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Title: Cracks in the Pragmatic Façade: F. C. S. Schiller and the Nature of Counter-Democratic Tendencies
Authors: Porrovecchio, Mark
Keywords: Schiller
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Citation: Mark Porrovecchio, "Cracks in the Pragmatic Façade: F. C. S. Schiller and the Nature of Counter-Democratic Tendencies", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, XII (2010) 1, pp. 86−112.
Series/Report no.: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
XII (2010) 1
Abstract: The “pragmatist philosophical tradition” is often described as an American and democratic one. There are, however, a number of purposeful and/or accidental erasures in the history of pragmatism that make this tale possible; namely, the elision of pragmatism’s international cast in its formative years. This essay will focus on one of the most prominent of these forgotten figures and point out how he complicates the assumptions underlying pragmatism’s relationship to democracy. F. C. S. Schiller (1864-1937), the foremost British pragmatist of the early 1900s, championed a Jamesian approach to pragmatism. Schiller’s humanistic approach to pragmatism is all the more striking given that he championed eugenics and authoritarian governments. These two tendencies—espoused in popular and philosophical essays and books—press hard against a causal acceptance that democratic practice is warranted by pragmatism. Schiller, excised from the intellectual history of pragmatism, is relevant precisely because he provides a useful counter to those who would assume as a matter of faith that pragmatism-as-method is the best representation of democratic ideals in philosophical thought. Schiller also suggests what is to be gained by reevaluating the narratives that have allowed such generalizations to gain ground and flourish.
ISSN: 1825-5167
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2010) XII/1

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