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Extra info for Richard J. Bernstein and the Pragmatist Turn in Contemporary Philosophy: Rekindling Pragmatism’s Fire

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How should we understand Introduction 31 democracy, community, and human rights in our interdisciplinary, public-inclusive efforts to ameliorate important contemporary problems of local and global living? How can we transform existing social institutions and their current intellectual frameworks in order to give fuller actuality to these guiding values? What can we learn from careful historical reflection on humanity’s context-specific and accumulated ethical experience across the long generations of our descent from our earliest ancestors?

How to guide humanity’s future development in ethics (and in other spheres like mathematics) is the aspect of Putnam’s constructive project that both Kitcher and Bernstein find incomplete. To advance pragmatism’s constructive project in ethics further, Kitcher advocates an even more inclusive conversation with other historicist thinkers than does Bernstein, suggesting that Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Michel Foucault also have valuable genealogical insights about social arrangements and institutions to contribute.

Green concern does not give the right emphasis to the social disasters and associated doubts that “set Rorty’s hair on fire” – in Rorty’s view, representationalism and foundationalism matter because they are inextricably bound up with human tragedies and widespread cruelty. ” McClean appreciates this aspect of Rorty’s work, and he suggests that Bernstein does, too. ” In contrast, Bernstein expresses his own humanist concerns in the milder and more abstract pragmatist terms of “degrees, spectrums and continuums rather than dualisms,” and of finding a middle position between extremes, as in his discussion of Habermas – perhaps because he does not regard the active dangers of foundationalisms and realisms as so vicious and vital as Rorty saw them, which led him to say that there is no “middle” in this fight.

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