Pragmatism and/on Science and Scientism
Call for papers

Edited by Rachel Cristy (King’s College London) and Pietro Gori (IFILNOVA – Universidade NOVA de Lisboa)

The history of the encounter between pragmatism and science is long, fruitful, yet also problematic. Each of the major founding pragmatists (Peirce, James, Dewey) was at some time during their career directly engaged with experimental science. All three wrote about the nature of scientific inquiry and the status of scientific theories, and reflected on how the methods of the sciences can be related with other methods of fixing belief. Moreover, pragmatist attitudes can be encountered in major figures of both the history and the philosophy of science (e.g. Quine, Kuhn, Putnam, Laudan, and Kitcher), who engaged critically with the issue of the value of knowledge claims. Finally, pragmatism walks hand in hand with naturalism, given the interest of classic pragmatists such as Peirce, James, and Wright (among others) in demanding natural, as opposed to supernatural, answers to our philosophical questions.

Despite – or parallel to – this general interest in the scientific theoretical framework, pragmatist thinkers almost always rejected scientism, understood as an attitude of science-worship involving an uncritical faith in the methods of the modern sciences, an uncritical acceptance of their assumptions and conclusions, and a quasi-religious faith in the overriding value of the scientific enterprise. Contrary to this view, for example, pragmatists such as James and Dewey argued that science can neither tell us what we should value, nor fully account for the value we in fact find in certain objects, activities, and experiences. And crucially, they maintained that science cannot tell us whether or why its own goal of attaining truth is valuable. Broadly speaking, it is possible to say that pragmatism challenges scientism, protecting the original nature of lived experience from rationalism and scientific materialism; taking ideas as essentially connected with voluntary action; and regarding faith as necessary for any practical achievement of truth.

In line with this, the proposed issue of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy aims to explore to what extent the encounter of pragmatism and science can offer the opportunity to reflect upon the genesis and nature, limits and potentialities of both philosophical and scientific inquiry, with a special focus on the problem as to how science and common sense, science and philosophy, science and religion – broadly, science and culture – fit together, and to what extent science can be a reference for human praxis.

Authors are encouraged to submit papers on topics such as (but not limited to) the influence of science upon philosophy; the role of the scientific method in the fixing of beliefs; science as a form of life; the place of science in individual and/or social life; pragmatist approaches to the debate on naturalism; and historical and contemporary pragmatist attitudes in the philosophy of science.

Papers should be sent to Rachel Cristy ( and Pietro Gori ( by December 2023. Prepared for a process of blind review, they should not exceed 8000 words and must include an abstract of 200 words and a list of references. The selected papers will be published in April 2024.