S. Laugier (dir.), Perfectionism, Transcendentalism, Pragmatism, co-éd. avec P. Donatelli, European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy (2010)


“The relation between Pragmatism, Transcendentalism, and Perfectionism is both ob- vious and difficult, and this is what prompted us to edit the present issue of the Journal. The relation is obvious, because the history of American Philosophy is deeply textured by this relation, and the transition from Transcendentalism to Pragmatism has been historically attested. Difficult, because these traditions seem to deny one another.1 Pragmatist philoso- phers have often presented themselves as the founders of the American philosophical tradi- tion, or at least of a new one; and in order to establish their philosophical and epistemologi- cal legitimacy, they have undervalued the influence of previous tradition. While this is mostly evident in the case of Ralph Emerson, similar remarks can be made for the whole American pre-pragmatist philosophical tradition. On the other hand, lovers of Transcenden- talism (Stanley Cavell being the first) have vindicated Emerson’s voice by disconnecting him from Pragmatism and claiming his irreducibility to the pragmatist tradition. There has therefore been a sort of Transcendental anti-pragmatist reaction, issuing in charges to the effect that Pragmatists have been blind, or deaf, to Emerson’s influence and, consequently, to perfectionist themes.2 This question, then, seems to need some elucidation, and, moreo- ver, seems to be at the core of any reflection on the nature and definition of American Phi- losophy today (…)”

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