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"The Non-Anthropological Philosophy of Radical Pragmatism"

Marc Rölli

The fundamental claim I will be making in the following is that anthropology and pragmatism should be strictly opposed to each other as philosophical and systematic schools of thought. This claim should be understood not in a historical, but rather in an ideal-typical or programmatic and conceptual way. I am thus in no way arguing that these two philosophical positions are strictly opposed to each other as historical entities. I do want to claim, however, that there are compelling reasons for articulating an opposition between them. In order to explicate these reasons, we must, however, consider the philosophical history of anthropological and pragmatist approaches to philosophizing. The above assertion, which expresses a fundamental philosophical conviction, thus contains three elements, which will structure my remarks : first, we must be able to identify defining characteristics of the anthropological and pragmatic schools of thought that contradict each other and justify a systematic distinction between the two. Second, it must be convincingly shown from the history of philosophy that these characteristics can be ascribed to the respective school. This means that there must be good reasons for constructing an ideal-type distinction between the substantiated and historically relevant philosophies that call themselves either anthropological or pragmatist—implying that a history of these ways of thinking could be told in light of this construction. Third, this also implies that a connection can be made to contemporary issues that would render transparent the (in itself compelling) motivation of the proposed project, that is, the effectuation of this systematic distinction and its realization in the history of philosophy. 

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