Recovering Pragmatism's Voice

The Classical Tradition, Rorty, and the Philosophy of Communication

Edited by Lenore Langsdorf & Andrew R. Smith

Subjects: Communication
Series: SUNY series in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Paperback : 9780791422144, 344 pages, December 1994
Hardcover : 9780791422137, 344 pages, December 1994

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Table of contents

I. Introduction

1. The Voice of Pragmatism in Contemporary Philosophy of Communication
Lenore Langsdorf and Andrew R. Smith

II. The Logic of Communication

2. Immediacy, Opposition, and Mediation: Peirce on Irreducible Aspects of the Communicative Process
Vincent M. Colapietro

3. From Enthymeme to Abduction: The Classical Law of Logic and the Postmodern Rule of Rhetoric
Richard L. Lanigan

4. On Ethnocentric Truth and Pragmatic Justice
Andrew R. Smith and Leonard Shyles

III. The Ends of Communication

5. The "Cash-Value" of Communication: An Interpretation of William James
Isaac E. Catt

6. Devising Ends Worth Striving For: William James and the Reconstruction of Philosophy
Charlene Haddock Seigfried

IV. The Process of Communication

7. John Dewey and the Roots of Democratic Imagination
Thomas M. Alexander

8. Pragmatism Reconsidered: John Dewey and Michel Foucault on the Consequences of Inquiry
Frank J. Macke

V. The Effects of Communication

9. George Herbert Mead and the Many Voices of Universality
Mitchell Aboulafia

10. Philosophy of Language and Philosophy of Communication: Poiesis and Praxis in Classical Pragmatism
Lenore Langsdorf

VI. Neopragmatism and Communication

11. Talking-With as a Model for Writing-About: Implications of Rortyean Pragmatism
Arthur P. Bochner and Joanne B. Waugh

12. Changing the Subject: Rorty and Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
Janet S. Horne

13. Icons, Fragments, and Ironists: Richard Rorty and Contemporary Rhetorical Criticism
Mick Presnell



Name Index

Subject Index


This book focuses on what pragmatism tells us about the nature and function of communication. Its goals are to recover a singular voice of pragmatism, and to identify and develop alternative methods and aims for the philosophy of communication. It shows how pragmatism assumes and proposes a philosophy of communication that can lead to a reconceptualization of contemporary communication studies.

The authors explore recurrent themes in the tradition's various classical extensions that commend pragmatism as a methodology for social change and human development. They show that pragmatism fosters inquiry and pluralism by rejecting strategies for closure, questioning prevailing metanarratives, and encouraging the development of new habits of conduct through a critical practice that is fundamentally self-reflective.

Contributors to this volume include Mitchell Aboulafia, Thomas Alexander, Arthur Bochner and Joanne Waugh, Isaac Catt, Vincent Colapietro, Janet Horne, Richard Lanigan, Frank Macke, Mick Presnell, Charlene Haddock Seigfried, and Leonard Shyles.

Lenore Langsdorf is Professor of the Philosophy of Communication in the Speech Communication Department of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Andrew R. Smith is Assistant Professor in the Speech and Communication Studies Department at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.


"This collection supplies us with a nicely balanced set of perspectives—neither dismissive nor adulatory. In the crush of contemporaneity, it's good to have the historical framework reconstructed. And the emphasis on communication creates valuable insight." — Bruce Wilshire, Rutgers University