What Pragmatism Was

2014.06.17 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews F. Thomas Burke, What Pragmatism Was, Indiana University Press, 2013, 233pp., $25.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780253009586. Reviewed by
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2014.06.17 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews F. Thomas Burke, What Pragmatism Was, Indiana University Press, 2013, 233pp., $25.00 (pbk), ISBN 9780253009586. Reviewed by Robert B. Talisse, Vanderbilt University Charles Peirce introduced the term pragmatism in the early 1870s at The Metaphysical Club. Peirce meant to name the methodological doctrine articulated in what has since come to be known as "the pragmatic maxim." That maxim first appeared in his 1878 essay, "How to Make Our Ideas Clear"; there one finds a standard formulation: "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." As is well known, the point of the maxim is to achieve a degree of clearness in thought that goes beyond Cartesian "clear and distinct" ideas. It is less often noticed that... Read More

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