European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, 2011, 2, 2.
Symposia: “Pragmatism and the social sciences: a century of influences and interactions”
Editors: Roberto Frega (University of Bologna), Filipe Carreira da Silva (University of Lisbon)
The second issue of 2011 of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy (EJPAP) will be devoted to the relationship between pragmatism and the social sciences. The issue is explicitly interdisciplinary in focus and aims at assessing the relevance and fruitfulness of the pragmatist tradition for the development of contemporary social theory, as well as the place of pragmatist themes and concepts within the social sciences.
Since its origins, in fact, classical American pragmatism has been a philosophy resolutely open to the social sciences. Not only pragmatists have been actively engaged in social scientific research themselves (think of W. James, J. Dewey, G.H. Mead, C. Morris), but they have also conceived of the birth and development of the social sciences as one of the most innovative traits of modern society, the one truly capable of incarnating the pragmatist conception of the scope of knowledge within human experience.
It was mostly to social sciences, in fact, that pragmatist philosophers, social scientists, and reformers such as J. Dewey, W.E.B. Du Bois, L. Trilling, S. Hook, W. Mills turned to in order to find the analytical categories that could make philosophical thinking more attuned to the transformations changing contemporary societies. At the same time, the social sciences have always looked at pragmatism as a philosophy that offers useful tools for making sense of social, cultural and political practices and institutions.
The aim of this issue of EJPAP is to discuss the reciprocal influences between pragmatism and the social sciences, and at exploring the current state of their interactions within contemporary philosophy and social sciences.
Contributions from both philosophers and social scientists are thus welcome.
Possible questions for discussion include at least the following:
1. The role of pragmatist concepts for empirical social scientific research. How have concepts such as: public, situation, self, agency been developed by social scientists in their empirical work? What normative practices have been adopted because of influences stemming from pragmatism? What is the heuristic value of pragmatist categories and theories for work in the social sciences?
2. The role of the social sciences in the development of pragmatism. Historical accounts of the close relation (since the inception of the pragmatist movement) between pragmatist philosophy and experimental and social science are particularly welcome; these could include, for example, discussions of the importance of the social sciences in the development of the philosophies of Peirce, James, Dewey or Mead. Papers discussing the epistemological dimension of this historical relation are also welcome. Of equal interest are theoretical questions concerning the extent to which pragmatist philosophers draw upon empirical research to illustrate their claims, or of how research carried on within the social sciences has been and still is integrated in the reflection of pragmatist philosophers.
3. Pragmatism as a philosophy of the social sciences. Is there really a pragmatist philosophy of the social sciences? Which are its main, distinctive traits? How might traditional pragmatist sources contribute to its development? Which are the current approaches to the philosophy of the social sciences within the pragmatist tradition?
Abstracts of 400-500 words should be sent to Roberto Frega ([email protected]) by February 15th 2011.
The deadline for receipt of submissions is November 15th 2011. This issue of EJPAP will appear online in late 2011.