Northwest American Philosophy Reading Group 2009

Topic for 2009: John Herman Randall, Jr. and the Role of Historical Inquiry in Pragmatism




Saturday October 17, 2009
10am - 5pm, with lunch and dinner
Yachats, Oregon

The Northwest American Philosophy Reading Group would like to announce its next meeting. We will be discussing the work of mid-century pragmatist John Herman Randall, Jr.. The format will be open discussion but our readings and conversation will be introduced by Colin Koopman (University of Oregon, cwkoopman@gmail.com). If you would like to stay overnight in the area, please contact Scott Pratt (University of Oregon, spratt@uoregon.edu) for information on places to stay--please note that due to a local weekend festival participants are advised to make reservations early. For other questions contact Erin McKenna (Pacific Lutheran University, mckenna@plu.edu). If you know that you plan to join us, please let Erin or Scott know so they can plan the food.


Texts for Discussion:

1. John Herman Randall, Jr.. 1935. "Historical Naturalism". Reprinted in Randall, Nature and Historical Experience. New York: Columbia University Press, 1958 (pp.1-19).

2. John Herman Randall, Jr.. 1958. "On the Understanding of Histories" in Randall, Nature and Historical Experience. New York: Columbia University Press, 1958 (pp.37-62).

3. John Herman Randall, Jr.. 1963. "The Cultural Functions of Philosophy" in Randall, How Philosophy Uses Its Past. New York: Columbia University Press, 1963 (pp.1-30).

Our three readings span a significant portion of John Herman Randallís philosophic career. Randall was an instrumental figure in carrying the pragmatist tradition forward in the mid-twentieth century. Among his most significant contributions to pragmatism are his writings on the place of historical inquiry in philosophical criticism. Our readings cover Randallís treatment on the uses of history for philosophy, the uses of historical philosophizing for addressing present problems, and the uses of philosophy for recovering our past.

Supplementary Readings for the Eager:

1. Chapter 1 of Nature and Historical Experience

2. Chapters 3 and 4 of Nature and Historical Experience

3. Chapters 2 and 3 of How Philosophy Uses Its Past (n.b. same document as above)

4. James Kloppenberg, "Pragmatism and the Practice of History", Metaphilosophy, 2004

5. Colin Koopman, "Historicism in Pragmatism", Metaphilosophy, forthcoming/2010

Please note that electronic copies of all readings will be made available to participants in late September--if you are looking at this webpage you should find links to the readings just above.