Gjesteforelesning

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Filosofisk institutt
Gjesteforelesning
Onsdag 30.04.08
Sami Pihlström:
PRAGMATISM AND THE ETHICAL GROUNDS OF
METAPHYSICS
Pragmatism can be seen as a philosophical orientation at the focus of the controversy between
metaphysics and anti-metaphysics. Therefore, this paper deals with the nature and possibility
of metaphysics from a pragmatist perspective, that is, on the status of metaphysics within
pragmatist philosophy, classical and contemporary. Special emphasis will be laid on a certain
kind of entanglement of metaphysics with ethics. Such an entanglement is not unique to
pragmatism, but pragmatists have articulated it in an interesting way that deserves detailed
scrutiny. I will first briefly present some influential non- or even anti-metaphysical
interpretations of pragmatism. I will then reconsider the question concerning the nature of
metaphysics, contrasting “Aristotelian”
and “Kantian” approaches, and placing pragmatism on the Kantian side of this gulf. Next, I
will take up examples from classical pragmatism, especially William James, in order to
indicate the profound entanglement of metaphysics with ethics in pragmatism. Finally, I will
continue this discussion with some remarks on the overcoming of the fact/value dualism in
contemporary pragmatism, especially Hilary Putnam’s.
Sami Pihlström is Professor of Practical Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä,
Finland, as well as Docent ("adjunct professor") of Theoretical Philosophy at the
University of Helsinki. He has mainly worked on pragmatism, the problem of realism,
transcendental arguments, and the philosophy of religion. He is the author of
Naturalizing the Transcendental (2003), Pragmatic Moral Realism (2005), and several
other books and articles.
D107, Dragvoll, kl. 14.15 – 16.00
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