IV. American Pragmatism

I was first introduced to pragmatism by David Kolb while I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago in the mid-1970’s, but I didn’t return to pragmatism until I sat in on my colleague Tom Alexander’s seminar on Dewey’s Experience and Nature back in the early 1980’s. My fascination with Dewey percolated for several years until I again engaged James and Dewey as I sat in on courses by Scott Pratt on Dewey’s Experience and Nature and his Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. I had also read a good deal of Putnam and Rorty in the interim and was interested in how they had developed and sometimes changed some of the earlier pragmatist views. I have become convinced that some form of pragmatism offers the most adequate general philosophical context for appreciating the relevance and importance for philosophy of contemporary science. My books Philosophy in the Flesh (with George Lakoff) and The Meaning of the Body represent my pragmatist view of the necessity of an empirically responsible philosophy that takes seriously the bodily basis of human mind, thought, language, and values.


PHIL 463/563: 20th-Century Philosophers: Dewey (Experience and Nature)

PHIL 463/563: 20th-Century Philosophers: Dewey (Human Nature and Conduct)

PHIL 463/563: 20th-Century Philosophers: James (Principles of Psychology)

PHIL 463/563: 20th-Century Philosophers: Putnam

PHIL 463/563: 20th-Century Philosophers: Rorty (Neo-pragmatism)


The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding, University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Moral Imagination: Implications of Cognitive Science for Ethics, University of Chicago Press, 1993

Metaphors We Live By (co-author George Lakoff), University of Chicago Press, 1980; second edition with new Afterword, 2003.


“Cowboy Bill rides Herd on the Range of Consciousness,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 16: no. 4 (2002), 256-263.

Book Chapters:

“Cognitive Science and Dewey’s Theory of Mind, Thought, and Language,” The Cambridge Companion to John Dewey, M. Cochran (ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, 123-144.

“We are Live Creatures: Embodiment, American Pragmatism, and the Cognitive Organism,” (co-author Tim Rohrer), Body, Language, and Mind, Vol. 1: Embodiment. T. Ziemke, J. Zlatev, R. Frank, R. Dirven, (eds). Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter, 2007, 17-54.

“Cognitive Science,” A Companion to Pragmatism, J. Shook and J. Margolis (eds.). London: Blackwell (2006), 369-377.

Mark Johnson | Department of Philosophy | University of Oregon | Eugene, OR 97403-1295
Telephone: 541-346-5548 | Fax: 541-346-5544 | Email: markj [at] uoregon [dot] edu
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