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Must a Pragmatist Be a Historical Materialist?

Must a Pragmatist Be a Historical Materialist? Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 6, No. 1 (June 2009), 67­86 Editions Rodopi © 2009 There has only been sporadic engagement between the pragmatist and Marxist philosophical traditions. This is unfortunate because each has a great deal to learn from the other. This article seeks to form a bridge between the two traditions by reconstructing an argument from Marx and Engels for historical materialism in the light of both traditions' shared emphasis on the centrality of action. There is much in the Marxist tradition that pragmatists can and should integrate into their own work, particularly given their interest in cultivating richer democracies. The history of the relationship of pragmatism and Marxism might be generally characterized as one of mutual misunderstanding, with the exceptions of Sidney Hook and Cornel West, in particular West's books The Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought and Keeping Faith. Both sides are guilty of misunderstanding. For example, Dewey's remarks on Marxist theory and practice are not particularly sympathetic.1 This misunderstanding might be explained by the fact that what some present-day academics see as the rather rigorous nature of Marxist analysis only gradually came into existence. For example, Marx's 1844 Manuscripts and The German Ideology were not published http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

Must a Pragmatist Be a Historical Materialist?

Contemporary Pragmatism , Volume 6 (1): 67 – Apr 21, 2009

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2009 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
DOI
10.1163/18758185-90000105
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 6, No. 1 (June 2009), 67­86 Editions Rodopi © 2009 There has only been sporadic engagement between the pragmatist and Marxist philosophical traditions. This is unfortunate because each has a great deal to learn from the other. This article seeks to form a bridge between the two traditions by reconstructing an argument from Marx and Engels for historical materialism in the light of both traditions' shared emphasis on the centrality of action. There is much in the Marxist tradition that pragmatists can and should integrate into their own work, particularly given their interest in cultivating richer democracies. The history of the relationship of pragmatism and Marxism might be generally characterized as one of mutual misunderstanding, with the exceptions of Sidney Hook and Cornel West, in particular West's books The Ethical Dimensions of Marxist Thought and Keeping Faith. Both sides are guilty of misunderstanding. For example, Dewey's remarks on Marxist theory and practice are not particularly sympathetic.1 This misunderstanding might be explained by the fact that what some present-day academics see as the rather rigorous nature of Marxist analysis only gradually came into existence. For example, Marx's 1844 Manuscripts and The German Ideology were not published

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Apr 21, 2009

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