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Methods in BioethicsThe Way We Reason Now$
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John Arras

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190665982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190665982.001.0001

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Dewey and Rorty’s Pragmatism and Bioethics

Dewey and Rorty’s Pragmatism and Bioethics

(p.100) 5 Dewey and Rorty’s Pragmatism and Bioethics
Methods in Bioethics

John D. Arras

James Childress

Matthew Adams

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the “classical” roots of American pragmatism, and explains the ongoing importance understanding these roots holds for contemporary bioethics. It begins by outlining some central themes from the work of John Dewey, particularly his understanding of principles. The chapter then examines the relevant aspects of Richard Rorty’s philosophy and explains the way in which Rorty was influenced by Dewey, despite parting company with him on several important issues. Both the appeal and the limitation of these two authors’ work is brought into focus, in order to prepare the way for the discussion of “freestanding” pragmatism in chapter 7.

Keywords:   John Dewey, Richard Rorty, American pragmatism, warranted assertability, ironism

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