David L. Hildebrand, Ph.D., Philosophy

Article Pragmatism Neopragmatism, and Public Administration

"Pragmatism, Neopragmatism, and Public Administration" (Administration & Society, 2005) The project of harmonizing ideals and practical realities often falls to the organs of public administration. Because this task involves the application of general and fixed concepts (policies, laws, standards) to particular and fluid practicalities (situations, circumstances, persons), those in public administration need strategies to deal with unusual or problematic cases. Pragmatism seems to offer such a strategy. But which pragmatism should be used? This article is a philosophical response to two disputes. What distinguishes classical pragmatism and neopragmatism? And which pragmatism holds greater promise for public administration agencies and why? The author discusses how public administration agents might find themselves obligated to philosophize about their agency?s fundamental mission and how the resources of pragmatism might serve that (largest scale) problematic situation. Finally, the author considers two obstacles likely to be encountered by those who employ a pragmatist approach. The article may be found online at SAGE Publications.


Last updated Dec 26, 2010 06:44:PM