University of New Mexico Regents Professor Emeritus Russell Goodman has been invited to teach in the Philosophy Summer School in China, a 25-year-old program established by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Royal Institute of Philosophy (U.K.). 

Eighty graduate students and faculty from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao gather in Shenyang this summer to hear Goodman and colleagues from Ireland, Canada and the U.K. discuss Pragmatism, America’s indigenous school of philosophy.

"Pragmatism was initiated by Charles Sanders Peirce, William James and John Dewey in the late 19th and early 20th centuries," Goodman said. "Its key notion is that our ideas are connected with practice and they arise from and influence human engagements with the world. Pragmatism has implications for fields ranging from political theory to the philosophy of language, and has enjoyed a revival in the late 20th and early 21st centuries through the writings of the “neopragmatists” Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam."

Goodman’s lectures will be based on his book Wittgenstein and William James (Cambridge University Press, 2002), in which he argues that James exerted a distinctive and pervasive positive influence on 20th century Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein—who wrote that James was a good philosopher because “he was a real human being.” Goodman’s book shows that both philosophers shared commitments to anti-foundationalism, to the description of the concrete details of human experience, and to the interplay of practice and intellect.

The Philosophy Summer School was founded in 1987 and held its first session in 1988 as the Sino-British Summer School of Philosophy, with the Royal Institute of Philosophy and the Institute of Philosophy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) as its sponsoring bodies. CASS is directly responsible to the State Council (China's cabinet) and has generated many of the ideas shaping Chinese reform and dynamic economic growth.  The school has also brought philosophical understanding to bear on practical questions facing China in a period of fundamental transformation, initially ethical questions dealing with business, the environment, medicine and changing social relations.

After teaching in Shenyang, Goodman will lecture on contemporary pragmatism at Beijing Normal University.

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