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American Pragmatism

This course is a survey of American Pragmatism. In it we will examine the three central figures of the pragmatic traditions: Charles S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. While Pragmatism is the most important philosophical movement produced by the United States, it also has a global philosophical significance owing to the fact that it was the first movement to decisively break with certain key assumptions governing Modern philosophy. Specifically, it broke with the rationalist notions that cognition could be examined in abstraction from action and that truth could be defined independently of human inquiry. The goal of this course-besides coming to an in-depth understanding of each of the major pragmatic figures-is to understand how Pragmatism challenges these assumptions while also providing us with a new picture of cognition, knowledge, truth, inquiry, communication, action, and freedom. At the end of the course we shall see how Pragmatism was applied to concrete social problems and issues by looking at the work of Jane Adams and Alain Locke.

Pre Requisites: Pre-req = PHIL 100 or PHIL 108

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