Ideas from 'Pragmatism and Objective Truth' by Danielle Macbeth [2007], by Theme Structure

[found in 'New Pramatists' (ed/tr Misak,Cheryl) [OUP 2009,978-0-19-927998-2]].

Click on the Idea Number for the full details    |     back to texts     |     unexpand these ideas


3. Truth / E. Pragmatic Truth / 1. Pragmatic Truth
Does the pragmatic theory of meaning support objective truth, or make it impossible?
                        Full Idea: Peirce and Sellars takes Peirce's conception of meaning, on which pragmatism is founded, to support an adequate account of objective truth; James, Dewey and Rorty say it forecloses all possibility of such an account.
                        From: Danielle Macbeth (Pragmatism and Objective Truth [2007], p.169)
                        A reaction: Ah. Very helpful. I thought there was a pragmatic theory of truth, then began to think that it was just a denial of truth. I've long suspected that Peirce is wonderful, and James is not very good (on this topic).
6. Mathematics / B. Foundations for Mathematics / 4. Definitions of Number / b. Greek arithmetic
Greek mathematics is wholly sensory, where ours is wholly inferential
                        Full Idea: Ancient mathematical concepts were essentially sensory; they were not mathematical in our sense - that is, wholly constituted by their inferential potential.
                        From: Danielle Macbeth (Pragmatism and Objective Truth [2007], p.187)
                        A reaction: The latter view is Frege's, though I suppose it had been emerging for a couple of centuries before him. I like the Greek approach, and would love to see that reunited with the supposedly quite different modern view. (Keith Hossack is attempting it).
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory
Seeing reality mathematically makes it an object of thought, not of experience
                        Full Idea: As mathematically understood, the world is not an object of experience but instead an object of thought.
                        From: Danielle Macbeth (Pragmatism and Objective Truth [2007], p.183)
                        A reaction: Since I am keen on citing biology to show that science does not have to be mathematical, this nicely shows that there is something wrong with a science which places a large gap between itself and the world.
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 1. Concepts / a. Nature of concepts
For pragmatists a concept means its consequences
                        Full Idea: In the pragmatist view, the meaning of a concept is exhausted by its consequences.
                        From: Danielle Macbeth (Pragmatism and Objective Truth [2007], p.173)
                        A reaction: I'm unclear why the concept of a volcanic eruption only concerns its dire consequences, and is supposed to contain nothing of its causes. Pragmatists seem to be all future, and no past. Very American.