Journal for General Philosophy of Science

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 89–119 | Cite as

Facts and Values in Pragmatism and Logical Empiricism: Addressing the Eclipse Narrative

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Abstract

The story of the rise and fall of pragmatism is sometimes called the eclipse narrative. This paper addresses a specific version of this narrative that the logical empiricists arrived in North America in the 1930s and within 30 years had supplanted the pragmatists as the dominant philosophy there. Philosophers such as Alan Richardson and Cheryl Misak have challenged this view by emphasizing the similarities between these two movements. While both seem to admit that there is a distinction between the two when it comes to values, I point out that the issue of values feeds into all aspects of pragmatist thinking, and so despite what seems on the surface to be agreements between the two movements, they were still quite different in all areas of their thinking. I challenge the degree of similarities by arguing that there were some sharp distinctions between the two movements, with the most important being the fact-value distinction and its impact on how each conceived of the term “practical.” I close by addressing how these distinctions should affect how we conceive of the eclipse narrative.

Keywords

Pragmatism Logical Empiricism Dewey Carnap Neurath Lewis Value 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Samantha St. Amand, Heather Douglas, and Shannon Dea for their feedback, in addition to the two anonymous reviewers for their feedback on this essay.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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