- P r a g m a t i s m ,
A N e w N a m e f o r S o m e
O l d W a y s o f T h i n k i n g
P r e f a c e
To the Memory of John Stuart Mill
from whom I first learned the pragmatic openness
of mind and whom my fancy likes
to picture as our leader were he alive to-day.
The lectures that follow were delivered at the Lowell Institute in Boston in
November and December, 1906, and in January, 1907, at Columbia University, in
New York. They are printed as delivered, without developments or notes. The
pragmatic movement, so-called–I do not like the name, but apparently it is too
late to change it– seems to have rather suddenly precipitated itself out of the
air. A number of tendencies that have always existed in philosophy have all at
once become conscious of themselves collectively, and of their combined mission;
and this has occurred in so many countries, and from so many different points of
view, that much unconcerted statement has resulted. I have sought to unify the
picture as it presents itself to my own eyes, dealing in broad strokes, and
avoiding minute controversy. Much futile controversy might have been avoided, I
believe, if our critics had been willing to wait until we got our message fairly
If my lectures interest any reader in the general subject, he will doubtless
wish to read farther. I therefore give him a few references.
In America, John Dewey's 'Studies in Logical Theory' are the foundation. Read
also by Dewey the articles in the Philosophical Review, vol. xv, pp. 113 and
465, in Mind, vol. xv, p. 293, and in the Journal of Philosophy, vol. iv, p.
Probably the best statements to begin with however, are F. C. S. Schiller's
in his 'Studies in Humanism,' especially the essays numbered i, v, vi, vii,
xviii and xix. His previous essays and in general the polemic literature of the
subject are fully referred to in his footnotes.
Furthermore, see G. Milhaud: le Rationnel, 1898, and the fine articles by Le
Roy in the Revue de Metaphysique, vols. 7, 8 and 9. Also articles by Blondel and
de Sailly in the Annales de Philosophie Chretienne, 4me Serie, vols. 2 and 3.
Papini announces a book on Pragmatism, in the French language, to be published
To avoid one misunderstanding at least, let me say that there is no logical
connexion between pragmatism, as I understand it, and a doctrine which I have
recently set forth as 'radical empiricism.' The latter stands on its own feet.
One may entirely reject it and still be a pragmatist.
Harvard University, April, 1907.