Notes on Pragmatism and Scientific Realism Author(s): Cleo H. Cherryholmes Source: Educational Researcher, Vol. 21, No. 6, (Aug. - Sep., 1992), pp. 13-17 Published by: American Educational Research Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176502 Accessed: 02/05/2008 14:02
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http://www.jstor.org Notes on Pragmatismand Scientific Realism
Ernest R. House's article "Realism in plicit declarationof pragmatism. Here is his 1905 statement ProfessorResearch" (1991) is informative for the overview it of it: of scientificrealism. At the outset House tells provides Theword was inventedto a certainmax- the reader that he will forgo comparisons between scientific pragmatism express im of logic.... The maximis intended to furnisha method realism and and criticaltheory interpretivism, pragmatism, for the analysis of concepts ... The method prescribedin in orderto focus on "its [scientificrealism's] introduction and the maximis to traceout in the the conceivable At the end he the "How imagination explication" (p. 2). poses question: practicalconsequences-that is, the consequencesfor de- does scientificrealism compare with perspectives such as in- liberate,self-controlled conduct-of the affirmationor denial terpretivism,pragmatism, and criticaltheory?" (p. 9). A note of the concept. (Peirce,1905, p. 494) of response is not the place to pursue such comparisons in detail, but a few comments, perhaps, may provide the basis Initially, then, pragmatists sought to clarifymeanings of in- for beginning such comparisons, in this case between prag- tellectualconcepts by tracingout their "conceivablepractical matism and scientific realism. Pragmatism and scientific consequences." Later, James and Dewey shifted attention realism share a number of assumptions about science, to the importanceof the consequences of actions based upon language, and the world. Both are also opposed to posi- particular conceptions. Here is something Dewey wrote tivism/empiricism.Given their areas of agreement as well as along these lines: some common opponents, it is surprising that these two does not insist antecedent schools of thought end up so far apart. The following com- Pragmatism... upon phenomena ments a few of their affinitiesas well as a few dramatic but upon consequentphenomena; not upon the precedents profile but the of action.And this in differences that divide them. upon possibilities change pontL of view is almost in its The includes, others, C. S. Peirce, revolutionary consequences.... pragmatistcamp among [W]henwe takethe of view of we see that William Herbert point pragmatism James, George Mead, John Dewey, generalideas have a very differentrole to play than that of RichardBern- W. V. O. Quine, RichardRorty, CornelWest, reportingand registeringpast experiences. They are the stein, and, with some give and take, WilfridSellers, Nelson bases for organizingfuture observationsand experiences. Goodman, HilaryPutnam, and Donald Davidson. The work (1931,pp. 32-33) of Lee Cronbachcan also be read as having become increas- ingly pragmaticizedduring the course of his career.With the Many research traditions from positivist/empiricist (quan- exception of Lee Cronbach, these writers and the versions titative) to phenomenological/interpretivist (qualitative) to of pragmatism they have argued were not drawn upon by versions of critical research aim at getting things right; in Professor House. In addition to making an occasional prag- Dewey's words, they "insist upon antecedent phenomena" matist argument in what follows, I will juxtapose a few in "reportingand registeringpast experiences." With the ex- quotations from RichardRorty to those of House in order to ception of criticalresearch, these traditionsin differentways highlight similarities among and differences between prag- maintain that descriptions, theories, and explanations matism and scientific realism.' Two caveats before pro- precede values, social policy, and educational practice.2 ceeding. First, there are many versions of pragmatism, with Research in a pragmatictradition, however, seeks to clarify different points of emphasis, interpretations, and reinter- meanings and looks to consequences. For pragmatists, pretations. These comments do not reflect that diversity by values and visions of human action and interactionprecede any stretch of the imagination; however, at the level of a search for descriptions, theories, explanations, and nar- generality that a note of response constrains, I can think of ratives. Pragmaticresearch is driven by anticipated conse- few majordisagreements among pragmatistsas to the broad quences. Pragmaticchoices about what to researchand how themes that are mentioned and outlined. Second, it is not to go about it are conditioned by where we want to go in the clearthat ProfessorHouse puts himself in the scientificrealist broadestof senses. Values, aesthetics,politics, and social and its camp. These comments are directed, therefore, at House's normative preferences are integral to pragmaticresearch, discussion of scientific realism and not his advocacy of it, interpretation and utilization. although there are moments when he seems to advocate some aspects of scientific realism. Before contrasting one version of pragmatism with CLEO H. CHERRYHOLMESis a professorat the Departmentof House's scientific realism, I present a short introduction to PoliticalScience, Michigan State University,346 South Kedzie 48824-1024.He in curriculum, pragmatism followed by one brief account of scientific Hall, EastLansing, MI specializes realism. Peirce's pragmaticmaxim was perhaps the first ex- publicpolicy, and the philosophyof socialscience.
AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1992 13 At a very general level, a pragmatic reading researcher/ ward by scientificrealists. When Donald Davidson's "On the practitionermight approach issues of reading instruction as Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme" (1974) and Richard follows. He or she might start quite conventionally with a Rorty'sPhilosophy and the Mirror of Nature(1980) are included, review of research findings. Furthermore, a review of the pragmatistrejection of positivism/empiricismis quite for- researchfindings might indicatesupport for widely different midable indeed. But it would be a mistake to get caught up approachesto teaching reading, as differentfrom each other, in a contest about whether pragmatists or scientic realists perhaps, as phonics is from whole-language instruction. mount a stronger attack against positivism/empiricism.3 Pragmatists willingly concede that reading can be success- Pragmatists agree with House's beginning argument, fully taught in terms of raising achievement test scores by "Thereis no incorrigiblefoundation for science such as sense any one of a variety of ways, even by approaches to instruc- impressions or pristine facts. Rather, knowledge is a social tion that seem to be based on contradictoryassumptions and and historical product, facts are theory-laden..." (p. 3). arguments. Our pragmatistattends to the researchliterature Rorty, grouping Wittgenstein and Heidegger with Dewey, because of the opportunitiesand constraintsit suggests about puts a parallel pragmatist point like this: reading instruction. Researchfindings are importantto him or her, in Peirce's words, because of their "conceivableprac- The commonmessage of Wittgenstein,Dewey, and Heideg- historicist tical consequences-that is, the consequences for deliberate, ger is a one. Eachof the threereminds us that the of the foundationsof or self-controlled conduct" and, in Dewey's words, because investigations knowledge morality are the bases for future observations and or languageor societymay simplybe apologetics,attempts "they organizing to eternalizea certain Our focus is on the kind of com- contemporarylanguage-game, social experiences." pragmatist's practiceor self-image(1980, pp. 9-10). munity he or she wishes to promote and the kind of reading and readers such a community would value and require. In Pragmatistsand scientific realists agree, then, that scientific his or her desired community, reading could take any of research always occurs in social, historical, political, and several shapes: A first approach to reading might be for other contexts. Pragmatists and scientific realists draw dif- technical and information-gatheringpurposes; a second, for ferent lessons from this point of agreement. Pragmatiststake aesthetic pleasure in terms of reading poetry and novels; a seriously the assumption that we are historicallyand socially third, for moral and ethical deliberation about personal situated, that when we read the world we can never be quite behavior and social issues; and a fourth, for criticism- sure if we are reading the "world" or reading ourselves artistic, aesthetic, and political. Beginning with what he or whereas scientificrealists apparently believe it is possible to she thinks is known and looking to the consequences he or "explain the real world" by "discovering more complex she desires, our pragmatistwould pick and choose how and layers of reality to explain other levels" (House, 1991, p. 3). what to research and what to do. Because some of these Pragmatistsagree that there is an externalworld independ- strategies work at cross-purposes to his or her desired com- ent of our minds; no disagreement here. Perchance some munity and ways of interacting, our pragmatist simply people who do not believe in an external world would call eliminates them as possibilities for his or her classroom. Our themselves pragmatists. If there are such people, this is not pragmatistmight choose to ignore or activelyoppose, for ex- an argument on their behalf.4 But pragmatists are curious to that work ample, approaches teaching reading against about how scientific realists know when they are closer to for aesthetic or critical These reading pleasure insight. are or fartheraway from knowing "reality."Rorty writes, "How some of the of revolutionary consequences pragmatism to would we know that we were at the end of inquiry, as op- which referred: Not that is Dewey everything works de- posed to merely having gotten tired or unimaginative?" not belief that is "true" is to be acted sirable, every upon. (1991, p. 31). On this point a pragmatist has some ques- In contrast to pragmatism here is a brief characterization tions to put to a scientific realist: How do you know that of scientific realism given by Bas C. van Fraassen (1980): your "conception or picture" (House, 1991, p. 3 quoting Bhaskar)is of "reality"? How do you know that you know Scientificrealism is the position that scientifictheory con- this? structionaims to us a true of what the give literally story House offers a to these world is like, and that of a scientific in- place begin addressing questions. acceptance theory One has a or of if one can "under- volves the belief that it is true.... Accordingto the realist, theory explanation reality stand how the which must be in terms when someone proposes a theory, he is assertingit to be entity acts, always true.... The idea of a literallytrue account has two aspects; of tendencies and probabilities,since events are the outcomes the languageis to be literallyconstrued; and so construed, of complex causal configurations, which sometimes cancel the accountis true. (pp. 9-10) each other out" (House, 1991,p. 3). Pragmatistsfind this and similar answers congenial to their views (another area of This is an ambitious and to some, no doubt, an intuitively agreement between the two schools of thought). A much appealing view of science. But pragmatists are generally more general statement along the same lines is at the core skeptical about the possibility of telling a "literallytrue story of pragmatism:"The pragmaticmethod.., is to try to inter- of what the world is like." Pragmatists of whatever camp pret each notion by tracing its respective practical conse- have many questions to ask of a scientificrealist; several are quences" (James, 1907/1981,p. 26). But scientificrealists do raised below. not have this pragmaticargument at their disposal because Pragmatists agree with the rejection of positivismlem- it speaks of consequences, not "reality." Furthermore, to piricism with which House begins. It is arguable that adopt James's criterionis to become a pragmatist. Now for W. V. O. Quine's deconstruction of the analytic/synthetic a pragmaticresponse to the question, how do you know your distinction and his attackon reductionism in "Two Dogmas "conception or picture" is of "reality": Pragmatists do not of Empiricism" (Quine, 1953) provide a stronger have an answer; they do not pretend to have an answer. counterargumentto positivism/empiricismthan that put for- Pragmatists do not know whether our current "picture or
14 EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER conception" is closer to or fartherfrom "reality" than those initial similaritiesbut subsequent differences between these that have been abandoned. Furthermore they ask: How statements by Rorty and House. First Rorty: could we possibly know one way or the other? Forus all are contextu- What pragmatists believe is sometimes confused with [pragmatists], objects alwaysalready whether our is closer to or farther alized..... there is no questionof takingan objectout of its knowing knowledge away old contextand all to see what from choose some or examiningit, by itself, new "reality." Pragmatists explanations context suit it.... Once one the traditional theories or stories and dismiss others when the former might drops op- pro- positionbetween contextand contextualized,there is duce results desire better than the latter. These results thing they no way to divide things up into those which arewhat they could range from predicting the outcomes of experiments to are independent of context and those which are context- outcomes of programmatic interventions. Does this mean dependent-no way to dividethe worldup into hardlumps that our accepted explanations and theories are better and squishy texts, for example. (1991,pp. 97-98) "conceptions" or "pictures" of "reality," of what is really "real"? The pragmatic response is that we have no way of House writes: knowing; our choice simply means that one approachis bet- A realist of causation see events as ter than another at producing anticipated or desired conception might being outcomes. producedby the interactionof a multitude of underlying causalentities at differentlevels. That one If realists were to use this operating is, might scientific pragmatic argument construe themselvesas eventswhich are without that were programs produced becoming pragmatists-if possible-it by variouscausal entities. The would not be would undermine what to be most dear to scientific program exactly appears the same from place to place but would differ with the realists realists,that they are explaining "reality."If scientific multitudeof factorsthat produce the program-for exam- were to give up van Fraassen's view that "scientific theory ple differentteachers and students.In otherwords, the pro- construction aims to give us a literallytrue story of what the gramwould not be seen as a fixedentity, an "X"in a design, world is like, and that acceptance of a scientific theory in- but as itselfvarying from site to site whereverit is produced. volves the belief that it is true," what would distinguishthem (1991,p. 7) from pragmatists?Pragmatism denies foundationalism, the and scientific realists draw different im- view that grounded meaning and truth can be determined Again, pragmatists once and for all. How would we know if our beliefs described plications from their shared belief in the importance of con- text. believe the is that we "reality"? It is only by acting on our beliefs and observing Pragmatists important point should the idea that we will ever be able to down the consequences that we would know whether our beliefs give up pin causal entities" whereas scientific realists take worked. But this is a pragmatictest that could yield contrary "underlying results on the occasion of a future test. Scientific realists are that as their challenge. Two other areas of deal with meta- not interested in consequences or in what is workable, but apparent agreement and alternative factual On in "reality." Pragmatists have another question: How is it phor descriptions. metaphor, House who that in their possible to infer what is "real" from consequences of actions (1991, p. 5) quotes Bhaskar, argues and scientific realists use and outcomes of experiments? This is not a question for explanations models, "something like a of and There is much here which pragmatists have an answer. What nonpragmatic logic analogy metaphor." that is shared with criteriaof success can scientificrealists appropriateto expose Rorty's following point: what is "real"? really and "in- of share the If we extend these two notions ["understanding" Another point agreement-pragmatists skep- to mean like use of" or ticism of scientific realists that House describes: terpreting"] something "making "copingwith," then we can say thatwe cometo understand It was this kind of of what was metaphorsin the same way that we come to understand thinking, equating experi- anomalousnatural We do so our enced with actualevents actual)with the phenomena. by revising (the empirical) (the theoriesso as to fit them aroundthe new material.We in- real (the causal entities) that led in the wrong direction. turned around so that what was real was mis- terpretmetaphors... by casting aroundfor possible revi- Things got sions in our theorieswhich to handlethe taken to be limited to only what we directlyexperienced. may help surprises. 1991, (1991,p. 4) (Rorty, p. 167) On alternative factual descriptions, House writes: Pragmatists believe, however, that scientific realists are in- and that should extend their sufficientlyskeptical they skep- Theoryis not in a relationof correspondencewith realityand ticism to the possibility of describing what is really "real." does not mirrorreality. To provide an explanationis not to Or, as Putnam (1990)argues, we should give up on the idea provide a mirrorof events, a subtle but importantdistinc- of acquiring for ourselves "God's-eye point of view" tion. Theory attemptsto explainevents, and the explana- because, as Rortycomments, "A God's-eye view is one that tion may be adequateor inadequate.Theory must conform is irrelevant to our needs and practices" (1990, p. 2). Recall to standards of adequacy established within particular the pragmatist reading researcher/practitioner described substantivedisciplines. Thus the worldis known only under above; there are some "objectively" successful approaches particular descriptions and is, in that limited sense, to reading instruction, possibly, that work at cross-purposes epistemologicallyrelative. (1991,p. 5)5 to or are irrelevant to his or her goals. Our pragmatist will Rorty writes: either work to cancel them out or simply ignore them. These decisions are shaped by his or her desires and the conse- Once we dump the idea that the aim of inquiryis to repre- quences he or she anticipates. sent objects and substitute the view that inquiry aims at Pragmatists and scientific realists also agree that it is a makingbeliefs and desirescoherent.., the notionthat there mistake to distinguish between text and context. Note the is truth only about what is realgets set aside. So the only
A UGUST-SEPTEMBER 1992 15 notion of "object"we need is that of "intentionalobject." the desire for solidaritywith that community.They think An intentionalobject is what a word or descriptionrefers that the habits of relying on persuasionrather than force, to. You find out what it refersto by attachinga meaningto of respect for the opinions of colleagues, of curiosityand the linguisticexpressions to thatword or description.(1991, eagernessfor new dataand ideas, arethe onlyvirtues which p. 106) scientistshave. They do not think that there is an intellec- tual virtuecalled "rationality"over and above these moral Pragmatists and scientific realists find themselves on many virtues. (1991,p. 39) of the same pages as they read the text of their assumptions. other are anti- But the story each eventually tells is quite Pragmatists, among things, different-- anti-essentialists interesting and curious. representationalists (Rorty, 1990), (Rorty, anti-foundationalists House flirts with pragmatism, with looking to the conse- 1990), (Quine, 1953), fallibilists(Rorty, look to the are quences, throughout his essay. He writes, "Because a com- 1980);they consequences (James, 1907/1981), are democrats are plete causal analysis of a given event is impossible and un- pluralists (Dewey, 1931), (Dewey, 1931), cultural critics draw no hard distinction be- necessary, which causes does one identify as being rele- (West, 1989), tween text and context and value vant?" (p. 6). Rorty takes a pragmatist line that takes (Rorty, 1991), community At least one believed that the relevance seriously and argues a related point: "Viewing in- (Dewey, 1917). pragmatist aesthetics of life is to quiry as recontextualization makes it impossible to take everyday integral pragmatism(Dewey, come under seriously the notion of some contexts being intrinsically 1934/1980,chap. 3). Pragmatists many descrip- tions and in have privileged, as opposed to being useful for some particular many guises. Pragmatists portrayed themselves as liberalironists criticalnaturalists purpose" (1991, p. 110). Relevance and purposes go to- (Rorty,1989), and critical gether. Without purposes, without being concerned with (Shapiro, 1990), legitimists (Connolly, 1987). Others have called for a critical consequences, it is difficult to imagine how choices about pragmatism(Cherryholmes, relevance can be decided. When we decide upon purposes, 1988), pragmaticpluralism (Hassan, 1987), prophetic prag- matism or democratic-socialist-feminist some contexts and some relevances come to the foreground. (West, 1989), prag- matism or have the of a In the first sentence of his section on "Implications for (Fraser,1989) suggested possibility dialectical EducationalResearch," House again displays his pragmatist pragmatism (Garrison, 1991). As described scientificrealists with sympathies: "What differencedo these considerationsmake by House, begin many that are similarto those asserted to educational research?" (p. 6)6 Here is one last example assumptions remarkably by scientific realists end far removed and from House about the way pragmatistsand scientificrealists pragmatists, yet up distant from If scientificrealists were to share the same insight yet end up far apart: "There is little pragmatists. give up and doubt that the Humean or regularitytheory of causation on the idea of describing, accounting for, explaining, which the standard view is based is incorrect. However, no theorizing about what is really "real," then they would from In one has succeeded in defining a satisfactoryalternative posi- become indistinguishable, perhaps, pragmatists.7 remain distinct from tion" (p. 9). Pragmatistsfully agree. Pragmatistsalso believe any case, if scientific realists wish to that we would be better off if we stopped asking questions pragmatists, then they must come up with nonpragmatic about laws of nature and what is really "real" and devoted criteriafor success; they must tell us how we can infer from more attention to the ways of life we are choosing and liv- observations of consequences to "reality" by describing these ing when we ask the questions we ask. Here are two ex- some post-pragmaticcriteria of success. One reading of for tended comments by Rorty on these issues: similarities and differences is that in their search "real- ity," scientific realists are romantics and pragmatists are Peoplehave, oddly enough, found somethinginteresting to realists, albeit of a different version from scientific realists, say about the essence of Force and the definition of who believe the search for "reality" is a misguided and im- "number."They might have found somethinginteresting possible search. Even if we came upon a True account of to about the essence of Truth.But in fact haven't. say they what is really "real," we would be at a loss to recognize it This historyof attemptsto do so... is roughlycoextensive as True. with the of that we call history literarygenre "philoso- But Professor House and the scientific realists could be phy -a genre founded by Plato. So pragmatistssee the Platonictradition as outlivedits usefulness.This does right about these things, and I and other pragmatists could having If that is how it turns then I will follow their not mean that they have a new non-Platonicset of answers be wrong. out, to Platonicquestions.., but ratherthat they do not think lead, but in doing so, I will retain and act upon at least two we should ask those questions anymore.When they sug- pragmatisttenets: Do not block the road to inquiry, and look gest thatwe not ask questionsabout the natureof Truthand to the consequences. Goodness, they do not invoke a theoryabout the natureof realityor knowledge of man which says that "there is no such thing" as Truth or Goodness. Nor do they have a Notes "relativistic" or "subjectivistic" theory of Truth or Goodness. They would simply like to change the subject. I thank David Cohen, Jay Featherstone, and David Labaree for com- (1983,p. xiv) ments on an early draft of these notes. 1Irepeatedly go to Rorty because he is the foremost contemporary ad- and he writes about it. Pragmatistswould like to drop the idea that human beings vocate of pragmatism particularlyclearly Rorty's a nonhuman fora pragmatism is distinct in various ways from that of Peirce, James, Dewey, areresponsible to power.We hope culture Quine, Davidson, or West, but statements by these and other pragmatists in which questions about the "objectivityof value" or the could have been substituted for some of the quotations taken from Rorty. "rationalityof science"would seem equallyunintelligible. In 1981 Quine addressed the question of what common beliefs and Pragmatistswould liketo replacethe desirefor objectivity-- assumptions pragmatists share. He concluded that only two general the desire to be in touch with a realitywhich is more than tenets set pragmatists apart; they hold to behavioristic semantics and some communitywith which we identifyourselves-with "the doctrine of man as truth-maker" (p. 37). He agreed with each. If
16 EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER these two convictions can be said to be more or less at the center of the Dewey, J. (1931). The development of American pragmatism. In H. S. web of pragmatic beliefs, it can be shown that each of the pragmatic posi- Thayer (Ed.) (1989), Pragmatism:The classic writings (pp. 23-40). In- tions I argue herein are linked to them. Several excellent introductions dianapolis, IN: Hackett. to the development of pragmatism and its assorted versions are available. Dewey, J. (1934/1980). Art as experience.New York: Wideview/Pedigree. For someone new to pragmatism, a treatment characterized by clarity Hassan, I. (1987). The postmodernturn: Essays in postmoderntheory and and conciseness is John P. Murphy's (1990) Pragmatism:From Peirce to culture. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Press. Davidson. H. S. Thayer's (1984) Meaning and Action: A CriticalHistory of House, E. R. (1991). Realism in research, EducationalResearcher, 20(6), 2-9. Pragmatismis a classic because of its thoroughness and insight. Last but Fraser, N. (1989). Unruly practices:Power, discourse,and genderin contem- certainly not least is Cornel West's (1989) The American Evasion of porarysocial theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Philosophy:A Genealogyof Pragmatism,which sets pragmatism in the con- Garrison, J. (1991), [Personal communication]. text of American culture over the last 150 years. James, W. (1907/1981). Pragmatism.Indianapolis, IN: Hackett. 2This is a minor point possibly, but to the contrary, values and Murphy, J. P. (1990). Pragmatism:From Peirce to Davidson. Boulder, CO: preferences always precede research activities and interpretations. This Westview Press. is how it works. Research choices, designs, and findings are expressed Peirce, C. S. (1905). Review of Nichols' A treatiseon cosmology.In H. S. by statements; statements are actions; actions result from decisions; and Thayer (Ed.) (1984), Meaningand action:A criticalhistory of pragmatism. decisions cannot be made without reference to values. (pp. 493-495). Indianapolis: IN: Hackett. 3House notes that scientific realists reject positivism. But what about Putnam: H. (1990). Reason,truth and history.Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge empiricism? On empiricism, van Fraassen (1980) writes, "To be an em- University Press. piricist is to withhold belief in anything that goes beyond the actual, Quine, W. V. 0. (1953). Two dogmas of empiricism. In W. V. O. Quine, observable phenomena, and to recognize no objective modality in nature. Froma logicalpoint of view (pp. 20-46). Cambridge, MA: HarvardUniver- To develop an empiricist account of science is to depict it as involving sity Press. a search for truth only about the empirical world, about what is actual Quine, W. V. 0. (1981). Pragmatists' place in empiricism. In R. J. and observable" (pp. 202-203). Thus, it appears that House's account Mulvaney & P. M. Zeltner (Eds.), Pragmatism:Its sourcesand prospects. of scientific realism rejects van Fraassen's account of empiricism. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 21-40. 4I hope that such people have others around them who will advise Rorty, R. (1980). Philosophy and the mirror of nature. Princeton, NJ: them to get out of the path of an on-coming bus if they should find Princeton University Press. themselves directly in its path as well as to warn them away from other Rorty, R. (1983). Consequencesof pragmatism.Minneapolis: MN: Univer- dangers. sity of Minnesota Press. 51Itwould be helpful for the reader if House would distinguish between Rorty, R. (1989). Contingency,Irony, and Solidarity.New York: Cambridge Bhaskar's desired "picture" and his own undesired "mirror." University Press. 6ProfessorHouse's implicit and repeated allusions to various pragmatist Rorty, R. (1990). Pragmatism as anti-representationalism. In J. P. Mur- ideas is reminiscent of a comment William James made about a Leipzig phy, Pragmatism: From Peirce to Davidson (pp. 1-6). Boulder, CO: chemist in 1907: Westview Press. Rorty, R. (1991). Objectivity,relativism, and truth:Philosophical papers, Vol. I found a few years ago that Ostwald, the illustrious Leipzig chemist, 1. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press. had been distinct use of the of making perfectly principle pragmatism Russell, B. (1919). Professor Dewey's "Essays in experimental logic." in his lectures of science, he had not called on the philosophy though In Sidney Morgenbesser (Ed.) (1977), Deweyand his critics(pp. 231-252). it by that name. "All realities influence our practice," he wrote me, "and that influence is their for am accustomed to put New York: NY: The Journal of Philosophy. meaning us.1 Political criticism. of California questions to my classes in this way: In what respects would the world Shapiro, I. (1990). Berkeley. University Press. be different if this alternative or that were true? If I can find nothing that would become different, then the alternative has no sense. Thayer, H. S. (1984), Meaning and action:A criticalhistory of pragmatism. (1907/1981, pp. 26-27) Indianapolis: IN: Hackett. van Fraassen, B. C. The Oxford, Clarendon as Bertrand Russell's review (1980). scientificimage. Eng.: 7Going back at least as far (1919) essay Press. of in it is that many John Dewey's "Essays ExperimentalLogic," arguable West, C. (1989). The American evasion of philosophy: A genealogy of British are wont to misjudge American pragmatists and philosophers pragmatism.Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. pragmatism. After discussing at length and relentlessly misinterpreting Rorty's pragmatism, Bhaskar (1989), a major authority on scientific realism for House, surprisingly expresses a rather close affinity with one aspect of Rorty's thought as well as pragmatism in the concluding sentence of a chapter entitled "Rorty, Realism, and the Idea of Freedom": As for philosophers, if they follow the sounder part of Rorty's ad- NEW EDITORS vice and give up the search for permanent a-historical compulsive foundations of knowledge... they may find that by focusing on the historical arts and sciences and the other social practices, as they are, EducationalResearcher have come down to us and may yet develop, there is more than a little critical underlabouring to do.... (p. 179) Beginning with Volume 22, ER's editors will be as According to Bhaskar, "To underlabour...[is to] illuminate and empower follows: the project of human self-emancipation" (p. vii). Robert E. Floden, Features Editor, ER, Michigan State University, 516 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, MI References 48824-1034 Ursula News and Comment Editor, ER, Bhaskar, R. (1989). Reclaimingreality: A criticalintroduction to contemporary Casanova, philosophy. London: Verso. 14040 South 24th Way, Phoenix, AZ 85044 Cherryholmes, C. H. (1988). Powerand criticism:Poststructural investiga- tions in education.New York: Teachers College Press. Lauren Sosniak, Book Review Editor, ER, Connolly, W. (1987). Politicsand ambiguity.Madison, WI: University of Washington University, Campus Box 1183, St. Louis, Wisconsin Press. MO 63130-4899 Davidson, D. (1974). On the very idea of a conceptual scheme. In D. Davidson (1990), Truthand interpretation.(pp. 183-198). Oxford, Eng.: Effective immediately, all manuscripts should be sub- Oxford University Press. mitted to the appropriate editor. Dewey, J. (1917). The need for a recovery of philosophy. In J. J. McDer- mott (1981), ThePhilosophy of JohnDewey (pp. 58-97). Chicago: Univer- sity of Chicago Press.