Biennial Conference

2018 Conference: Applied Neo-Pragmatism

Fall 2018

We typically think of talk of morality, of psychological states, and of objects as true or false. But what makes them true or false? Philosophy has shown that this ordinary way of thinking sometimes leads to commitments to odd properties and to other problems as well. An approach called "pragmatism" has tried to solve these problems by equating truth and usefulness. According to pragmatism, we consider statements true when they are useful for us. However, pragmatism has had troubles of its own. 

Headwith question mark"Neo-pragmatism" is a recent attempt to demystify truth and related notions such as representation and fact.  One part of the program involves avoiding reliance on any robust notion of truth altogether, and substituting another explanation of our talk about truth.  Another part of the program appeals to usefulness in order to explain how moral talk, psychological talk, everyday object talk, and so on, emerged.

Our two-day conference will feature both the theoretical and applied aspects of neo-pragmatism. The emphasis is on how the neo-pragmatist program solves problems in such arenas as morality and psychology and allows us to think of these areas as factual.

Confirmed speakers are:

Simon Blackburn (Emeritus Professor, University of Cambridge, and Research Professor, UNC/Chapel Hill)
Huw Price (Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge)

The conference organizer is Joshua Gert. E-mail: [[jngert]]

Conference details and announcement of other speakers forthcoming!


The Department of Philosophy is grateful to Teresa Thompson ('67) and Michael Foradas ('78)
for their generous support.



Past Conferences

Epistemology and Cognition (2016)

The Authority of Tradition (2014)

Responsibility & Relationships: 50 Years of Strawson's 'Freedom and Resentment' (2012)

Study of the Human Self (2008)

The Future of Democracy (2006)