Native Pragmatism

Native Pragmatism

Rethinking the Roots of American Philosophy
Scott L. Pratt
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 04/01/2002
Format: Paperback 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-21519-2
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Pragmatism is America’s most distinctive philosophy. Generally it has been understood as a development of European thought in response to the "American wilderness." A closer examination, however, reveals that the roots and central commitments of pragmatism are indigenous to North America. Native Pragmatism recovers this history and thus provides the means to re-conceive the scope and potential of American philosophy. Pragmatism has been at best only partially understood by those who focus on its European antecedents. This book casts new light on pragmatism’s complex origins and demands a rethinking of African American and feminist thought in the context of the American philosophical tradition. Scott L. Pratt demonstrates that pragmatism and its development involved the work of many thinkers previously overlooked in the history of philosophy.

Author Bio

Scott L. Pratt is Associate Professor of Philosophy and head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Oregon. He received his B. A. in philosophy from Beloit College (Wisconsin) and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He teaches American Philosophy and the history of Modern European Philosophy, and is co-editor of American Philosophies: An Anthology and The Philosophical Writings of Cadwallader Colden.


“Scott L. Pratt challenges the accepted histories of American thought and argues that its most distinctive philosophy, pragmatism, originates in a context framed by the philosophical ideas and attitudes of Native American thought.”

“. . . [T]his is an interesting and insightful study of the origins of American pragmatism. November 2002”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents



1. The Problem of Origins
2. American Pragmatism
3. The Colonial Attitude
4. American Progress
5. The Indigenous Attitude
6. Welcoming the Cannibals
7. The Logic of Place
8. "This Very Ground"
9. Science and Sovereignty
10. The Logic of Home
11. Feminism and Pragmatism

Conclusion: The Legacy of Native American Thought

Works Cited