The Accidental Pragmatist: Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Psychology as Pragmatic Popular Science
While much of the work of rhetorical pragmatists has involved explicating the value of foundational pragmatist thinkers such as John Dewey and William James to new generations of scholars in composition and communication studies, less work has been devoted to seeing how contemporary scholars outside of the humanities already use these thinkers in ways that may nevertheless be fruitful for the study of language and discourse. This essay argues that the moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt provides an example of this less-explored category, using pragmatist influences in combination with modern empirical methods to articulate a theory of communication that offers tools for enhanced understanding of the psychology underlying rhetorical discourse.
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