A New Neo-Pragmatism: From James and Dewey to Foucault

  • Todd May Clemson University


Michel Foucault's thought not only converges with a certain type of pragmatism; it can deepen our understanding of pragmatism. There is an ambivalence in pragmatist thought between an approach that privileges the question of: ”What works?” and ”How does it work?” The former misses the political idea that some practices don't just work, but work for one purpose or another. Foucault's pragmatism does not focus on what works, but instead utilizes the concept of practices as a unit of analysis, and then asks how they work. This reintroduces a political element that sometimes goes missing in pragmatist thought.

Author Biography

Todd May, Clemson University
Special Issue on Foucault and Pragmatism