Pragmatism - PL656

Sorry, this module is not currently running in 2019-20.







This module will introduce students to the American Pragmatist tradition, through looking at its origins in the philosophical work of figures like C.S. Peirce, and William James, through to its development into contemporary schools of thought such as Neo-Pragmatism, Cambridge Pragmatism, and Semiotics. Topics to be covered will vary from year to year, in light of the expertise of the person convening it and student feedback from previous years. However, examples of topics that may be covered include pragmatist approaches to truth, pragmatist approaches to the a priori, philosophy of science, and the regulation of inquiry, and pragmatic theories of meaning.

Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of the complementary and in some cases conflicting perspectives and methodologies on American Pragmatism. The module will enable students to evaluate contemporary issues in a manner that is informed by a comprehensive set of relevant traditions.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 40

Method of assessment

• Presentation (20 minutes) – 20%
• Mid-term Essay (2,000 words) – 40%
• Final Essay (2,000 words) – 40%

Indicative reading

Indicative reading list:

Atkin, A. (2016) Peirce, London: Routledge
Bird, G. (1986) William James, London: Routledge
Haack, S. (1993) Evidence and Inquiry, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
Haddock-Seigfried, C. (1996) Pragmatism and Feminism, Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press
Misak, C. (2013) The American Pragmatists, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Thayer, H.S. (ed.) (1982) Pragmatism: The Classic Writings, Cambridge: Hackett

Learning outcomes

Demonstrate critical understanding of both the Peircean and Jamesian traditions in American Pragmatism, and both classical pragmatism and more recent developments;

Engage critically with some of the central issues in this field of philosophy, orally and in writing, through their study of the relevant arguments;

Demonstrate the ability to engage in a close critical reading of some of major philosophical texts in the field.

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