Historicity, Critique, and the Problem of Naturalism in Neuropragmatism

In: Contemporary Pragmatism
Author: Conor Morris1
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I argue that neuropragmatism holds to a problematic version of Dewey’s principle of continuity, and thus risks the melioristic dimensions of the neurophilosophical turn proposed for pragmatism. Therefore, firstly, I try to show that the neuropragmatist does hold this principle. Secondly, I give an alternative (historicist) account. Thirdly, I argue that the neuropragmatists’ interpretation of the principle of continuity is problematic because it threatens to undermine their melioristic concerns because of their explanatory commitments. This historicist pragmatist order of explanation aims at avoiding this problem while maintaining meliorism. I conclude by arguing that this is a mistake in the conflation of two distinct stories, one ethical, and the other ontological.

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