Odyssey: American Pragmatism and Its Hopkins Roots

A distinctively American philosophical disposition, pragmatism has some of its most significant roots at Johns Hopkins University, where John Dewey himself, perhaps America's most noted pragmatist and educator, earned a PhD. C.S. Pierce initially developed pragmatism as a theory of meaning in the 1870s, and William James turned it into a theory of truth, while Jane Addams turned pragmatism in the direction of democratic theory and social work, emphasizing a plurality of values informing our efforts at social improvement. In the field of law, Oliver Wendell Holmes' pragmatism is manifest in his anti-formalist and experimentalist jurisprudence, and his consequentialist definitions of civil law, rights, and duties. In this course we will read short selections from these five classical pragmatists, in an effort to understand their common directive: to turn philosophical inquiry away from its historical quest for epistemological certainty and redirect it toward human problems and practices.

910.744.01 (5 sessions) Wednesday, Feb. 18–March 18, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Cost: $160

JHU full-time faculty/staff members are eligible for 80% tuition remission. Spouse/same-sex domestic partners are eligible for 50% remission.

Please note you cannot register online and receive the discount. For more information, contact 410-516-8516.