EJPAP – 2nd Call for Papers: Pragmatism and Common Sense

*European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, *EJPAP 9, 2, 2017
Guest Editors: Gabriele Gava (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main) and
Roberto Gronda (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa)

The 2017/2 issue of the EJPAP will discuss the relationships between
pragmatism and common-sense. Its goal is to reflect on the importance of
the notion of common-sense for pragmatism, both from a historical and
a theoretical point of view, and to inquire whether pragmatism provides a
distinctive and original approach to this concept.

Pragmatism understands human action as grounded on general habits of
behavior. The dimension of habituality is what allows human beings to cope
with environmental conditions in a way that makes it possible for them to
feel at home in the world. The notion of common-sense is therefore
intrinsically relevant to a philosophical approach emphasizing habitual
interactions with the world. Moreover, pragmatists have often proposed a
kind of “conservatism” in epistemology – that is, they argue that
common-sense beliefs need not be justified until there are authentic or
“living” reasons to doubt them. In other words, pragmatists disallow merely
possible skeptical scenarios as reasons to doubt.

Thus, if the concept of common-sense is central to pragmatisms in this (and
other) ways, it is nevertheless questionable whether a pragmatist approach
implies a distinctive account of common sense that differs, essentially,
from those available in other traditions of thought. To know these, we
would need to answer the following kinds of questions: (1) Do pragmatists
make use of a unique version of common sense or one that overlaps with
other uses? (2) If it overlaps with other uses, how does this work? For
example, one might consider the different roles of common sense in
different contexts; (a) common-sense can be used to highlight the
conceptual or normative primacy of the “ordinary” over the “derived” or
refined products of scientific investigation; (b) alternatively, it can be
used to defend the opposite thesis, that is, that everyday practices are
open to a continuous and never-ending process of revision, through which
they incorporate within themselves the results of science. Or, (c) common
sense can be deployed either as an epistemological concept (which provides
a sort of justification for certain claims to knowledge) or, in a sort of
Deweyan spirit, as a tool to defeat the very possibility of epistemological
accounts of knowledge. In this latter sense, focusing on the notion of
common-sense can reveal those theoretical assumptions which are at the
basis of different versions of pragmatism.

We welcome contributions from any area of philosophy, and encourage social
scientists and theorists of politics to also participate. Possible topics
for discussion are: a) the historiographical assessment of the relation of
pragmatism to the Scottish philosophy of common-sense; b) the influence of
the theory of evolution on the pragmatist account of common sense; c) the
similarities and differences between pragmatism and the “philosophy of the
ordinary”; d) the possible relations to authors as different as
Wittgenstein, Foucault, Bourdieu, to name only the most important ones; e)
the relation between common-sense and science; f) the relation between
pragmatist common-sensism and issues in contemporary epistemology such as
the epistemology of virtues or the know-that/know-how distinction; g) the
role played by a pragmatist-inspired notion of common-sense in social

Papers should be sent to roberto1gronda@gmail.com and
gabriele.gava@gmail.com by May 31st, 2017. They should not exceed 12.000
words and must include an abstract of 150-400 words and a list of
works cited. Papers will be selected on the basis of a process of blind
review. They will be published in December 2017.

For further information see: http://lnx.journalofpragmatism.eu/?page_id=11

Dr. Gabriele Gava

Institut für Philosophie
Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1
60629 Frankfurt am Main