Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The relationship between American pragmatists—Charles S. Peirce, William James, John Dewey, Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, and others—and their critics has often been marked by sharp conflict. Those philosophers wedded to the conceptions of meaning and truth that pragmatists would displace have, not surprisingly, been ill-disposed to go quietly. Yet conflict among pragmatists has been no less sharp, leaving some to wonder whether it really makes sense to speak of “pragmatism” as such. It does, but only with some care. Pragmatism is best conceived less as a well-defined, tightly knit school of thought than as a loose, contentious family of thinkers who have always squabbled, and have sometimes been moved to disown one another. Indeed, the history of pragmatism can perhaps best be narrated as what Freud called the “family romance” of the neurotic child, in which imagined doubts about paternity and sibling rivalry are front and centre.

Keywords: American pragmatists, pragmatism, family romance, Freud, Charles S Peirce, William James

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.