Pre-Pragmatisms and Robust Empiricisms: James, Whitehead, Wilson

Pre-Pragmatisms and Robust Empiricisms: James, Whitehead, Wilson

Talk by Steven Meyer, History, Washington University in St. Louis
In Wandering Significance (2006), Mark Wilson develops a dissenting “pre-pragmatist,” post-Quinean stance with regard to the classical picture of concepts provided by Bertrand Russell in response to late-nineteenth-century crises in classical mechanics and applied mathematics. Although Wilson portrays William James as a “fully fledged” pragmatist, accounts by Isabelle Stengers and Bruno Latour strikingly characterize James in a manner that deserves to be called pre-pragmatist as well. Wilson’s historical reconstruction of the crises also makes it possible, perhaps for the first time, to appreciate the motivation they provided for Alfred North Whitehead to move toward what James called a “process philosophy” and toward the more robust empiricism he shares with James and Wilson.

http://www.philosophy.pitt.edu/wilson/WanderingSignificance1.php

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