The Fourth Nordic Pragmatism Conference


Copenhagen, Denmark
22-24 August 2011


Inquiry was a central – if not the most central – theme for the classical pragmatist philosophers. Charles S. Peirce and John Dewey offered a novel perspective on inquiry by pointing towards its social and biological underpinnings on the one hand and its fallibility, self-correctiveness and normativity on the other. More recent pragmatist thinkers have continued this tradition by applying these ideas to contemporary discussions in philosophy of science, philosophy of action and social philosophy.

One central issue with the pragmatist view is that the notion of inquiry itself appears to have two interrelated but distinct aspects. Both Peirce and Dewey used the notion to refer both to our everyday, commonplace problem-solving and (more narrowly) to scientific investigation. What is the relationship between these two forms of inquiry? Is the latter merely a sophisticated version of the former? Conversely, in what way, if any, should our everyday problem-solving be informed by scientific inquiry?

A second key issue concerns the natural and normative foundations of inquiry. William James and especially Dewey argued that our inquiring capacities have a biological basis in our nature as organisms, understanding the formation of knowledge as an adaptive response to our environment. All the while pragmatists, especially Peirce, emphasized that logic is the normative study of good inquiry. What is the connection between the normative understanding of inquiry and its biological and natural roots, and how can pragmatist views evade charges of “naturalistic fallacy”?

Thirdly, the classical pragmatists maintained that inquiry, especially scientific inquiry, is unavoidably a social enterprise. Some contemporary pragmatists have even argued that this has far-reaching societal implications. In what sense is inquiry a communal project, and in what way should the larger society as a whole reflect this notion?

The Fourth Nordic Pragmatism Conference focuses on the pragmatist view of inquiry. How can this view distinguish pragmatism from other traditions? What are the consequences of the pragmatist notion of inquiry to philosophical and scientific reflection in different fields?


The conference is organized by the Nordic Pragmatism Network with financial support from NordForsk.

The conference takes place at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in 22-24 August 2011. The conference sessions take place at CSS (Centre for Health and Society), Building 1.1.18, address: Oester Farimagsgade 5 (Google map).

Rooms at Ibsens Hotel have been reserved for the speakers. All speakers who participate via the open call for papers are asked to arrange for their own reservation by contacting the hotel and use the group reservation code 197380.

Organizing Committee:

Main speakers:

  • Tom Burke (University of South Caroline)
  • John Capps (Rochester Institute of Technology)
  • Laurent Thévenot (L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales)

Call for Papers

The organizing committee invites paper proposals to the conference programme. Please send an abstract of 150-300 words to by 1 June, 2011. The organization reserves the right to select presentations based on interest and suitability to the overall conference theme.

If accepted to the programme, the abstract text will be displayed on this webpage. A time slot of 30 minutes will be allotted for each paper.

As part of the Nordic Pragmatism Network’s efforts to increase student mobility, the travel costs of young scholars (advanced undergraduates, doctoral students and recent Ph.Ds) studying or working at a Nordic university can be covered by the Network’s funds, if accepted to the programme. The costs covered include accommodation and reasonable airfare from another Nordic country. To apply, young scholars are asked to include a brief CV with the following information:

  • Most recent degree and year of graduation
  • Home university and position
  • List of publications (if applicable)
  • Brief description of research interests (about 100 words)


Monday, 22 August

9.25-9.30 Opening words
9.30-10.30 Truth and Inquiry
John Capps (Rochester Institute of Technology)
10.30-11.00 Break
11.00-12.30 Inquiry and the Fourth Grade of Clearness (pdf)
David Pfeifer (Institute for American Thought, Indiana University)Truth and the Norms of Inquiry: Pragmatism as a Mediating Approach to Truth
Henrik Rydenfelt

Peirce’s Scientific Method of Inquiry and the Christian Ethics of Anti-Egotism
Heikki A. Kovalainen (University of Tampere)

12.30-13.30 Lunch
13.30-15.00 Scientific vs Everyday Inquiry: Peirce on Limits of Inquiry
Agnieszka Hensoldt (Opole University)Pragmaticism and the Logic of Inquiry
Tommi Vehkavaara (University of Tampere)

Beyond Practical and Empirical Interest: Inquiry as an Epistemic Concept in Pragmatism
Erkki Kilpinen (University of Helsinki)

15.00-15.30 Break
15.30-17.00 Dewey, Naturalism and Moral Inquiry
Robert Sinclair (Brooklyn College, CUNY)Deweyan Abduction?
Sami Paavola (University of Helsinki)

Inquiry without Fallibilism? Pragmatism and Commitments Immune to Revision
Ulf Zackariasson (Uppsala University)

Tuesday, 23 August

9.30-10.30 Habit, Belief, Judgment, and Instant Replay in Baseball
Tom Burke (University of South Carolina)
10.30-11.00 Break
11.00-12.30 Holistic Pragmatism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry
Sami Pihlström (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies & University of Jyväskylä, Finland)The Problem of Humanistic Inquiry in the Light of Pragmatism and Its Methodology
Waldemar Zareba (The Catholic University of Lublin & Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

The Galileo/Bellarmine-Controversy: Rorty between Kuhn and Davidson
Timo Vuorio (University of Tampere)

12.30-13.30 Lunch
13.30-15.00 On Everyday, Scientific, and Ontological Inquiry
Heikki J. Koskinen (University of Tampere)The Role of Intuition in Inquiry
Lauri Järvilehto (University of Jyväskylä)

Expressing Subjectivity: Some Constraints on a Pragmatist View of the Explanatory Relations between Language and the Mental
Bjorn Ramberg (University of Oslo)

15.00-15.30 Break
15.30-17.00 The Ambiguity of Inquiry in Management Research: An American Pragmatist Perspective (doc)
Mihaela Kelemen (Keele University)Another Form of Fallibilism: Law (Like Science) as Social Inquiry (rtf)
Frederic R. Kellogg (The George Washington University & Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil)

Social Inquiry and the Challenges of Democracy: Why Pragmatists Must be Rawlsians
Robert B. Talisse (Vanderbilt University)

Wednesday, 24 August

9.30-10.30 In What Sense Might the Pragmatist Inquiry Be Critical? A Parallel between the Sociology of Engagements and Dewey’s Pragmatism
Laurent Thévenot (École des hautes études en sciences sociales)
10.30-11.00 Break
11.00-13.00 Inquiry and Virtue: An Argument for Civic Education
Phillip D. Deen (Wellesley College)Democratic Inquiry: Dewey on Truth and the Public
Martin Ejsing Christensen (University of Aarhus)

Free Inquiry and Free Speech
Jón Ólafsson (Bifröst University)

Scientific Inquiry as an Ethical Enterprise – A Pragmatic Understanding of Social Sciences
Frank Martela (Aalto University)

13.00-14.00 Lunch
14.00-15.30 The Challenges of Pragmatic Social Inquiry
Brendan Hogan (New York University)Artistic Inquiry and Its Relation to Scientific Inquiry: A Double-hemispheric Approach
Arild Pedersen (University of Oslo)

Pragmatic Inquiry and Creativity – A Critical Perspective
Antje Gimmler (Aalborg University)

15.30-16.00 Break
16.00-17.30 Laughter and Solidarity
Ramón del Castillo (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia)On the Concept of “Inquiry” in Philosophy: Convergences and Divergences between Rorty and Vattimo, Pragmatism and Hermeneutics.
Jean-Claude Lévêque (CSIC-CCHS-Madrid)

Inquiry as Critique
Torjus Midtgarden (University of Bergen)


(Un)fixing Beliefs: The Conduct of Inquiry Reconsidered
Thora Margareta Bertilsson (University of Copenhagen) 

In ‘The Fixation of Belief’ (CP, 5: 358 – 377), Ch. S. Peirce proposes a theory of inquiry as ‘social conduct’ – as a method to reach communal agreement over time. In that same vein, he also argues for a ‘social theory of logic’, i.e. the idea that a community is a necessary predicate for the validity of logical inferences (induction and abduction). In a strong note, he even espouses on a sacrifice concept of inquiry: ’He who would not sacrifice his own soul to save the whole word, is illogical in all his inferences, collectively.’ (5:354).

The question I want to consider in my presentation is how such a sacrifice image of inquiry squares with more modern views of the social practices underlying the process of inquiry, now considered both as an individual and a collective process. On the individual level, I propose to (re)consider the vital role of doubts in energizing the process of (inner) reflection – thus linking classic pragmatism to the thoughts of S. Kierkegaard. On the collective level, I propose to (re)consider Peirce’s sacrifice image in the light of contemporary social studies of science where inquiry is considered as routine social practices or ‘epistemic cultures’. Finally, I will (re)consider ‘the social principle’ as envisioned by Peirce’s early papers and ask if it is at all viable in today’s world riddled by severe value conflicts afflicting the conduct of inquiry from within.

Ethics and Scientific Inquiry: Peirce’s Writings in the 1890s
Hedy Boero (University of Navarra, Spain) 

One of the central features of scientific inquiry for Peirce is its complete fairness in studying facts and their implications. According to him, the scientific man must to strive to get at the facts of observation, in his research field, with perfect impartiality and candor as to the outcome of any inquiry. In light of this subject, Peirce begins in the 1890s to reflect on the relationship between ethics and scientific inquiry, concerned to maintain scientific activity free of factors that could distort its disinterested nature. Thus, in the texts of this period he raises two important issues: first, whether there is an ethics inherent in scientific inquiry, i.e. whether the development of scientific activity necessarily requires and strengthens certain specific moral qualities. The second issue is whether the interference of an external morality within science is favorable or unfavorable to scientific progress; in other words, whether an exaggerated regard for the moral and spiritual beliefs of a community may hinder or even prevent the advancement of science. The purpose of this work is to examine the answers given by Peirce to both questions, paying attention to the texts of the selected period. There are four keys to the Peircean solution: the first is his definition of science; the second, his notion of morality; the third comes from the idea of habit; and the fourth, from his defense of pluralism.

Habit, Belief, Judgment, and Instant Replay in Baseball
Tom Burke (University of South Carolina) 

To illustrate Peirce’s account (1878) of what pragmatism is as a method for clarifying ideas, James (1907) famously used the example of a friendly but deadlocked dispute about whether one can move around a squirrel that is sidling around a tree to keep out of sight. In this context, James also discussed the fact that pragmatism as of 1907 had come to be regarded as a particular theory of truth. This composite conception of pragmatism as both a method and a theory will be critiqued and modified in a way aimed at integrating the different views of pragmatism first presented by Peirce and James. The resulting new and improved conception of pragmatism will be illustrated using the present-day dispute about whether and to what extent instant replay call reviews should be implemented in professional baseball.

Truth and Inquiry
John Capps (Rochester Institute of Technology) 

The goal of inquiry is truth, but what is truth? Pragmatists have grappled with the concept of truth from the very beginning. Peirce and James offered vastly different theories while Dewey largely avoided the concept; more recent pragmatists run the gamut from Rorty’s dismissal of truth’s importance to Brandom’s embrace of prosententialism. In addition, there is the common caricature that pragmatism simply equates truth with utility.

For pragmatism, the connection between truth and inquiry raises two important questions that any pragmatic theory of truth should address: first, does “truth” refer to the same concept across different contexts of inquiry, ranging from science to everyday problem solving? Second, how does a pragmatic theory of truth capture the distinction between what we should believe vs. what we do believe? By focusing on the connection between truth and inquiry I will argue that pragmatism can provide a coherent theory of truth that addresses these two questions.

In addition, I will suggest that a pragmatic theory of truth compares quite well against (or sometimes complements) more recent theories such as minimalism, pluralism, and alethic relativism. Finally, I will argue that, because a pragmatic theory of truth is grounded in the connection between truth and inquiry, it has important practical consequences that should count significantly in its favor.

Laughter and Solidarity
Ramón del Castillo (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia) 

I think that social inquiry requires other perspectives than philosophy in the way to explore the affective dimension of social intercourse. Rorty was right when he vindicated a turn from philosophy to literature, sociology or history. However, he also thought that these sources could contribute to avoid cruelty, rather than to promote positive images of good life.

In this presentation I will try to explore a specific dimension of social experience in which judgment and compassion, censure and understanding seem to be combined. This sphere can be associated with laughter and joke, but not with any type of humour. I will distinguish between what I call ironical type and sympathetic type of humour, the fist one grounded in a distant but civilized assimilation of the other’s standards to the subject’s ones, the later on an effusive conversion of the subject’s standards to the other’s ones. I will consider briefly Rorty’s owns idea of self-judgment and irony, but I will also remain some important ideas by Bergson, Freud and other author on humour and community, solidarity and cruelty. I will explain how some humoristic practices can be expression of both dissent and sociability. To some extent, this sort of humour would reconcile justice and love, condemnation and forgiveness, but it isn’t any anteroom of religious faith, as Søren Kierkegaard and Reinhold Niebhur suggested.

In definitive, I will try to use humour as a social scene in small scale by which we can comprehend the dynamic of recognition and exclusion, and some frames of mutual perception and self-understanding. After all, in his Reification, Axel Honneth’s did vindicate not only the relevance Dewey’s ideas about the affective dimension of social life, but James’s ideas on mutual acknowledgment in his “On a Certain Blindness of Human Beings”. I think that a Jamesian perspective of recognition partly compensates Dewey’s too positive view of the emotional preconditions of social intercourse, and that humour offers us a curious illustration of the tension between avoiding humiliation and promoting recognition.

Democratic Inquiry: Dewey on Truth and the Public
Martin Ejsing Christensen (University of Aarhus) 

The at times tense relationship between the sciences and democracy has received particular attention recently from French speaking philosophers of science such as Bruno Latour and Isabelle Stengers. However, while drawing on and acknowledging Dewey’s thoughts about “the public and its problems” they both, in different ways, distance themselves from Dewey’s general way of thinking about the sciences. In this paper I will present what I take to be Dewey’s most basic insight into the relationship between truth and the public and discuss some of the reasons why Stengers and Latour have distanced themselves from Dewey. Accordingly, the first part of the paper delineates Dewey’s reconstruction of the concept of truth, as presented in his 1911 lectures on “the problem of truth”. Here Dewey articulates a pragmatic alternative to traditional idealist and realist conceptions of truth that focus on coherence and representational correspondence respectively. Instead, Dewey focuses on consequences, but at the end of the lectures he suggests that the most relevant critique of such a pragmatic conception would be “the charge of oscillating between two kinds of consequences: the intellectually objective and the socially controlling”. I suggest that The Public and Its Problems, with its focus on the relationship between consequences and the formation of a public, can be seen as an attempt to address this problem. The final part of the paper then relates Dewey’s view to Latour and Stengers. While being sympathetic towards Dewey, Latour has suggested that we have to give up the concept of nature for cosmopolitical reasons if we want to bring the sciences into democracy, and Stengers has suggested that Dewey’s philosophy, despite pretending to be strictly immanent, is actually transcendental.

Inquiry and Virtue: An Argument for Civic Education
Phillip D. Deen (Wellesley College) 

Liberal democracy has always had an unsteady relationship to virtue. Its republican strand has emphasized the centrality of civic virtue as a bulwark against faction and tyranny and the place of civic engagement in the good life. At the same time, its liberal strand makes sacred the scope of private freedom and the right to design one’s own image of what constitutes a good life. Democratic authority rests on the reasoned consent of the governed yet, as we become ever more pluralist, it is unreasonable to expect consensus on substantive moral ends. This makes the justification of civics education in public schools difficult. However, if liberal democracy is to survive, its citizens must have certain virtues.

Though a rich source of early 20th century Progressive thought, pragmatist accounts of democratic virtue have been judged inadequate under today’s pluralist conditions. Charles Peirce’s praise of Truth and the virtues required to attain it and John Dewey’s post-Darwinian model of the flourishing natural and social agent has been deemed too metaphysically and morally thick to secure public agreement.

An alternative is to derive democratic norms and virtues from Peirce’s and Dewey’s model of inquiry alone. I argue that, if the assertion of true beliefs entails a commitment to a process of public discussion and experimentation, then it also entails certain norms and virtues. Ultimately, democratic virtues of inclusiveness, respect, openness, courage and responsiveness are demanded of those who assert beliefs as true (and this would seem to cover everyone). Democratic norms and virtues may then be derived not by appeal to one substantive conception of the Good, but from the nature of moral inquiry itself. The result is a public justification of civic education—the cultivation in children certain democratic virtues—that does not violate the liberal commitments.

Pragmatic Inquiry and Creativity – A Critical Perspective
Antje Gimmler (Aalborg University) 

’Don’t block the road of inquiry” was the motto of Peirce and also Dewey situated inquiry in its ideal version in a democratic and cooperative community. Abduction became the key concept for the pragmatic and creative research process where the lonely engineer is substituted with intelligent collaborations of the many. Thus, inquiry is from a pragmatic understanding rather a social than a purely cognitive task. The paper will firstly give a sketch of this understanding of inquiry and creativity on the background of the theories of Peirce and Dewey and will draw some parallels to recent conceptualizations of knowledge production within the field of sociology of knowledge (Helga Nowotny). The pragmatic approach to inquiry as part of everyday life practices is committed not only to the acceptance and inclusion of the public but also to the humanistic ideal of meliorism. From the perspective of Thevenot’s critical pragmatism this understanding might be naïve – not because this is an idealistic rather than a real-life scenario but because the idea of collaborative creativity and self-realization has actually become the driving force in a marked dominated organization of science and production. ‘The inspired world’ as Laurent Thévenot calls this creative environment, is liberating and repressive at the same time, thriving upon constant innovation and excitement. The force to be creative leads to a higher form of alienation. How would Dewey react to this diagnosis? The paper will secondly present a critical dialogue between Thévenot and Dewey about the role of creativity and community for inquiry.

Scientific vs Everyday Inquiry: Peirce on Limits of Inquiry
Agnieszka Hensoldt (Opole University) 

In “The Fixation of Belief” (FB) Peirce adopts a broad conception of inquiry as a settlement of beliefs. Consequently, he terms every “struggle to attain a state of belief” inquiry. In 1870s he does not want to presuppose the difference between everyday and scientific methods of inquiry, although he argues for the scientific method as the best method of belief fixation. (Most commentators agree the arguments which Peirce brings forward in FB do not suffice to fulfill this task.)

However twenty years later in “Detached Ideas on Vitally Important Topics” (DI) Peirce underlines the difference between science and practice, in particular the different nature of relations among belief, doubt, and inquiry in the case of science and in the case of practice.

This change in Peirce’s standpoint is not the overturn in his conception of science and inquiry. It rather reveals a tension which is present in Peirce’s theory of inquiry in 1870s as well as in 1890s. On the one hand, Peirce is not keen to see acts of everyday inquiry and acts of scientific inquiry as fundamentally different. On the other hand, he points out the scientific method as the best method of settling opinions.

This paper is concerned with two problematic fields which result from this tension: 1. What do everyday inquiry and scientific inquiry have in common? The scientific method is rooted in our everyday practice, but surely this is not the same to use “a scientific method” in solving everyday problems and to use it as a physicist, chemist etc. in scientific inquiry in a strict sense (DI). 2. Why should we choose the scientific method? I shall argue answers to these questions can be found in Peirce’s conception of indubitable beliefs

The Challenges of Pragmatic Social Inquiry
Brendan Hogan (New York University) 

In one of his earlier works written in the early twentieth century, “Three Independent Factors in Morals” John Dewey employs what was increasingly to become a master strategy of his pragmatic philosophizing. Rather than taking a decisive position with respect to the three major ethical theories of virtue, deontology, and consequentialism, Dewey articulates the benefits and shortcomings of each without hypostatizing any. These unique and prima facie contradictory ethical positions then could serve, according to Dewey, as tools, or factors, of critical reflection in any problematic inquiry. In general terms, Dewey stays true to the pluralism at the heart of his experimental position in inquiry, and treats each of the ethical frameworks as possibilities for elucidating the particular features of problematic situations. These features in turn suggest which of the available normative claims made by each of the three frameworks would be most useful to rectifying a problematic situation according to what is truly desirable, as opposed to a pregiven and unwarranted desire. His chapter “The General Pattern of Inquiry” in his later masterwork on inquiry, the 1938 Logic: the theory of inquiry continues this Hegelian strategy of taking up previous contradictory theories into moments of a larger practice of inquiry. The frameworks of correspondence, coherence, and Dewey’s version of pragmatic epistemology each serve as norms to be fulfilled in terms of achieving adequate descriptions, forming conceptual sense and consistency with the warranted results of prior inquiries, and rectification of the problematic situation that existentially and experimentally reestablishes equilibrium. The situation is no different in terms of social inquiry. Here we see on hand this pragmatic master strategy again. Dewey’s philosophy of social inquiry can be seen to take up the three major schools of the philosophy of social science on the way to a unique pragmatic articulation. Naturalism, Hermeneutics, and Critical social science all are given their respective due in the employment of the pattern of inquiry at the level of social problems in terms of explanation, meaning, and emancipation/transformation. In this paper I would like to explore the agent capabilities required of the inquirers if this synthesis is to be accomplished. My claim is that while this is a promising strategy, deep questions remain as how pragmatic social inquiry can internalize and operationalize the norms of critical theory and hermeneutics sufficiently.

The Role of Intuition in Inquiry
Lauri Järvilehto (University of Jyväskylä) 

C.S. Peirce had his watch stolen once on a river boat. After lining up the suspects, he identified the culprit on nothing but a hunch. Later events proved his hunch to be correct: Peirce recovered his watch and the perpetrator was brought to justice. (Sebeok & Sebeok 1981.) But how was the philosopher able to perform such a stunt?

The question of the role of intuition in inquiry is one laden with mysteries. It appears that at least some people do have the capacity to make their hunches serve them better than educated guesses. But how does this capacity come by?

In this paper, I will study the notion of intuition, and its role in performing inquiry. I will first address the functionality of intuition and its manifestations in various situations. Then I will present an outline for the way the intuition works, based on studies in cognitive psychology during the last decade or so. Finally, I will observe the role of intuition in inquiry, an in particular in performing abductive inference.

It will be argued that intuition is a domain-specific capacity to come to viable conclusions by using the non-conscious processing capacity of the mind. This position is based on the dual-processing theory of the mind of Jonathan Evans (see e.g. Evans 2003) and the studies in non-conscious thought by Ap Djiksterhuis and John Bargh (see e.g. Djiksterhuis 2006 and Bargh & Chartrand 1999) and in intuition by Erik Dane & Michael G. Pratt (see e.g. Dane & Pratt 2007). I will argue that domain-specific deliberate exercise develops habits that become subsequently autonomous and automatic to the extent that their application requires no further conscious effort.

Such non-conscious processes can be then utilized to perform various complicated tasks, such as inquiry. In many cases, the parameters involved in a particular inquiry are complicated beyond the conscious processing capacity of the human mind. Therefore, only a sufficiently developed intuitive capacity can resolve such situations. In carrying out inquiry, the role of intuition is often of paramount importance.

The Ambiguity of Inquiry in Management Research: An American Pragmatist Perspective
Mihaela Kelemen (Keele University) 

For over two thousand years philosophy has attempted to achieve certainty out of ambiguity. Clarity was more than just the mechanism for resolving epistemological uncertainty: it was the principle by which knowledge could be made useful. As the principle of clarity became elevated on the grounds of usefulness ambiguity was treated as something to be denied and disavowed. That is until American Pragmatism sought to convince us otherwise.

Charles Peirce was perhaps the first philosopher who believed that ambiguity needed to be tolerated or at least deferred until the end of the inquiry rather than banished at the beginning. While acknowledging the need for clarity for logical expression, Peirce considered the impatient pursuit of simplicity and clarity equally harmful, becoming a negative condition that could hamper open ended inquiry. Clarity, for him, was an impossible dream since concepts could only be expressed in an imperfect language.

It was William James who went on to treat ambiguity in distinctive positive terms. He equated ambiguity with richness, vitality and pluralism. His advocacy was rooted in a conception of the universe as ever-changing, multi-dimensional and for ever changing, part of the vibrancy of primal experience. For James ambiguity was a positive rather than a negative force within our social and cultural experience. He interpreted ambiguity as a desire to avoid conclusive certainties and instead to celebrate the multiple possibilities inherent in every situation.

This position was embraced by John Dewey and is most evident in his treatment of scientific inquiry. Dewey argues that modern philosophy has deferred too easily to the authority of knowledge in the name of science without questioning this authority. Diversity, plurality and ambiguity of experience have thus been assimilated into a non-empirical concept of knowledge. This, according to Dewey, is unsatisfactory for we can only appreciate the value of knowledge when it is viewed as part of the larger context of experience. The value of concepts and theories cannot be assessed on the basis of abstract epistemological principles but in terms of their ability to respond to and solve particular practical problems. Knowledge and experience cannot be separated in a dichotomous fashion for knowledge is part of experience and contributes to the enhancement of that experience while reflection is necessary to comprehend and manage experience successfully. It is this dialectics between knowledge and experience that makes Dewey’s work highly relevant to the endeavour of reconceptualising what goes on in management research and treating ambiguity as a resource and management practice that needs immediate exploration.

Another Form of Fallibilism: Law (Like Science) as Social Inquiry
Frederic R. Kellogg (The George Washington University & Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil) 

Fallibilism, as an aspect of pragmatist epistemology, can be illuminated by a study of law. Before he became a judge, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., along with his friends William James and Charles Sanders Peirce, associated as members of the Metaphysical Club of Cambridge in the 1870s, recalled as the birthplace of pragmatism. In early essays, Holmes advanced a concept of legal fallibilism as incremental social inquiry. Holmes treats common law cases more like scientific experiments than as deductive applications of already clear rules. Common law rules may be seen as a product of 1) the conflicts that occur in society, 2) the channeling of conflicts into legal disputes and decisions, 3) the gradual classification of judicial decisions into groups, and 4) the development of consensual understanding, expressed in rules and principles, as to how future cases should be classified and decided.

Beyond Practical and Empirical Interest: Inquiry as an Epistemic Concept in Pragmatism
Erkki Kilpinen (University of Helsinki) 

Where other philosophies have the theory of knowledge, pragmatism has the theory of inquiry. It is no coincidence that the founding words of pragmatism were said by C. S. Peirce in concomitance with the introduction of his doubt/belief theory of inquiry. It is no more coincidental that the classic period of pragmatism gets its culmination in John Dewey’s “Logic: The Theory of Inquiry” (1938). Pragmatism maintains that in order to know anything we first have to obtain putative knowledge – only after this comes the question whether our beliefs amount to genuine knowledge. The reason to follow is order consistently is the insight that ‘there is a link between the idea of knowledge and human action,’ as has been added later, toward the end of the twentieth century, this time from analytic philosophy. Consequently, we are all inquirers, though only a minority of us are intellectual or scientific inquirers.

On Everyday, Scientific, and Ontological Inquiry
Heikki J. Koskinen (University of Tampere) 

In this paper, I will consider the relationship between everyday commonplace inquiry and more sophisticated scientific investigation through the central idea that what simultaneously unites and transcends these two enterprises is the level of ontology which deals with the most general categories of being. My reflections are based on W. V. Quine’s characterizations of the everyday, scientific and ontological levels together with his explicit views on the methodology of dealing with ontological inquiry. I will use the widely influential Quinean approach as a starting point, present an argued criticism of it, and suggest that we need a richer conceptual apparatus more pragmatically tuned for engaging in serious ontological inquiry. Such inquiry can in itself be seen as a form of intellectual practice which is institutionally supported and maintained by society. As e.g. the development of computer technology and applications in structuring medical data bases effectively show, ontological inquiry can also have unforeseeable practical consequences for our everyday life. A plausible way of construing the task of ontology is to look upon it as the search for the categorial foundation of knowledge. As such, it goes beyond the distinction between everyday and scientific inquiry while also helping to see what unites them, thus revealing something essential about their relationship.

Peirce’s Scientific Method of Inquiry and the Christian Ethics of Anti-Egotism
Heikki A. Kovalainen (University of Tampere) 

When investigating the respective notions of inquiry in the work of the three classical American pragmatists, one often gains the sense that Peirce’s pragmaticistic method of inquiry was somehow more scientific and thus further removed from such everyday pragmatic uses of inquiry as emphasized by James and Dewey. While it is true that Peirce often emphatically stressed the remove between science and everyday practical knowledge, it would not be correct, however, to argue that his scientific method of inquiry did not have important practical dimensions.

One important way in which Peirce sees the practical and the scientific method of inquiry as intertwined is in his understanding of the Christian ethics of charity, and the implications such an anti-egoist attitude may have for science. As prominent commentators such as T. L. Short have argued, indeed, it is the spirit of self-sacrifice attributed by Peirce to Christianity that also goes to the heart of how he understands scientific inquiry.

An interpretation of the second book of the volume of Scientific Metaphysics provides evidence for this claim, since in that book Peirce more than once underscores how a religious attitude is not only something supportive of scientific inquiry, but ultimately something like its precondition. According to Peirce’s characterization, religion is “an idea having a growth from generation to generation and claiming a supremacy in the determination of all conduct, private and public.” It is to explicating such claims, and how they relate to Peirce’s pragmatist notion of scientific inquiry that my paper will be devoted.

On the Concept of “Inquiry” in Philosophy: Convergences and Divergences between Rorty and Vattimo, Pragmatism and Hermeneutics.
Jean-Claude Lévêque (CSIC-CCHS-Madrid) 

This paper examines the consequences of pragmatist concept of inquiry for the philosphical research andtries to show that there is a possible convergence between the concept of the philosophy of Rorty and Vattimo in the sense of a departure from the Metaphisics and a revaluation of practical knowledge beyond the traditional division between analytic and continental philosophy. For Rorty, from the concept of inquiry is possible a revision of the philosophy that goes into building a sense of shared social knowledge.

The anti-representationalist position of Rorty pursues a critique of western Metaphysics: Rorty argues that we can give no useful content to the notion that the world, by its very nature, rationally constrains choices of vocabulary with which to cope with it.

In the last work of Vattimo, A Farewell to Truth, the goal seems to be the same, the attempt to say goodbye to a truth which is denied. The same consistency ,and metaphysics as such, therefore, was not at all, or at least, there was not “more”. “Today” – Vattimo observes – “much more clearly than in the past, the question of truth is recognized as a matter of interpretation, implementation of paradigms that, in turn, are not” targets “[…], but are a matter of social sharing “(p. 15). Or maybe it is, more fundamentally, a paradox not only formal but constitutive, and therefore intrinsic to the same situation, theoretical and factual: a some provocative rethinking of the conditions under which it is possible, in the postmodern reconfiguration of the horizon traditionally delivered, a theoretical and practical idea of truth.

From this point of view is possible, at the same time, to establish a dialogue between neopragmatism and hermeneutics-beyond some divergences- and to precise the sense of the concept of Inquiry for contemporary Philosophy.

Scientific Inquiry as an Ethical Enterprise – A Pragmatic Understanding of Social Sciences
Frank Martela (Aalto University) 

How should we understand the nature of social sciences if we take pragmatism as our starting point? In pragmatism all our beliefs are in the final analysis future-oriented “rules for action” and science is no exception. As Dewey argues, the subject matter and procedures of science “grow out of the direct problems and methods of common sense, of practical uses and enjoyments.” Thus science, as a human enterprise, is bound by the same fallibilism as other forms of human inquiry. Accordingly, – despite the rigid standards and assessment procedures of the scientific community – even scientific theories can ultimately be judged on nothing else than with their bearing on the pragmatic challenges of our everyday life. The goal of scientific inquiry must be seen as the generation of shareable forms of understanding that are fallible but nevertheless able to paint for us a picture of the experienced reality that is adequately reliable and useful in bringing forth the kinds of experiences we are aiming at.

But acknowledging this, we must see that the production of scientific knowledge is always an ethical activity. Because usefulness is always usefulness for someone, we need to ask whose purposes and what perspectives the produced knowledge is going to advance. This puts an end to the illusion of sciences as value-free; through their research scientists are always advancing certain forms of understanding in the society. Especially in social sciences, these forms of understanding have practical consequences for people’s self-understanding, behavior and the organization of society. Thus different forms of understanding benefit different groups. Thus I claim that scientists need to claim responsibility for the knowledge they produce and be as reflective and as explicit as possible about the values and aims that inescapably underlie their research.

Inquiry as Critique
Torjus Midtgarden (University of Bergen) 

Contemporary representatives of Critical Theory have appreciated various aspects of Dewey’s philosophy: while James Bohman uses Dewey’s notion of inquiry to develop an epistemological conception of critical and democratically organised social inquiry, Axel Honneth’s interpretation emphasises that participation in democratic inquiry presupposes consciousness of social cooperation anchored in the pre-political sphere. However, Bohman ignores the conceptual link between democracy and freedom in Dewey’s social philosophy and thus underestimates how the latter may be relevant for grappling with an overarching concern in Critical Theory: domination and emancipation. While Honneth focuses on the link between democracy and freedom he fails to explore how Dewey’s social philosophy seeks to establish immanent standards for critique on a historical, sociological and cultural basis. Responsive to prospects and shortcomings of both readings this paper considers the relevance of Dewey’s social philosophy as presented in some largely neglected textual sources between his Democracy and Education (1916) and his The Public and Its Problems (1927).

Free Inquiry and Free Speech
Jón Ólafsson (Bifröst University) 

It is sometimes taken as given that free inquiry is dependent on a pre-existing freedom of speech. Yet experience shows that dictatorial, even totalitarian, societies can also be in the forefront of scientific innovation and progress. In the paper I explore the connection between free inquiry and free speech. While I reject the naïve view that scientific innovation is unthinkable in the absence of a more general right to free speech, I argue that in a different and a more pragmatic sense free inquiry is dependent on not only a more general freedom of speech, but on a democratically motivated need for free thought and expression. I also maintain that it is partly the responsibility of the academic community to stimulate and cultivate such need.

Deweyan Abduction?
Sami Paavola (University of Helsinki) 

It seems that Dewey never explicitly commented Peirce’s abduction, nor used that term in his writings. This is somewhat surprising even when clear differences in Peirce’s and Dewey’s logic and inquiry would be recognized. There are interesting affinities on how Peirce treated the first phase of inquiry with abduction, and on Dewey’s aspects of reflective thinking. In the commenting literature, differences between Peirce’s and Dewey’s conceptions are often emphasized (e.g. Sleeper 1986; Koschmann 2003), or, alternatively, merged together (Prawat 2001), or general similarities and continuities emphasized (as with the doubt-belief theory) (see e.g. Burke 1994; Colapietro 2002).

In my paper, I delineate basic differences and similarities on Peirce’s and Dewey’s treatment of logic and inquiry, and how they have been interpreted by Peirce and Dewey themselves and by others in relation to abduction. Peirce emphasized (formal) logic, scientific hypotheses, and semiotic processes, whereas Dewey emphasized practical problem solving, instruments, concrete activities and interactions with the physical and social environment. There are, however, clear overlaps on their interests and interpretations, especially when it comes to the area of abduction, that is, issues concerning processes of discovery.

The interest is not just historical. The comparison of abduction to Dewey’s approach is especially interesting if new forms of abduction are taken into account. Abduction is seen in relation to practical syllogism (e.g. Hilpinen), and distributed cognition (e.g. Magnani). I will analyze Dewey’s concrete descriptions on phases of reflective thinking and inquiry (see Dewey MW 1:151-174(1900); MW 9:146-158(1916); LW 8:196-209(1933); LW 12:105-122(1938)), in relation to different interpretations of abduction (see e.g. Paavola 2006). I maintain that abduction seen through Deweyan lenses (and vice versa) gives new means for understanding inquiry as “a method to think and act in a creative and insightful manner” (cf. Elkjaer & Simpson 2006, 4).

Artistic Inquiry and Its Relation to Scientific Inquiry: A Double-hemispheric Approach
Arild Pedersen (University of Oslo) 

As illustrated by the invitation to the conference, inquiry is normally understood among philosophers, and no less by pragmatists, within a context of science and philosophy of science, and pragmatists then focus on questions of continuity between ordinary problem solving, instrumentalism and biology. That is the hard, or left hemispheric side of pragmatism, which makes pragmatists respected by analytic peers. But there is also a soft, right hemispheric side: Dewey found continuity between science and art. Thus in Art as Experience he says: “The odd notion that an artist does not think and a scientific inquirer does nothing else is the result of converting a difference of tempo and emphasis into a difference of kind. The thinker has his esthetic moment when his ideas cease to be mere ideas and become the corporate meanings of objects. The artist has his problems and thinks as he works.” I shall look into the similarities between these two kinds of inquiry, but also into how their differences, as communicated through their communality, or through the bridges between the two hemispheres, can be mutually enhancing.

Inquiry and the Fourth Grade of Clearness
David Pfeifer (Institute for American Thought, Indiana University) 

From the 1868 Journal of Speculative Philosophy essays until his death in 1914, Peirce continually reworked the issues inherent in his philosophic positions. One steadily developed theme is inquiry. This paper presents the thesis that Peirce decided that inquiry can only be fully understood and productive when subordinate to a fourth grade of clearness.

The paper has three parts. The first part, a brief historical summary, outlines the revision of Peirce’s thinking in the time period 1900-1902. In the April 1900 reviews of (1) Josiah Royce’s The World and the Individual: First Series and (2) Clark University, 1889-1899: Decennial Celebration, we see the influence of Royce’s thought in Peirce’s rethinking his concept of inquiry. The Clark University review has Peirce using the term ‘Pragmatism’ in print for the first time, and, without the phrase being used, presents the fourth grade of clearness. In 1902 in James Baldwin’s Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, Peirce defined Pragmatism and stated explicitly the fourth grade of clearness and its role in inquiry. This brief summary provides a context for the second and main part of the paper, namely, a discussion of inquiry and the fourth grade of clearness. This second part develops Peirce’s recognition that inquiry requires a purpose or goal and that inquiry cannot move forward without a goal. The ultimate goal that Peirce identifies is the growth of reasonableness. The presentation will describe how the growth of reasonableness is (a) a necessary constituent of inquiry and (b) the goal of inquiry. The third part sketches Peirce’s reasons for claiming the importance of the fourth grade of clearness within inquiry.

Holistic Pragmatism and Interdisciplinary Inquiry
Sami Pihlström (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki) 

In this paper, I will suggest that Morton White’s somewhat neglected philosophical work is still highly important, perhaps increasingly important, today. There are both philosophical reasons for this, especially the need to develop a coherent version of holistic pragmatism, and what may be called academic-“political” reasons, such as the need to defend the humanities – in the crisis situation that humanistic disciplines are sometimes claimed to be in today – as well as interdisciplinary scholarship (something that is supported in “institute for advanced study” type of academic environments). The nature of interdisciplinarity needs to be pursued both within philosophy and in inquiry generally, and holistic pragmatism may offer philosophical resources for explicating this concept.

Expressing Subjectivity: Some Constraints on a Pragmatist View of the Explanatory Relations between Language and the Mental
Bjørn Ramberg (University of Oslo) 

Davidson, Rorty, Dennett, Brandom, and Price are linguistic pragmatists, in so far as they take it that “concept use is not intelligible in a context that does not include language use.” (Brandom 2000, 6) Yet they are not straightforwardly explaining mind in terms of language, in so far as the “are not insisting that linguistic practices can be made sense of without appeal at the same time to intentional states such as belief.” (ibid). This leaves it open that there may be other, substantial things to say about what intentional states are. However, interpretationism about content is often invoked precisely to support the claim that there is nothing more to belief and related mental notions than their methodological roles in an interpretive theory assigning contents and attitudes to agents who speak. Pragmatic naturalists (most explicitly Rorty and Dennett, but following Davidson) typically deploy this strategy to defuse metaphysical naturalism and its attendant doctrines, such as physicalistic reductionism or eliminativism about the mental. While this aim is noble, pragmatic naturalists nevertheless have, I suggest, good reason to seek a less intellectualist view of the mind. I argue that a multi-dimensional notion of mind, which acknowledges a range of mental capacities that do not presuppose language, will better serve the naturalistic and ethical aspirations of pragmatism today.

Truth and the Norms of Inquiry: Pragmatism as a Mediating Approach to Truth
Henrik Rydenfelt (University of Helsinki) 

According to one popular approach to truth in contemporary philosophy, the concept of truth has definitional content: it is correspondence with an independent reality. As such conceptual elucidation has little to offer to any discussion about the proper aim of inquiry, these views are sometimes supplemented by further arguments to the effect that we should care about. Another approach – popular also among some contemporary pragmatists – has been deflationism or minimalism in its various stripes. Deflationism holds that there are no interesting (conceptual) truths about truth: at its bare minimum, it maintains that to assert “p” is true is simply to assert p. From this perspective, questions about the aim of inquiry are at best misleading.

Neither of these contemporary approaches was advanced by the classical pragmatists. In their differing ways, Peirce, James and Dewey took (normative) questions about belief and inquiry as primary. To these thinkers, the interesting question about truth was always the question about what sort of beliefs we should have; indeed, in James’s words, truth just is the “good by way of belief”.

Parallel to the two contemporary and the pragmatist approaches to truth distinguished above, I will argue that there are three distinct notions of truth that should be clearly distinguished and kept apart. The first are the deflationary platitudes about the concept of truth. The second is a minimally normative approach which maintains that truth is whatever it is that we think that our beliefs should be like. Finally, the third is a particular normative conception of truth as a particular type of aim of inquiry – among others the correspondence with an independent reality.

Distinguishing these different notions of truth has two important consequences. Firstly, I will argue that a deflationary approach to truth does not exclude more robust, normatively laden accounts of truth. Moving on from the deflationary platitudes about truth we enter another plane of (arguably more interesting) issues about what sort of beliefs we should have. Deflationism and correspondence views are thus mutually compatible when viewed through the mediating lens of the classical pragmatists’ normative approach. Secondly, some have maintained that a conceptual analysis of truth – or indeed the deflationary approach itself – results in conceptual platitudes about what sort beliefs we should have. I will argue that any such view involves a confusion between the three different approaches to truth just distinguished, and that the normative questions about the proper aim of inquiry cannot be solved by conceptual means alone.

Dewey, Naturalism and Moral Inquiry
Robert Sinclair (Brooklyn College, CUNY) 

Philosophical naturalists who stress that moral issues be addressed through the use of empirical methods have faced a seemingly insurmountable problem. While science may provide the explanatory means to address certain problems, it fails to be of use with the selection of those ends worth pursuing. Put succinctly, scientific methods can describe what is the case but remain incapable of informing what we ought to do. Here, two types of questions are viewed as logically distinct. First, explanatory questions concerning why something happened or why someone acted in a certain way and second, normative questions concerning what ought to be done or believed. The methods used to answer the first question cannot be used to address the second since they only offer descriptions rather than prescriptions. Moreover, normative questions are irreducibly first person, where one must provide reasons for the decision to act in a specific way. No scientific explanation about what is the case can, by itself, stand as a reason for why someone should decide on a course of action. My paper will discuss Dewey’s response to this type of challenge with his conception of moral deliberation as continuous with scientific inquiry. At bottom, this requires clarifying the way all forms of inquiry are value-laden. To do so, I will focus on Dewey’s 1915 attempt to isolate the nature of what he calls ‘practical judgments’ explaining how he views them as basic elements of inquiry. This will show that Dewey accepts that normative questions cannot be replaced in favor of scientific descriptions. But it also suggests that we should question the logical distinctness of these two sorts of questions. Understanding how experimental forms of reasoning can be extended to the moral case will then require a proper appreciation of the place of practical judgment within inquiry more generally.

Three Elements of Inquiry; a Deweyan Approach to Scientific Instrumentalism, Educational Research and Educator’s Thinking
Ari Sutinen (University of Oulu) 

The purpose of my presentation (article) is to analyze John Dewey’s theoretical thinking of inquiry applied to scientific research, educational research or inquiry and to the question of how an educator uses the theory of inquiry in her or his educational practice. The presentation is divided into three chapters. In the first chapter I discuss Dewey’s concept of how a human being thinks and how she or he solves problems in scientific research. On the other hand, as we will see in the second chapter, Dewey emphasizes that education is a special area where the researcher, through her or his scientific thinking, tries to solve problems in educational situations in different kinds of educational institutions. And finally, every educator, if she or he wants to educate, needs to solve practical problems in educational situations. In conclusion I discuss the three elements or practical ways to do things in Dewey’s concept of inquiry.

Struggles for Recognition as Collective Inquiries: Social Conflict, Moral Progress and Genealogical Justification of Democracy in John Dewey’s Lectures in China
Arvi-Antti Särkelä (J.W. Goethe University of Frankfurt / University of Helsinki) 

According to John Dewey’s Lectures in China 1919-1920, social theories are to be falsified or verified by the results of their application in unresolved social situations. As Dewey states, the purpose of his social philosophy is to contribute to the solving of social conflicts. At the heart of Dewey’s social philosophy thus lies a robust, albeit sketchy, theory of social conflicts.

From the viewpoint presented in Lectures in China, social conflicts are comprehended as consequences of the lack of mutual public recognition between social groups. For Dewey, all social conflicts are reconstructable as struggles for public recognition. Such struggles follow a “general pattern,” which resembles Dewey’s famous concept of a “general pattern of inquiry” in his Logic. In fact, Dewey seems to argue that struggles for public recognition are best understood as historically embedded collective inquiries.

In this vein, just like his logic conceives of itself as an “inquiry into inquiry,” Dewey’s social philosophy sees itself as an inquiry into collective inquiries embedded in human forms of life. This conception of struggles for recognition enables Dewey, on the one hand, to formulate immanent criteria for moral progress. On the other hand, this conception forms the ontological foundation of a genealogical justification of democracy.

In my paper I attempt, firstly, to offer an outline of Dewey’s ontology of social conflicts in Lectures in China. Secondly, I present his conception of immanent criteria for moral progress in that same work. Finally, I will point out how these two strands converge in a genealogical justification of democracy.

Social Inquiry and the Challenges of Democracy: Why Pragmatists Must be Rawlsians
Robert B. Talisse (Vanderbilt University) 

Pragmatists are fallibilists, experimentalists, and pluralists about inquiry. Fallibilism entails that even impeccably-conducted inquiry into the simplest problem can bear flawed results. Experimentalism entails that the results of even impeccably-conducted inquiry must be regarded as hypotheses to be tested in subsequent experience and, if necessary, revised or even abandoned. Pluralism entails that even impeccably-conducted inquiry can produce results that underdetermine the proper response to the problem at hand; that is, proper inquiry can yield several mutually incompatible responses to a given problem. In politics, pragmatists are epistemological democrats. With the exception of some neopragmatists like Rorty and Posner, pragmatists tend to follow Dewey in holding that democracy is a kind of collective inquiry, an ongoing communal moral experiment in which communities of individuals apply processes of experimental intelligence to shared problems. Though pragmatists are holists and so are wary of dualism, they must recognize a distinction between the policies experimentally enacted as responses to shared political problems within a democratic society and what might be called the basic structure of a democratic society. The difference is one of degree, to be sure; but pragmatists must acknowledge the distinction between the measures taken by a democratic community in response to a shared problem and the norms and principles that constitute a democratic community. In this paper, I appeal to several recognizably pragmatist considerations in making a case for Rawlsian justice. More specifically, I argue that in light of the nature of inquiry and the risks and challenges inherent in self-government, pragmatists ought to embrace Rawls’s two principles of justice, and, indeed, the kind of argument that Rawls proposes in their support. Proper pragmatists must be Rawlsians.

In What Sense Might the Pragmatist Inquiry Be Critical? A Parallel between the Sociology of Engagements and Dewey’s Pragmatism
Laurent Thévenot (École des hautes études en sciences sociales) 

Social theorists have a hand in criticism by playing different roles: (1) taking part directly in public criticism like other citizens, but with the supplementary power endowed by scientific authority or by the worth of fame; (2) analysing everyday critical activities in a way that displays their requirements and promotes their fulfillment; and (3) unveiling hidden structural constraints or mechanisms that put a brake on such activities. Dewey is well known for his insistence on a logic of inquiry and debate which would foster the crystallisation and resolution of public problems (2). This papers parallels some contributions that Dewey and the sociology of engagements make to critique and critical theory. It also considers a domain where both approaches have been used: welfare and educational policies. New regulations of this domain suggest changes in modes of governance which have consequences for loci of power and oppression.

The so-called French “pragmatist turn” in sociology was launched by On Justification (Boltanski & Thévenot 2006, 1991, 1987) analysis of the matrix of crossed critical denunciations which result from the clash between different forms of public worth. The sociology of engagements includes this research with a former step on “investments in forms” (Thévenot 1984) and a further extension of the analytical framework which is based on the notion of “regime of engagement” (Thévenot 2006, 1990). It offers a broader contribution to critique through: enlarging the sociological investigation to enquiries on the pressures or tyranny exercised by one regime upon another (2); continuing the endeavour of critical theory to unveil reification, objectification and alienation, by providing new insight into the relation between human lives and forms which critical theory exposes as factitious or even fetishised constraints, holding them responsible for the deformation of human existence (3).

Pragmaticism and the Logic of Inquiry
Tommi Vehkavaara (University of Tampere) 

Inquiry has a central place in Charles Peirce’s pragmaticism, his philosophy in general, and his whole concept of science. For Peirce, philosophy is a special branch of theoretical science, and science in general ¬ its scientificity – is identified in its actions of inquiry, not in its results. Peirce’s whole semeiotic and his concept of sign was developed as a logic of scientific inquiry (independently on what other applications and purposes it may have). Pragmati(ci)sm was defined as a doctrine of this logic/semeiotic – Peirce’s maxim of pragmatism explicates a concept of meaning for ‘intellectual concepts’ that are the kind of signs in terms of which the hypotheses of scientific inquiries are formulated.

Sciences that Peirce called theoretical have truth as their ultimate purpose of inquiry, as their ultimate criterion of success. Truth alone is nevertheless not enough, but truths sought should also increase our knowledge. During the course of inquiry, inquirer’s understanding about the phenomenon should grow, resulting eventually in a maximally informative conception, the full meaning of which would be clear. This is the motivation for the pragmatist concept of meaning, to make our ideas clear.

In the maxim of pragmatism, the meaning of a conception is quite famously defined in terms of possible future events. From such a definition, it results that the origin of a conception has no relevance to its meaning and gives no guarantee for its applicability. The ‘foundation’ of a conception cannot justify it. In the light of this enlightenment, the full blown pragmatist may neglect the fact that the knowing the origin of the concepts is far from useless. The essential part of Peirce’s logic is the doctrine that we adopt cognitively all our concepts through perception. Without the awareness about the perceptual origin of the defined concept and the derivation of it from this origin, some hidden elements may become unconsciously smuggled in the structure of the concept. Without the proper exposition of the perceptual rootedness of our scientific ideas, they cannot become really clear to us.

The Galileo/Bellarmine-Controversy: Rorty between Kuhn and Davidson
Timo Vuorio (University of Tampere) 

The famous controversy between Galileo and Bishop Bellarmine, including the issue of the reliable source of evidence in astronomy (i.e. telescope or Bible), offers an interesting and a concrete case for philosophers to reflect upon the rational nature of inquiry. Richard Rorty has argued – against our realist intuitions – that there is no criteria according to which we can say at the time Galileo was ‘scientific’ or ‘rational’ while Bellarmine was not, because justification is “relative to audience”, and what would, for example, count as an appropriate evidence is determined by a given community. Galileo and Bellarmine have their own ‘epistemic systems’ or, as Kuhn would say, ‘paradigms’.

Paul Boghossian, by bringing realist intuitions to the picture, has argued that despite Rorty’s pragmatist notion of justification (that leads to ill-fated relativism), there is a point of view according to which it is appropriate to say that Galileo got right what Bellarmine did not. There is ‘absolute’ notion of justification in addiction to the ‘relative’ one Rorty uses. One of Boghossian’s arguments enjoys special importance since it reveals an inconsistency in the very heart of Rorty’s ‘Kuhnian’ program. It says that both Galileo and Bellarmine actually are sharing the same ‘epistemic system’ – such as the use of observation, induction and deduction – which allows us to compare their views, and thereby judge the incorrectness of Bellarmine’s stance. The tone of the argument is ‘Davidsonian’, and knowing Rorty’s reliance on Davidson, this forms a sort of dilemma. It reflects the more general tension between Rorty’s use of Kuhn on one hand and use of Davidson on the other. What I do in my paper is to show the way out of the ‘dilemma’.

Inquiry without Fallibilism? Pragmatism and Commitments Immune to Revision
Ulf Zackariasson (Uppsala University) 

Fallibilism is, according to pragmatists, a central virtue of inquiry and inquirers. But what, then, of contexts where some or all “inquirers” refuse to be fallibilists, for instance, in discussions concerning morality (“some foundations must never be questioned”) and/or religion (“it would be a religious shortcoming to be prepared, even in principle, to question the authority of God”)?

In this paper, I look at some possible ways to understand and respond to this question in relation to religious commitments/belief, and I develop a position with the help of some themes in James’ and Rorty’s thought. My suggestion will be that rejections of fallibilism serve different purposes in different contexts, and at least some of those purposes are actually congenial to a rather substantial form of fallibilism at the concrete levels where inquiries (as a rule) take place. Accordingly, whether rejections of fallibilism pose a problem at the concrete level of inquiry or not has to be determined on a case to case basis.

The Problem of Humanistic Inquiry in the Light of Pragmatism and Its Methodology
Waldemar Zareba (The Catholic University of Lublin & Norwegian University of Science and Technology) 

In my presentation I will focus on some central concepts of methodological pragmatism such as the concept of inquiry, the concept of a community of inquirers and naturalism with relation to humanities. It seems to me that the concept of inquiry is more appropriate than the classical concept of scientific method, especially in relation to the human sciences, for a number of reasons: (1) it is not restrictive, like the later; (2) it includes the inquirer as a part of scientific research; (3) the notion of inquiry encompasses both context of discovery, and context of justification while, e.g., Popper and Reichenbach threw the context of discovery out from methodological analyses because as they claimed it is not rational with respect to their notion of scientific method; but there is in fact no sharp distinction between the two contexts and the exclusion of context of discovery from methodological analyses can disturb the picture of science and understanding of scientific inquiry; (4) pragmatism and its methodology, in a different way from, e.g., positivism, relates scientific knowledge to the community of inquirers thanks to which pragmatism avoids the problem of methodological solipsism, as in Cartesian tradition. The next important thing which is inseparably connected with the pragmatist concept of inquiry is the concept of methodological naturalism. Ronald Giere (in connection with Dewey’s and Peirce’s understanding of naturalism) shows that the kind of naturalism is opposed to an aprioristic kind of scientific research, which is e.g. very common to humanistic kind of research. I will show that all these conditions allow one to elaborate the naturalistic research attitude which can be applied to the human sciences kind of inquiry.