How To Be A Pragmatist

2016 Barry Taylor and David Lewis Philosophy Lecture: How To Be A Pragmatist with Professor Elizabeth Anderson


Professor Elizabeth Anderson


Pragmatism is often loosely characterized as the view that people should adopt "whatever works." This seems like empty and useless advice, since it omits any substantive criterion of what works.

This lecture will explain what this advice really means, why we ought to follow it, and how we can follow it. The key to pragmatism lies in its method, which deeply integrates moral with empirical inquiry. Pragmatism offers two ways to intelligently update our moral beliefs: bias correction, and experiments in living. Anderson will illustrate how these methods work and why they make sense.