anhinga_anhinga (anhinga_anhinga) wrote,
anhinga_anhinga
anhinga_anhinga

Pragmatism and philosophical coordinate systems

I was reading (and listening to) various fragments of The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand recently. It's a great book and audio book.

It occurred to me that my way of looking at various philosophical systems is actually pretty close to the way the Pragmatist school of philosophy looks at them. I usually think about materialism, dualism, or solipsism as philosophical coordinate systems, and my usual position is that we are free to switch between them, or to construct the new ones.

My standard analogy here is the practice of choosing convenient coordinate systems in physical and mathematical sciences for this or that problem. It occurred to me that this is very much in tune with some elements of Pragmatism, for example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_James#Epistemology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatism#The_primacy_of_practice
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatism#Philosophy_of_science

In this sense, one reify almost anything (for example, one can reify emotions and feelings into an "astral plane", if it is convenient), as long as one remembers that the act of reification occurred:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatism#Anti-reification_of_concepts_and_theories

And one can try to refrain from certain conventional reifications, if necessary..

I am sure this is not very original and occurred to many people at various times, but since this was a discovery for me (especially the link between the ability to choose convenient philosophical coordinate systems and the way Pragmatism handles these things), I decided to share this.
Tags: philosophy
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

  • 19 comments