Naturalistic Values and Progressive Politics : A Missing Link between Pragmatism and Social Theory
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy
The paper argues that Dewey‘s ethics is based on a naturalistic theory of value. This unusual interpretation questions the anti-naturalist reading of Dewey in the wake of Richard Rorty and other neo-pragmatists. In order to defend this interpretation, I develop a genealogy of Dewey‘s pragmatic naturalism: It has a ?father‘ in the progressivist move-ment, and a ?sister‘ in the Chicago Sociology. A closer look at Frank L. Ward, Albion Small, W.I. Thomas and Robert Park helps to reconstruct the political dynamics of the progressivist programme of naturalistic values. This contextualization may also correct some of the shortcomings of Dewey‘s own version: Some pragmatic sociologists spelled out the noncomformist individualism more clearly than Dewey‘s philosophy did. Finally I suggest that this approach is still relevant today.
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