Cover for SLEEPER: The Necessity of Pragmatism: John Dewey's Conception of Philosophy

The Necessity of Pragmatism

John Dewey's Conception of Philosophy

Hailed as "the most important overall reassessment of Dewey in several decades" (Sidney Ratner, Journal of Speculative Philosophy), The Necessity of Pragmatism investigates the most difficult and neglected aspects of Dewey's thought, his metaphysics and logic. R. W. Sleeper argues for a fundamental unity in Dewey's work, a unity that rests on his philosophy of language, and clarifies Dewey's conception of pragmatism as an action-based philosophy with the power to effect social change through criticism and inquiry.

Identifying Dewey's differences with his pragmatist forerunners, Charles Sanders Peirce and William James, Sleeper elucidates Dewey's reshaping of pragmatism and the radical significance of his philosophy of culture. In this first paperback edition, a new introduction by Tom Burke establishes the ongoing importance of Sleeper's analysis of the integrity of Dewey's work and its implications for mathematics, aesthetics, and the cognitive sciences.


"In terms of scholarship, substance, and style, this book is a masterpiece in the original sense of the term. It is indispensable for comprehending Dewey's project in the manner he himself conceived this project."--Vincent Colapietro, newsletter for the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy

"[In] this carefully crafted and elegantly phrased book, Sleeper has given us a profound analysis and an original reassessment and reconstruction of Dewey's conception of philosophy, especially in relation to his logic and metaphysics. Other Dewey scholars may differ in their interpretation of various points, but all are in Sleeper's debt for demonstrating that Dewey's philosophy still stimulates fresh thinking on important issues in theory and practice."--Sidney Ratner, Journal of Speculative Philosophy

"This essay . . . is unquestionably the best book written on Dewey's logic and among the very best studies of his philosophy."--H. S. Thayer, Canadian Philosophical Reviews


R. W. Sleeper was professor of philosophy at Queens College of the City University of New York and the author of numerous essays concerning pragmatic philosophy. Tom Burke is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina and the author of Dewey's New Logic: A Reply to Russell.

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