Pragmatic Moralism and the Politicization of Philosophy

September 2009
Teorema;2009, Vol. 28 Issue 3, p29
Academic Journal
This article examines and expands upon Santayana's "foreground-privileging" criticism of Dewey and suggests its use for understanding the politicized character of a certain strand of contemporary, post-Deweyan pragmatism. First, the author identifies a significant point of affinity between Santayana and Dewey that both they and subsequent scholars have overlooked. The affinity is as follows: each thinker diagnoses, with different conceptual approaches and uniquely distinct contributions to the problem, the key mistake of traditional philosophy to be its confused account of nature, a confusion entailing an idealistic fallacy. Second, the author argues in support of Santayana's rather than Dewey's solution to this mutually diagnosed problem. Santayana's argument that Dewey's philosophy remains too much in the foreground involved his views that philosophy without cosmology is insufficiently naturalistic, and that ontology offers the best means to avoid metaphysical extravagances of the past. The author examine these views as they transact with Dewey's philosophy and in conclusion offer suggestions on their use and application to a contemporary strand of pragmatism.


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