Contemporary Pragmatism Volume 5, Number 1. June 2008 by Mitchell Aboulafia

By Mitchell Aboulafia

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One might sample what is new, but only from the purview of the familiar, the accustomed. The promise of permanence is more alluring than the risk of uncertainty. Experience for classical pragmatists is not passive (Hendel 1959; Smith 1970; Godfrey-Smith 1996). The mind is construed in active terms, in terms in which cognitive adaptation, tracking events into coherence is a primary activity. Transactions with the world, the testing of ideas, self-corrective hypothesis testing, and a vulnerability in the pursuit of inquiry are what predominate – at least in the ideal, the normative goal.

See, for instance, Nancy Cartwright, How the Laws of Physics Lie (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), and Bas van Fraassen, The Scientific Image (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980). Wittgenstein’s Question and the Ubiquity of Cultural Space 37 22. See Hilary Putnam, Ethics without Ontology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004). 23. Rosenberg, Philosophy of Social Science, p. 15. 24. , p. 9. 25. See A. G. Cairns-Smith, Genetic Takeover and the Mineral Origins of Life (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1982) 26.

Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998), particularly §§15– 17. 40. Sellars, “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man,” pp. 18, 40. 41. , p. 18. 42. , pp. 34, 40. 43. Wilfrid Sellars, “The Language of Theories,” Science, Perception, and Reality (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963), p. 163. 44. See, for instance, Richard J. Bernstein, Praxis and Action (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1975). 45. See, for instance, Donald Davidson “Actions, Reasons, and Causes,” in Essays on Actions and Events (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982).

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