Beyond Realism and Antirealism: John Dewey and the Neopragmatists (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2003)
My first book, Beyond Realism and Antirealism: John Dewey and the Neopragmatists was published in 2003 by Vanderbilt University Press. It's pretty widely available as far as I can tell, though online is likely the best way to get it: The Tattered Cover (Denver), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Powell's have it.
Here are some kind words about the book:
David Hildebrand's attempt to restate Dewey's central message is intelligent, well-informed and well-argued, as are his polemics against what he takes to be Putnam's and my own misunderstandings of Dewey. --Richard Rorty, Stanford University
Pragmatism was revived‚ in the 1970s and 1980s and was led at once into philosophical dead ends that John Dewey had already skillfully dismantled. Now, David Hildebrand corrects the record; provides an informed, splendidly argued, indispensable part of the recovery of Dewey's analysis of realism still hardly bettered by anyone today. -- Joseph Margolis, Temple University
Beyond Realism and Antirealism packs a double punch. Mobilizing a meticulous study of early twentieth-century classical pragmatism, Hildebrand engages the key neopragmatic positions of Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam. Then, driving his own thesis home, he offers what he terms Dewey's "practical stance" as a corrective to the limitations of the linguistic turn. --Larry Hickman, Director, The Center for Dewey Studies, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
The book seeks to demonstrate the following main points:
* Current debates between realists and antirealists (as well as objectivists and relativists) are significantly similar to early 20th century debates between realists and idealists which Pragmatism addressed extensively.
* Despite their debts to Dewey, neopragmatists such as Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam are reenacting realist and idealist stands in their debate over realism thus giving life to something shown fruitless by earlier Pragmatists.
* What is absent from the Neopragmatist's position is precisely what makes Pragmatism enduring: namely, its metaphysical conception of experience and a practical starting point for philosophical inquiry that such experience dictates.
* Pragmatism cannot take the "linguistic turn" insofar as that turn mandates a theoretical starting point.
* While Pragmatism's view of truth is perspectival, it is nevertheless not liable to relativism.
* Pace Rorty, Pragmatism need not be hostile to metaphysics; indeed, it demonstrates how pragmatic instrumentalism and metaphysics are complementary.
Here is a brief Table of Contents:
Preface Abbreviations ONE: INTRODUCTION I. Realism, Antirealism, and Neopragmatism II. Plan of this Book TWO: DEWEY AND REALISM I. Pragmatism Enters the Fray II. Idealism, New Realism, and Critical Realism III. Is Pragmatism Realistic? IV. Dewey’s Pragmatic Realism V. Conclusion THREE: DEWEY AND IDEALISM I. Is Pragmatism an Idealism? II. Epistemology: Verification, Experience, Inquiry, and Signs III. Implications of Epistemology: The External World and Knowledge of the Past IV. Metaphysics: Antecedent Objects and The Philosophical Fallacy V. Ethical Implications: Future Consequences, Practical Action, and the Threat of Relativism VI. Conclusion FOUR: RORTY, PUTNAM, AND CLASSICAL PRAGMATISM I. The Reintroduction of Pragmatism II. Rorty’s Interpretation of Dewey III. Rorty’s Neopragmatism IV. Putnam’s Interpretation of Dewey V. Putnam’s Neopragmatism VI. Conclusion FIVE: NEOPRAGMATISM’S REALISM-ANTIREALISM DEBATE I. Introduction II. Terminology: "Realism" and its Contraries III. Putnam’s Realism and Rorty’s Antirealism IV. Rorty and Putnam’s Debate V. Conclusion SIX: BEYOND REALISM AND ANTIREALISM I. What "Beyond" Means II. Historical Parallels: Early Realists and Neopragmatists III. The Theoretical Starting Point IV. The Practical Starting Point V. Pragmatism, Neopragmatism, and Philosophy’s Future Notes Bibliography Index