The Wisconsin Project on American Writers A series edited by Frank Lentricchia F. O. Matthiessen and the Politics of Criticism William E. Cain In Defense of Winters: The Poetry and Prose of Yvor Winters Terry Comito A Poetry of Presence: The Writing of William Carlos Williams Bernard Duffey Lionel Trilling: The Work of Liberation Daniel T. O'Hara Visionary Compacts: American Renaissance Writings in Cultural Context Donald E. Pease "A White Heron" and the Question of Minor Literature Louis A. Renza The Theoretical Dimensions of Henry James John Carlos Rowe The American Evasion of Philosophy: A Genealogy of Pragmatism Cornel West Specifying: Black Women Writing the American Experience Susan Willis
The American Evasion of Philosophy A Genealogy of Pragmatism Cornel West The University of Wisconsin Press
To my beloved brother CLIFTON L. WEST III who sticks closer than a brother
If one must philosophize, then one must philosophize; and if one must not philosophize, then one must philosophize; in any case, therefore, one must philosophize. For if one must, then, given that Philosophy exists, we are in every way obliged to philosophize. And if one must not, in this case too we are obliged to inquire how it is possible for there to be no philosophy; and in inquiring we philosophize, for inquiry is the cause of Philosophy. -Aristotle Pragmatists keep trying to find ways of making anti-philosophical points in nonphilosophical language. - Richard Rarty
Acknowledgments Introduction CONTENTS 1 The Emersonian Prehistory of American Pragmatism Emerson on Power (and Tradition) 11 Emerson on Provocation (and the Market) 25 Emerson on Personality (and Race) 28 Emerson as Organic Intellectual 35 xi 3 9 2 The Historic Emergence of American Pragmatism 42 Peirce on Scientific Method, Community, and Christian Love 43 James on Individuality, Reconciliation, and Heroic Energies 54 3 The Coming-of-Age of American Pragmatism: John Dewey 69 Dewey on Historical Consciousness, Critical Intelligence, and Creative Democracy 71 4 The Dilemma of the Mid-Century Pragmatic Intellectual Sidney Hook: The Deweyan Political Intellectual 114 C.