Thomas Jefferson: Orignial PragmatistThis essay Thomas Jefferson: Orignial Pragmatist is available for you on Essays24.com! Search Term Papers, College Essay Examples and Free Essays on Essays24.com - full papers database.
Autor: anton • April 2, 2011 • 845 Words (4 Pages) • 1,126 Views
In his book The Lost World of Thomas Jefferson, Daniel J. Boorstin attempted to Ð²Ð‚Ñšrecapture the Jeffersonian world of ideasÐ²Ð‚Ñœ by reconstructing the writings of the Jeffersonian from the American Philosophy Society. He attempted to show the relationship between the different Jeffersonian conceptions, starting with God and ending with society. Furthermore, BoorstinÐ²Ð‚™s attempted to bring coherency to the Jeffersonian tradition in order to save it from the Ð²Ð‚Ñšvagueness which has enveloped much of liberal thoughtÐ²Ð‚Ñœ. Among the major themes in the book is the materialist conception of the Jeffersonian, which begins with ideas of the Creator as the divine Ð²Ð‚ÑšArchitectÐ²Ð‚Ñœ of nature, and the economy of nature, which explains the efficiency and the practicality with which the Creator made nature. These ideas become the foundation for which all other Jeffersonian ideas stem from. Among them are early conceptions of pragmatism. Therefore, the thesis of this paper concerns Jeffersonian thought exhibited early traces of pragmatism in its ideas of the Creator, the Ð²Ð‚Ñšphysiology of thought and moralsÐ²Ð‚Ñœ, and Ð²Ð‚Ñšuseful knowledgeÐ²Ð‚Ñœ.
The Jeffersonian materialist conception of God, the Ð²Ð‚ÑšArchitectÐ²Ð‚Ñœ of nature, reasoned that God Ð²Ð‚Ñšmust have made it possible for everyone to discover His existence and His characterÐ²Ð‚Ñœ. Therefore, God could be externally validated through observation of nature, which made God tangible. For example, David Rittenhouse believed Ð²Ð‚Ñšthat facts which men did not yet knowÐ²Ð‚¦would confirm the quality which already had been proved by astronomic science.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ Hence, what has been observed through science can predict what lies in other parts of the universe that has yet not been observed. This suggested that there could be no subject-object split between God and man. Such arguments against subject-object split reflect pragmatist William JamesÐ²Ð‚™s belief of realism nearly one hundred years later, which would later influence pragmatist Hilary PutnamÐ²Ð‚™s conception of realism another hundred years after that.
Jeffersonian ideas on thinking also exposed pragmatistsÐ²Ð‚™ ideas on truth, plurality, theories, and absolutes. Jefferson remarked that Ð²Ð‚Ñšdifferences of opinionÐ²Ð‚¦like differences of face, are a law of our nature, and should be viewed with the same tolerance.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ Boorstin further commented that since people had varying ways of thinking, the Jeffersonian believed it to be futile to pursue an absolute or to bring consistency among different thoughts through theories. This varying ways of thinking would lead to experimentation and the use of experience in determining the truth. Pragmatist William James expressed similar feelings as the Jeffersonian. Dickstein explained JamesÐ²Ð‚™s notion that Ð²Ð‚Ñštruth were conditional and constantly evolving rather than abstract and absoluteÐ²Ð‚Ñœ with a Ð²Ð‚ÑšpreferenceÐ²Ð‚¦.for facts over theories.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ Hence, James expressed similar feelings towards truth, plurality, absolutes, and theories as Jefferson.
BoorstinÐ²Ð‚™s depiction of the Jeffersonian idea of Ð²Ð‚Ñšuseful KnowledgeÐ²Ð‚Ñœ closely mirrors several of pragmatist John DeweyÐ²Ð‚™s ideas on education. The Jeffersonian believed mind and body