Pragmatism and Subservience

[2, 19] We’ve had a century of pragmatism. It’s made us deeply subservient to orthodoxies – This characterization is not a critique of Peirce (1992, 1998) or James (2000) but of the neo-pragmatic movement under Rorty (1990). Although Rorty was an admirer and friend of Derrida his own politics – fuelled by a coherence theory of truth drawn from but not authorized by Davidson (2001a, 2001b, 2001c) – tended towards a liberal neoconservativism. Intellectually he was accused of setting out a program that would deny those who want to challenge the academy and political orthodoxies. The risk of populist forms of pragmatism is that they generally misrepresent the range of the pragmatist tradition (Menand, 1997) and falsify its intellectual roots by advocating a ‘common sense’ anti-intellectualism and rejection of thought and critique.  This feeds directly into a capitalist discourse that seeks de-unification amongst non-economic modes of organisation. It serves capitalism to have opposition and conflict.

May 16, 2016

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