The Critical Margolis

By Joseph Margolis
Edited by Russell Pryba
Preface by Russell Pryba

Subjects: Philosophy, Pragmatism
Series: SUNY series in American Philosophy and Cultural Thought
Hardcover : 9781438483078, 582 pages, June 2021
Paperback : 9781438483085, 582 pages, January 2022

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Table of contents


Editor's Preface to The Critical Margolis
Russell Pryba

Primary Works by Joseph Margolis

Preamble: Pragmatism's Solidarity

Part I

1. Relativism and Cultural Relativity

2. Objectivism and Relativism

3. Science as a Human Undertaking

4. Reclaiming Naturalism

Part II

5. Change and History

6. Mind and Culture

7. Selves and Other Texts

Part III

8. The Definition of the Human

9. What, After All, Is a Work of Art?

10. The Eclipse and Recovery of Analytic Aesthetics

Part IV

11. Life without Principles

12. The Nature of Normativity

13. A Reasonable Morality for Partisans and Ideologues


This critical reader covers Joseph Margolis’s controversial views of mind, truth, science, and reality, along with his revolutionary theories about culture, art, language, personhood, and morality.


Pragmatism's revival since 1980 can be credited to several thinkers, among them the longtime professor of philosophy at Temple University, Joseph Margolis. The Critical Margolis collects within one volume more than a dozen of his essential writings, allowing readers to become familiar with his important contributions to core areas of philosophy, where he has controversially challenged scientistic, analytic, and continental traditions. During a period when sharp divides animate intellectual debates—realism or idealism, matter or mind, causality or freedom, machines or persons, facts or values, cognition or emotion, and the like—Margolis dissolves false dichotomies and reconstructs philosophy itself. Prominent philosophers of the second half of the twentieth century, from Quine, Danto, and Putnam to Derrida, Rorty, and Brandom, along with a host of similarly significant thinkers, are targets of Margolis's critiques.

If there could be a comprehensive volume of pragmatism for today and tomorrow, The Critical Margolis shall serve.

Joseph Margolis is Laura H. Carnell Professor of Philosophy at Temple University. Russell Pryba is Senior Lecturer of Philosophy at Northern Arizona University.