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XIII-2, 2021 – Pragmatist Ethics: Theory and Practice

The 2021/2 issue of the EJPAP will host a symposium on the theme of Pragmatist Ethics: Theory and Practice, exploring the many ways in which the contribution of pragmatism to moral philosophy and the moral life has been argued for. In particular, the symposium is interested in gathering contributions exploring the distinctive nature, shape, and limits of a pragmatist mindset in moral matters.

It is in fact rather curious that, despite pragmatism engaged in a radical reconfiguration of the ethical landscape – both within and without philosophy –, and often presented its own methodological cipher in ethical terms – that is as a call for a practicalization and re-evaluation of experience, language, and conduct itself –, still it is rather unclear exactly how this option is any different from the ones performed by kindred traditions (e.g. Marxism, critical theory, and some selected strands of analytic philosophy; or, going further back, Stoicism and ancient skepticism), or if it is at all. Furthermore, the two main directives along which a pragmatist approach to ethics has been articulated are quite at odds with each other, advocating now a pragmatic variety of moral theorizing – in which duties, rights, goods, and the virtues are seen as aspects of the moral life or tools for its amelioration (Dewey, C.I. Lewis, E. Anderson, C. Misak) –, now the obliteration of moral theorizing altogether – in favour of a therapeutic conception of moral reflection aimed at self-transformation and care (James, Putnam, Rorty, J.D. Wallace, C. Koopman). Still others attempted a middle way in which pragmatism is coupled now with Darwinism (P. Kitcher, L. McGranahan), now with the social sciences (R.J. Bernstein, C. West, M.M. Adams) to craft a moral methodology equally engaged in figuring out the best normative solution to ethical puzzles and in rethinking the problematic situation as one in which what is called for is a work of the self on the self.

Authors are encouraged to submit contributions covering any aspect of pragmatist ethics, either focusing on selected figures of the tradition, or suggesting distinctive overall pictures of the pragmatist approach(es).

Papers should be sent to Sarin Marchetti ( by 30 July 2021. They should not exceed 8,000 words and must include an abstract of 150-400 words and a list of works cited. Papers will be selected on the basis of a process of blind review. They will be published in October 2021.

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