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Two Democratic Hopes

Two Democratic Hopes Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 4, No. 2 (December 2007), 19­28 Editions Rodopi © 2007 Robert Westbrook claims that pragmatist political theorists share a common hope for democracy. I argue that there are at least two distinct and opposed pragmatist conceptions of democracy ­ one Deweyan, the other Peircean ­ and thus two distinct and opposed hopes for democracy. I then criticize the Deweyan view and defend the Peircean view. In his new book, Democratic Hope: Pragmatism and the Politics of Truth, Robert Westbrook provides a compelling account of the state of play in pragmatist political theory.1 On the whole, I find his analyses and narrative agreeable. However, Westbrook's discussion provides occasion to draw attention to an important and growing schism within contemporary pragmatist political theory. Although Westbrook writes as if there were a single, though variously expressed, democratic hope that pragmatists adopt, I see at least two separate and opposed democratic hopes that claim to be pragmatist in origin. These two democratic hopes derive respectively from the two different pragmatisms of John Dewey and Charles Peirce.2 To be sure, Deweyan democracy has been the dominant paradigm among pragmatists for thinking about politics. This is undoubtedly due to the fact http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

Two Democratic Hopes

Contemporary Pragmatism , Volume 4 (2): 19 – Apr 21, 2007

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2007 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
DOI
10.1163/18758185-90000068
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 4, No. 2 (December 2007), 19­28 Editions Rodopi © 2007 Robert Westbrook claims that pragmatist political theorists share a common hope for democracy. I argue that there are at least two distinct and opposed pragmatist conceptions of democracy ­ one Deweyan, the other Peircean ­ and thus two distinct and opposed hopes for democracy. I then criticize the Deweyan view and defend the Peircean view. In his new book, Democratic Hope: Pragmatism and the Politics of Truth, Robert Westbrook provides a compelling account of the state of play in pragmatist political theory.1 On the whole, I find his analyses and narrative agreeable. However, Westbrook's discussion provides occasion to draw attention to an important and growing schism within contemporary pragmatist political theory. Although Westbrook writes as if there were a single, though variously expressed, democratic hope that pragmatists adopt, I see at least two separate and opposed democratic hopes that claim to be pragmatist in origin. These two democratic hopes derive respectively from the two different pragmatisms of John Dewey and Charles Peirce.2 To be sure, Deweyan democracy has been the dominant paradigm among pragmatists for thinking about politics. This is undoubtedly due to the fact

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Apr 21, 2007

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