Dylan Suher's Reviews > Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking

Pragmatism by William James
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's review
Feb 22, 2012

really liked it
Read from February 12 to 21, 2012

James' marvelous clarity -- prose so straightforward that in a philosophical context it strikes one as moving -- belies a sharp and subtle mind, that is to say, nothing is sacrificed by way of intelligence to make this treatise readable. I wonder if this book will count as an important read in my life, when I look back at it. The reason I hesitate to fully endorse it is that there is a certain convenience to pragmatism that I find suspect. It is all well and good to talk about common sense and truths corresponding to old truths among the dominant class, but how does this doctrine reassure the marginalized, people who have been told their whole lives that by insisting on their basic humanity, they are insane? Before I go around calling myself a pragmatist, I'll have to settle that issue in a satisfactory manner for myself.

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