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Historicity, Critique, and the Problem of Naturalism in Neuropragmatism

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image of Contemporary Pragmatism

I argue that neuropragmatism holds to a problematic version of Dewey’s principle of continuity, and thus risks the melioristic dimensions of the neurophilosophical turn proposed for pragmatism. Therefore, firstly, I try to show that the neuropragmatist does hold this principle. Secondly, I give an alternative (historicist) account. Thirdly, I argue that the neuropragmatists’ interpretation of the principle of continuity is problematic because it threatens to undermine their melioristic concerns because of their explanatory commitments. This historicist pragmatist order of explanation aims at avoiding this problem while maintaining meliorism. I conclude by arguing that this is a mistake in the conflation of two distinct stories, one ethical, and the other ontological.

Affiliations: 1: University College Dublin, School of Philosophy, Belfield, Dublin 4, Rep. of Ireland.


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1. Dewey John,. “"The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy"”, in: The Middle Works of John Dewey 1889–1924, Vol. 4: 1907–1909 , Boydston Jo Ann (Ed.), Carbondale: Southern University of Illinois Press, 1977.
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11. Solymosi Tibor, and Shook John R., “"Neuropragmatism and the culture of inquiry: Moving beyond creeping Cartesianism"”, Intellectia , Vol 60(2), 2013, pp. 137159.

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