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PHI 105 Week 3 Checkpoint - Pragmatism and Analytic Philosophy




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Pragmatism & Analytical Philosophy
Josh Gorban

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Pragmatism & Analytic Philosophy
Pragmatism and analytic philosophy are uniquely America movements because the philosophers
that contributed to these new ideas were either American or came to America to study and/or
The three most important pragmatic philosophers were C. S. Peirce, William James, and John
Dewey. Peirce was ultimately given credit for inventing pragmatism, but James is the name that
this concept came to be associated because he pushed it the most aggressively. Pragmatism
rejected European ideas of a fixed, absolute truth. Instead, they believed that truth is
comparative to a specific time and place and constantly changes with the discovery of new
information (Moore & Bruder, 2008, p. 222). Peirce regarded pragmatism as a standard for
establishing the meaning of ideas. James believed, “The whole function of philosophy ought to
be to find out what definite difference it will make to you and us, at definite instants of our life, if
this world-formula or that world-formula be the true one” (Moore & Bruder, 2008, p. 222).
James believed that true or believable ideas must be practical in essence.
Analytic philosophy consists of taking complex ideas and simplifying them (Moore & Bruder,
2008, p. 225). Bertrand Russell, originally a student of mathematics, took an interest in
philosophy to find proof in mathematical numbers. His observations and studies ultimately led
to his abandonment of Absolute Idealism (Moore & Bruder, 2009, p. 227). It was Russell’s
philosophical ideas that penetrated English-speaking countries and became a major contributor to
the American movement of philosophy.

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Pragmatism | 3
Moore, B. N., & Bruder, K. (2008). Philosophy: The Power of Ideas (7th ed.). New York, NY:

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Very useful material for studying!