American Philosophy: From Wounded Knee to the Present
Erin McKenna, Scott L. Pratt
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American Philosophy offers the first historically framed introduction to the tradition of American philosophy and its contemporary engagement with the world.
Born out of the social and political turmoil of the Civil War, American philosophy was a means of dealing with conflict and change. In the turbulence of the 21st century, this remains as relevant as ever. Placing the work of presentday American philosophers in the context of a history of resistance, through a philosophical tradition marked by a commitment to pluralism, fallibilism and liberation, this book tells the story of a philosophy shaped by major events that call for reflection and illustrates the ways in which philosophy is relevant to lived experience.
This book presents a survey of the historical development of American philosophy, as well as coverage of key contemporary issues in America including race theory, feminism, indigenous peoples, and environmentalism and is the ideal introduction to the work of the major American thinkers, past and present, and the sheer breadth of their ideas and influence.
belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience” (1980, p. 20). The belief in a “fundamental cleavage” between analytic and synthetic statements, Quine argued, required a sharp and specifiable division. Since analytic statements could not depend upon any contingent matters of fact, the division needed to be a matter of language meaning alone. Since analytic statements are to be true strictly in virtue of the meaning of
The Beloved Community and Its Discontents community. In the fall of 1903, this direction in his work led him to call together a group of students and friends to directly address the question of how to ensure that philosophy was relevant to life. The group met in a series of what Royce called “philosophical conferences” at his home to discuss each other’s work and its practical import. On the first evening they met, Royce explained his purpose: “A group of students and teachers . . . all at
explained that “[e]ver since President Wilson asked for a breaking of relations with Germany, and afterwards for war against that country,” he had been a “complete sympathizer with the part played by this country in this war.” The war, he said, “is not merely a war of armies,” it was “a war of peoples.” In his judgment, “we ought not to be neutral when the war comes home in one form or another and to talk about being neutral is to talk foolishness” (Boydston, 1976–83, vol. 10, p. 158, hereafter
radio, and in films. Common to Romano’s discussion and the histories by McDermott, West, Seigfried, 5 American Philosophy Pratt and Menand is the recognition that philosophy is continuous with lived experience, and that philosophy in America, thanks to the distinctive experience of its peoples, is produced as a distinctive philosophical tradition. American philosophy, then, took a variety of forms as it emerged in the encounter with the people and lands of North America. One strand sought to
groups like the Klan, under the guise of “Americanism,” was in fact one bent on undermining America by eliminating the diverse cultures that made America the distinctive place it was. “On the record,” he wrote, “the Klan seeks social and intellectual conformity and economic and political rascality. . . . Unopposed, it would render culture impossible in the United States” (1998, p. 33). America had, on the contrary, served as a place that “permitted the spontaneous self-rooting and automatic