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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: SchillerJamesdemocracy
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: 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
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
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2010) XII/1

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