SAAP Annual Meeting 2014

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William James, Hilary Putnam, and Richard J. Bernstein

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The focus of this essay is the relationship between philosophical temperament, values, and truth based upon the thought of William James, Hilary Putnam, and Richard J. Bernstein. I argue that a combination of James's analysis of philosophical temperament and Putnam's Deweyan critique of the fact/value dichotomy can be used to meet the requirements of a pragmatic conception of truth outlined by Bernstein. I conclude that philosophical thought requires pragmatically-oriented “Socratic honesty” or self-knowledge of one's own temperament and values concerning philosophical issues. This type of self-knowledge entails a fallibilistic, developmental, and pluralistic conception of truth in relation to the individual, against philosophical conceptions that eliminate the importance of temperament and values unjustifiably.

Author(s):

Thomas Kiefer    
Fordham University
United States

 

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