By J. David Lewis

Lewis and Smith reconstruct the highbrow histories of either American pragmatism and sociology as they built from 1892 to 1935 on the college of Chicago. In doing so, the authors problem a lot present pondering in philosophy and sociology. opposite to the normal account of the heritage of yankee pragmatism, which depicts the philosophies of Charles Peirce, William James, John Dewey, and George Herbert Mead as forming a unified culture, the authors argue that there have been targeted forms of American pragmatism. One was once the individualist pragmatism of James's and Dewey's practical psychology; the opposite was once the extra socially orientated pragmatism of Peirce and Mead.

The authors current a reinterpretation of the highbrow impression of the pragmatists, specially Mead, upon the early Chicago sociologists and the following culture of symbolic interactionism. via an research of correct texts, they exhibit that best sociologists of the interval, Small, Ellwood, Thomas, and Blumer, between others, approximate the philosophical culture of James and Dewey extra heavily than that of Mead and Peirce.

The convergence of textual, archival, and survey-based proof amassed by way of Lewis and Smith reopens the talk about the highbrow roots of yank sociology. Their learn issues towards the necessity for a extensively revised heritage of symbolic interactionism, American pragmatism, Chicago sociology, and American sociology itself from 1890 to 1935.

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Additional info for American Sociology and Pragmatism: Mead, Chicago Sociology, and Symbolic Interaction

Sample text

Yet, for explanatory purposes, it is better that we begin with an examination of the phenomenological categories, because they are more closely related to ordinary experience. Firstness Firstness is by far the most difficult category to explain. It is entirely singular and, therefore, cannot be described; it can only be felt in a noncognitive way. 302). It is any quality of feeling experienced in total isolation. It is the pure feeling of some color, emotion, smell, taste, sound, poetry, music, or anything.

He further adds: The Ding an sich [thing in itself] can neither be indicated nor found. Consequently, no proposition can refer to it, and no thing true or false can be predicted of it. Therefore, all reference to it must be thrown out as meaningless surplusage. But when that is done, we see clearly that Kant regards Space, Time and his categories just as everybody else does, and never doubts or has doubted their objectivity. Peirce’s metaphysics preserves Kant’s phenomenalism, but elevates phenomena to the level of reality and denies the existence of any un­ knowable substratum.

Un­ fortunately, the instrumentalists proceed to reach the nominalistic con­ clusion regarding the reality of that which is represented by the scientific law. Like all nominalists, instrumentalists fail to appreciate the sig­ nificance of the fact that events in the world will either conform to the scientist’s formula or they will not; that the scientist’s thinking has no effect on the conformity or lack of it because the actions and reactions of interacting physical entities are not influenced whatsoever by the scien­ tist’s thinking about them.

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