Contemporary philosophy is torn between a reliance on the pragmatic meanings of designated objects and a foundation based on formal theory. This book shows that philosophical knowledge, which no more has a terminal state than an infinite set has a last term, advances when the dialectical relationship between the two approaches is synthesized. The choice of designations is intimately related to theory and the form of theory is intimately related to the character of designated objects. The intimate dialectical relationship between theory and meaning is explored in detail in the area of international theory. The recent emphasis on realism rests on a regressive misunderstanding of the dialectical relationship between theory and practice that loses Newton's acute understanding of it, an understanding that underlies the great advances of physics, and that is lost in the contemporary social sciences.
Larry A. Hickman presents John Dewey as very much at home in the busy mix of contemporary philosophy--as a thinker whose work now, more than fifty years after his death, still furnishes fresh insights into cutting-edge philosophical debates. Hickman argues that it is precisely the rich, pluralistic mix of contemporary philosophical discourse, with its competing research programs in French-inspired postmodernism, phenomenology, Critical Theory, Heidegger studies, analytic philosophy, and neopragmatism--all busily engaging, challenging, and informing one another--that invites renewed examination of Dewey's central ideas.Hickman offers a Dewey who both anticipated some of the central insights of French-inspired postmodernism and, if he were alive today, would certainly be one of its most committed critics, a Dewey who foresaw some of the most trenchant problems associated with fostering global citizenship, and a Dewey whose core ideas are often at odds with those of some of his most ardent neopragmatist interpreters.In the trio of essays that launch this book, Dewey is an observer and critic of some of the central features of French-inspired postmodernism and its American cousin, neopragmatism. In the next four, Dewey enters into dialogue with contemporary critics of technology, including JAA1/4rgen Habermas, Andrew Feenberg, and Albert Borgmann. The next two essays establish Dewey as an environmental philosopher of the first rank--a worthy conversation partner for Holmes Ralston, III, Baird Callicott, Bryan G. Norton, and Aldo Leopold. The concluding essays provide novel interpretations of Dewey's views of religious belief, the psychology of habit, philosophical anthropology, and what he termed "the epistemology industry."
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