requiem for certainty

Obama: Pragmatism: etc.

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A few items of interest, re: Obama and Pragmatism.

Pragmatist scholar John Capps and a colleague at Rochester Inst of Tchlgy are teaching a course on Obama as Pragmatist this quarter entitled “Reading Obama”.  The course syllabus looks great (not only b/c of what’s on it but also as a model for how to put together a course on pragmatism and some theme or person of contemporary interest).

Another scholar of pragmatism, Michael Eldridge at UNCC, has put together a page that offers a nice selection of resources on Obama and pragmatism.  This is very helpful and should prove even more helpful going forward.

(Btw, if I haven’t posted much lately, here or elsewhere, it’s because I’m in Foucault-land this quarter.  I’m doing  a senior seminar on Foucault at UCSC right now with a bunch of really incredibly talented students.  Whoever doesn’t simply love teaching must have never had an opportunity like this.)


Written by Colin Koopman

April 13, 2009 at 8:00 am

Posted in obama, pragmatism

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  1. Harvard historian James Kloppenberg has a book coming out, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition, in which he attempts to piece together President Obama’s guiding philosophy. His conclusion: pragmatism.

    Mr. Kloppenberg explained that he sees Mr. Obama as a kind of philosopher president, a rare breed that can be found only a handful of times in American history.

    “There’s John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Quincy Adams, then Abraham Lincoln and in the 20th century just Woodrow Wilson” he said.

    To Mr. Kloppenberg the philosophy that has guided President Obama most consistently is pragmatism, a uniquely American system of thought developed at the end of the 19th century by William James, John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce.

    Cohen, Patricia, “In Writings of Obama, a Philosophy Is Unearthed,” The New York Times, 28 October 2010, p. C1

    Donald W. Taylor II

    October 28, 2010 at 7:49 am

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