Richard J. Bernstein is a leading exponent of American pragmatism and one of the foremost philosophers of the twentieth century. In this collection he takes a pragmatic approach to specific problems and issues to demonstrate the ongoing importance of this philosophical tradition. Topics under discussion include multiculturalism, political public life, evil and religion. Individual philosophers studied are Kant, Arendt, Rorty, Habermas, Dewey and Trotsky. Each of the sixteen essays, many of which are published here for the first time, offers a way of bridging contemporary philosophical differences. This book will be of interest to scholars of philosophy and those researching social and political theory.
The final three essays examine contemporary philosophers who describe themselves as pragmatists and who have learned from the early American thinkers. Bernstein's essay "Hilary Putnam: the Entanglement of Fact and Value" examines the career and thought of this multi-faceted and ever-changing American philosopher who has become known for a pragmatism that combats what Putnam sees as relativism, as exemplified by Richard Rorty. Bernstein offers a long, difficult essay on the German philosopher, Jurgen Habermas and his attempt, which Bernstein deems unsuccessful, to combine pragmatism with Kant. The final essay deals with the late Richard Rorty and what Bernstein terms Rorty's "Deep Humanism". Rorty is probably the most influential late 20th Century American philosopher. Bernstein offers a personal overview of Rorty's career which culminated, Bernstein argues, in Rorty's 1979 book, "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature", which influenced me greatly when I read it years ago. Bernstein is critical of Rorty's idiosyncratic course and of his thought subsequent to that famous book.
The work of Richard J. Bernstein has achieved a groundbreaking synthesis of the analytical and continental modes of thought. Countering the highly technical metaphysical and epistemological puzzles of analytic philosophy in the early 1960s, Bernstein offered a model of philosophy in a democratic society as the work of the engaged public intellectual. Working within the tradition of American pragmatism, he also changed that tradition by opening it to the international intellectual currents of phenomenology, deconstructionism, and critical theory. These essays by leading philosophers and social thinkers pay tribute to Bernstein and reflect the themes that have engaged him throughout his career. opens with a group of essays that examine the place of philosophy in a democratic society; included in this section are Richard Rorty's exploration of the legacy of American pragmatism and Jürgen Habermas's reconsideration of ethics in philosophy. The essays in the second section examine postpositivist social critique and include Jacques Derrida's consideration of the philosophical paradoxes of the death penalty. The third group of essays considers the theme of radical evil, and includes discussions of Bernstein's nuanced reading of Hannah Arendt. The book ends with a biographical essay based in part on a series of conversations with Bernstein himself.
Richard J. Bernstein, recipient of five distinguished teaching awards,is Vera List Professor of Philosophy. He taught at Haverford College fortwenty-three years, 1966-89, and has been a visiting professor at FrankfurtUniversity, Hebrew University, and the University of Pennsylvania. ProfessorBernstein is the author of Freud and the Legacy of Moses; Hannah Arendtand the Jewish Question; The New Constellation: The Ethical-Political Horizonsof Modernity/Postmodernity; Philosophical Profiles: Essays in a PragmaticMode; Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics and Praxis;The Restructuring of Social and Political Theory; Praxis and Action; andRadical Evil: A Philosophical Interrogation (spring 2002).
Cakewalks in the Ragtime Era by Ted Tjaden
critically assesses the significance of American philosopher Richard J. Bernstein’s intellectual contributions. Written by scholars who share with Bernstein a combined interest in the American pragmatic tradition and contemporary religious thought, the essays explore such diverse topics as Bernstein’s place as an interpreter of both American and continental thought, the possibility of system building and analysis in an antimetaphysical age, the potential for theological and ethical reinterpretation in contemporary society, and much more. Included are not only responses by Bernstein to each essay, but also two new essays by Bernstein himself that orient readers to the central role pragmatism has played throughout the last century and also provide an encomium to the continuing value of democratic ideals at a time when those ideals are threatened on many different fronts.
Sociological Research Online: Journal Index
Volume 22(2) published on 29 May 2017