensive philosophical system—C. J. Ducasse is one of the few. I share Professor Santoni’s estimate of the importance of Ducasse’s philosophy and welcome his penetrating examination of an important and challenging part of Ducasse’s epistemology. Although in one respect Santoni has perhaps not been entirely fair to Ducasse, he has done an admirable job of showing how Ducasse’s analysis of the meaning of “proposition” is in conflict with his ordinary-language methodology, and of explaining Ducasse’s difficulties with false...

    • EIGHT THICKENING HOLISTIC PRAGMATISM
      (pp. 132-152)

      Since W. V. Quine propounded a thin holism in 1951 in “Two Dogmas of Empiricism,” there has occurred a historical process in which investigators working more or less independently with widely different vocabularies in virtually every specialized area of philosophy and many other disciplines have thickened Quine’s holistic web. Fierce critics of holism have often done as much to thicken holism as avid supporters. But we must not assume that increased thickness is to be identified with more extreme holism. Henry Jackman, for example, achieves greater thickness by moderating semantic holism. Pragmatists attribute a degree and type of holism in...

  9. Part IV. The Philosophy of Religion
    • NINE ON THE DIFFICULTY OF EVADING THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
      (pp. 155-166)
      Edward H. Madden

      There have been many attempts to make religious belief, commitment, and language immune to criticism and to make ordinary and scientific concepts of evidence irrelevant to them. The point of such attempts is to evade the usual critiques of historical religion, the problems posed by higher criticism, conflicts with science, and epistemic discussions about adequate evidence. To some religious people this tactic has seemed to have an application to the problem of evil, although others have felt that while the position in general is right it has no application to the problem of evil. Our contention is that the position...

    • TEN RELIGION AND ANALYTIC NATURALISM
      (pp. 167-173)

      A metaphysical system can be defended without appeal “toeitherlogical necessity or personal passion.” On this point I concur with Professor Arthur Holmes. Moreover, I share his rejection of positivism in favor of speculative metaphysics. But unfortunately Holmes maintains that religious belief is in exactly the same position as metaphysical belief, and hence that defense of the empirical character of metaphysical inquiry is also defense of the empirical character of religious knowledge. In the first place, religious belief and metaphysical belief do not belong to the same logical order, as Holmes seems to think; and in the second place,...

    • ELEVEN BUCHLER’S ORDINAL METAPHYSICS AND PROCESS THEOLOGY
      (pp. 174-186)
      John Ryder

      Hare: Students of Whitehead can find much of interest in the metaphysics of Justus Buchler. Buchler, like Whitehead, subjects traditional substance-quality metaphysics to a devastating critique. If we regard, as surely we must, such rejection of substance-quality metaphysics as one of the distinguishing traits of process metaphysics, Buchler is a process metaphysician. But Buchler, again like Whitehead, does much more than find fault with traditional metaphysics—he elaborates an alternative system of categories.¹ Because his alternative categorial scheme is very different, the points Buchler makes in criticism of traditional metaphysics are interestingly different from those made by Whitehead. Indeed, though...

  10. Part V. Philosophy Past and Future
    • TWELVE NEGLECTED AMERICAN PHILOSOPHERS IN THE HISTORY OF SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM
      (pp. 189-194)
      John Lincourt

      Although historians of social psychology and sociology have given considerable attention to the development of symbolic interactionism, they have curiously overlooked the fact that at the turn of the century there was already a well-developed American philosophical tradition of social interactionism. It is seriously misleading to say, as Talcott Parsons has, that “it was Cooley who first took seriously the truly indeterminate character of the self as a structure in de pen dent of others.”¹ It is also unfortunate that the most comprehensive history of symbolic interactionism to date, written by John W. Petras, contains no discussion of this American...

    • THIRTEEN THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN PHILOSOPHY
      (pp. 195-206)

      Presented at Southwest Texas State College, November 20, 1997

      (i) What I bring to any discussion of the future of American philosophy—my experience may be unusual in many respects:

      (1) For about twenty-five years I have been with Dick Robin editing a journal that specializes in the American philosophical tradition—Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society.In that quarterly we have tried to nurture the American tradition. We have published historical studies but studies which attempt toadvancethe American tradition by critical analysis of historical texts. In other words, we aim to be both historical and constructive...

  11. Part VI. Poetry
    • [Part VI. Introduction]
      (pp. 207-208)

      Hare’s affinity for poetry is well known to those with any familiarity with his work. It is therefore fitting to include some of his thoughts on poetry and philosophy. Readers will find that Hare had much to offer on this topic. For instance, he asks, what are poets for? It is a familiar question, but Hare’s answer is far from conventional. His belief that a function for poetry cannot be context-neutral is at odds with nearly every major thinker on the topic. Yet, his case is convincing, and it sets up some of the points he would build on in...

    • FOURTEEN WHAT ARE POETS FOR? CONTEXTUALISM AND PRAGMATISM
      (pp. 209-214)

      Never has more angst been felt about how to answer the question “What are poets for?” than is felt today. In the most recent issue of the official magazine of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences appears a letter by a member of the academy that mocks as unintelligible the poetry published in the magazine by fellow members of that august body. And in an essay just published in the newsletter of the St. Mark’s Poetry Project in New York, Dale Smith bemoans what he perceives as today’s lack of attention to what he calls “the communicative force of...

    • FIFTEEN MISUNDERSTANDINGS BETWEEN POET AND PHILOSOPHER: WALLACE STEVENS AND PAUL WEISS
      (pp. 215-226)

      I am confident that most readers of this journal believe, as I do, that Wallace Stevens was the greatest philosophical poet in America in the twentieth century. But I wonder how many readers know the story of how, a few years before his death, when Stevens was being showered with honors, Paul Weiss, editor ofThe Review of Metaphysics, rejected a lecture submitted by Stevens on the philosophy of poetry, a paper that Weiss had helped Stevens write and one that Weiss had earlier praised. Stevens refused to consider submitting the paper to a nonphilosophical magazine. Sadly, the lecture, “A...

    • SIXTEEN DEEP CONCEPTUAL PLAY IN WILLIAM JAMES
      (pp. 227-242)

      Let me begin by saying how much pleasure it gives me to be part of a conference honoring John Smith. I have fond memories of being one of Professor Smith’s students while I was an undergraduate here at Yale in the mid-1950s. Dick Bernstein was a graduate student here for roughly the same period I was an undergraduate. I am sure that he would agree that Yale’s philosophy faculty was especially glorious in that era. But at the time I was an innocent, naïve undergraduate, who simply took for granted the extraordinary resources of the Yale philosophy department. It was...

  12. Part VII. Social Critique
    • SEVENTEEN REFLECTIONS ON CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
      (pp. 245-262)
      Edward H. Madden

      The concept of civil disobedience is extremely rich and diverse, not at all precise and specific—the way it is with most words outside of a formal system. Yet much can be done to analyze and clarify the concept, though not formally define it, if two opposite tendencies are pointed out and avoided. On the one hand, some authors generalize “civil disobedience” until it loses any special designation and becomes vacuously synonymous with “disobedience to any authority.” On the other hand, different authors, for varying purposes, restrict the concept to one of various types of action, all of which ordinarily...

    • EIGHTEEN THE AMERICAN MIND
      (pp. 263-269)

      It should go without saying that “The American Mind” is not a unified, coherent substance. It is instead a tangled web of beliefs and attitudes, filled with ever-changing tensions and knots seemingly impossible to untie. However, I shall attempt to throw light on some of its salient features. My remarks will be grouped around four topics: class, race, religion, and empire.

      Central in American mythology is the notion that we are a classless society or at least a society whose class divisions are much less marked than those in other countries. When confronted with brute facts such as huge income...

    • NINETEEN THE DEATH PENALTY DEBATE: A HUMANIST’S UNDERSTANDING OF AMERICA’S SOCIAL PROBLEMS
      (pp. 270-278)

      Although I am optimistic about the social benefits of scientific humanism, the story I tell below illustrates how little influence science has on public policy in America. This story also illustrates how entangled in a web American social problems are. Russia, too, I wish to suggest, has such a web, though not, to be sure, the same web as we have in the United States. I invite the reader to think about Russia’s web after reading the narrative that follows.

      The death penalty is inextricably tied up with a huge number of firmly established aspects of American society. This entanglement...

    • TWENTY VALUES OF THE AMERICAN INTELLECTUAL CLASS
      (pp. 279-290)

      The literature on “American exceptionalism” is vast. From colonial times to the present, arguments have been made in favor of the proposition that Americans are unique in their ideals and/or their practices. Most famously, in the 1600s John Winthrop urged that the Puritan community of New England serve as a model for the rest of the world. Many believe that President George W. Bush echoes Winthrop when the he speaks of promotion of American-style “freedom” throughout the world. Critics of the Bush administration argue that American exceptionalism is usually nothing more than propaganda. Such critics sometimes favor aninverseor...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 291-320)
  14. Index
    (pp. 321-326)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 327-328)