Phenomenology and Pragmatism: From the End to the Beginning

Publication Name

European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy


I trace back the relation between phenomenology and pragmatism from contemporary discussions about a pragmatic turn in embodied-enactive cognitive science to the earliest associations between the phenomenologies of Husserl and Peirce. I argue against the claim that there has been a pragmatic turn per se in either phenomenology or cognitive science. Pragmatism, and a form of phenomenological pragmatism had already been informing debates in cognitive science from the very beginning. On the one hand, the recent phenomenological and pragmatic emphases in embodied-enactive cognitive science represent more of a phenomenological turn in cognitive science than a pragmatic turn. On the other hand, since various versions of phenomenology were already operating in cognitive science, even if they were operating in opposition to the establishment view, embodied-enactive views do not involve a phenomenological turn. It may be better to say that such views continue and build upon the phenomenology and pragmatism that had been informing ongoing debates in the study of the mind. Not only can we trace a close connection between phenomenology and pragmatism all the way back to the beginnings of these philosophical approaches, they continue to operate in a dialectical fashion throughout their history.

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