Cheryl Misak's The American Pragmatists is an examination of the history of American pragmatism, starting with Chauncey Wright and Peirce, and finishing with Putnam. She focuses on the pragmatists' views about truth and epistemology, and to a lesser extent on their work in metaethics. Much of the book is introductory, but it is not for the philosophical neophyte. It would make an excellent textbook for an upper-level undergraduate course (one might use it alongside Susan Haack's [2006] anthology, Pragmatism, Old and New). I will examine in turn three major themes of the book.

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According to a popular story, America's native pragmatism was largely displaced in the 1930s by a European invasive species, logical empiricism. Pragmatism was then close to extinct for a half century, before it was reintroduced by Putnam and Rorty. Misak makes a powerful case against this story, arguing that the...

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