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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Pragmatist accounts of experimental intelligence are, at once, a continuation of the historical debate about the nature, scope, and function of reason and a significant departure from this dispute. They also reveal the efforts of philosophers to come to terms with the Darwinian revolution in the life sciences. Arguably, American pragmatism was the first self-consciously Darwinian movement in Western philosophy. The reconceptions of reason or intelligence formulated by Peirce, James, Dewey, and other pragmatists were central to their reconstruction of philosophy. In conjunction with this, Peirce and Dewey redefined logic as a theory of inquiry. But virtually all of the pragmatists linked intelligence to action. They envisioned human ingenuity to be without inherent limits but its historical forms often to be pathological distortions. They were sensitive to the tragic failures of experimental intelligence to make a difference, to inform and guide action in a liberating and illuminating manner.

Keywords: Darwin, ingenuity, inquiry, intelligence, James, logic, Peirce, rationality, reconstruction, tragedy

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