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Philosophical Heuristics

Translated by Ben Koschalka


Jan Hartman

«Philosophical Heuristics» aims to translate philosophical issues into meta-philosophical issues examined from a unique perspective. The analytical and interpretive practice of heuristics seeks to grasp synchronously all the processes leading to the formation of philosophical discourse, its language, form and content. The book takes hermeneutics and pragmatism as a starting point for a multifaceted and systematic examination of philosophical heuresis and promotes a style of philosophising «in the suspense of heuristic reflection», something more than ordinary theoretical self-awareness.
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3. Pragmatic Thinking


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3.  Pragmatic Thinking

The concept of pragmatism appeared as the result of a concrete, individual philosophical programme (and thus as another definition of a new, and finally true philosophy), therefore demonstrating characteristic ambiguity. On the one hand it means something concrete, as it refers to several authors whose works are now classics of philosophy. On the other, though, its claims and the hopes of its first users refers to a general type of philosophical thinking. This type of thinking cannot be the sole property of a few people or even one single era, as it is defined by general heuristic ideas on how philosophy should be done and what directives adhered to. The result is a characteristic rhetorical phenomenon that is hard to control and which requires a certain heuristic criticism. Amid all the numerous notions, ideas, discourse tracks and concepts we chart all kinds of lines and chains of associations, in each case having good reasons for doing so36 (the general idea and name that we want to give to this historical-philosophical narrative, e.g. “pragmatism”, may then happen to be the same as one used by somebody else in a different narrative). Yet the concept intended as the general idea of the universal philosophical project (e.g. “pragmatism”) can then easily lose its specific meaning, and thus its usefulness as well. This unfavourable co-occurrence of a meaning that is too vague and one that is too technical applies to both the concept of pragmatism...

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