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mercredi 2 novembre 2016

Tant va la cruche pragmatiste à l'eau....

Qu' à la fin elle se casse....

Russell dans sa critique de Dewey ( in P.A Schilpp, ed The philosophy of John Dewey 1940) accusa ce dernier d'avoir produit une philosophie pour le capitalisme américain.
Ce dernier, outré, lui répondit que c'était comme dire  que la philosophie de Russell était faite pour les aristocrates britanniques.
Il est intéressant de voir que ces penchant aristocrates ont disparu des universités britanniques comme Oxford.
La critique de Russell était la suivante ( A History ofWestern philosophy, 1951,ed. Routledge p. 816 sq):


"I think Dr. Dewey's theory might be stated as follows. The relations of an organism to its environment are sometimes satisfactory to the organism, sometimes unsatisfactory. When they are unsatisfactory, the situation may be improved by mutual adjustment. When the alterations by means of which the situation is improved are mainly on the side of the organism--they are never wholly on either side-the process involved is called "inquiry." For example: during a battle you are mainly concerned to alter the environment, i.e., the enemy; but during the preceding period of reconnaissance you are mainly concerned to adapt your own forces to his dispositions. This earlier period is one of "inquiry." The difficulty of this theory, to my mind, lies in the severing of the relation between a belief and the fact or facts which would commonly be said to "verify" it. Let us continue to consider the example of a general planning a battle. His reconnaissance planes report to him certain enemy preparations, and he, in consequence, makes certain counter-preparations. Common sense would  say that the reports upon which he acts are "true" if, in fact, the enemy have made the moves which they are said to have made, and that, in that case, the reports remain true even if the general subsequently loses the battle. This viewis rejected by Dr. Dewey. He does not divide beliefs into "true" and "false," but he still has two kinds of beliefs, which we will call "satisfactory" if the general wins, and "unsatisfactory" if he is
defeated. Until the battle has taken place, he cannot tell what to think about the reports of his
scouts.
      Generalizing, we may say that Dr. Dewey, like everyone else, divides beliefs into two classes, of which one is good and the other bad. He holds, however, that a belief may be good at one time and bad at another; this happens with imperfect theories which are better than their predecessors but worse than their successors. Whether a belief is good or bad depends upon whether the activities which it inspires in the organism entertaining the belief have consequences which are satisfactory or unsatisfactory to it. Thus a belief about some event in the past is to be classified as "good" or "bad," not according to whether the event really took place, but according to the future effects of the belief. The results are curious. Suppose somebody says to me: "Did you have coffee with your breakfast this morning?" If I am an ordinary person, I shall try to remember. But if I am a disciple of Dr. Dewey I shall say: "Wait a while; I must try two experiments before I can tell you." I shall then first make myself believe that I had coffee, and observe the consequences, if any;
I shall then make myself believe that I did not have coffee, and again observe the consequences, if any. I shall then compare the two sets of consequences, to see which I found the more satisfactory. If there is a balance on one side I shall decide for that answer. If there is not, I shall have to confess that I cannot answer the question. But this is not the end of our troubles. How am I to know the consequences of believing that I had coffee for breakfast? If I say "the consequences are such-and-such," this in turn will have to be tested by its consequences before I can know whether what I have said was a "good" or a "bad" statement. And even if this difficulty were overcome, how am I to judge which set of consequences is the more satisfactory? One decision as to whether I had coffee may fill me with contentment, the other with determination to further the war effort. Each of these may be considered good, but until I have decided which is better I cannot tell whether I had coffee for breakfast. Surely this is absurd.Dewey's divergence from what has hitherto been regarded as common sense is due to his refusal to admit "facts" into his metaphysic, in the sense in which "facts" are stubborn and cannot be manipulated. In this it may be that common sense is changing, and that
his view will not seem contrary to what common sense is becoming. The main difference between Dr. Dewey and me is that he judges a belief by its effects, whereas I judge it by its causes where a past occurrence is concerned. I consider such a belief "true," or as nearly "true" as we can make it, if it has a certain kind of relation (sometimes very complicated) to its causes. Dr. Dewey holds that it has "warranted assertability"--which he substitutes for "truth"-- if it has certain kinds of effects. This divergence is connected with a difference of outlook on the world. The past cannot be affected by what we do, and therefore, if truth is determined by what has happened, it is independent of present or future volitions; it represents, in logical form, the limitations on human power. But if truth, or rather "warranted assertability," depends upon the future, then, in so far as it is in our power to alter the future, it is in our power to alter what should be asserted. This enlarges the sense of human power and freedom. Did Caesar cross the Rubicon? I should regard an affirmative answer as unalterably necessitated by a past event. Dr. Dewey would decide whether to say yes or no by an appraisal of future events, and there is no reason why these future events could not be arranged by human power so as to make a negative answer the more satisfactory. If I find the belief that Caesar crossed the Rubicon very distasteful, I need not sit down in dull despair; I can, if I have enough skill and power, arrange a social environment in which the statement that he did not cross the Rubicon will have "warranted assertability."

Throughout this book, I have sought, where possible, to connect philosophies with the social environment of the philosophers concerned. It has seemed to me that the belief in human power, and the unwillingness to admit "stubborn facts," were connected with the hopefulness engendered by machine production and the scientific manipulation of our physical environment. This view is shared by many of Dr. Dewey's supporters. Thus George Raymond Geiger, in a laudatory essay, says that Dr. Dewey's method "would mean a revolution in thought just as middle-class and unspectacular, but just as stupendous, as the revolution in industry of a century ago." It seemed to me that I was saying the same thing when I wrote: "Dr.Dewey has an outlook which, where it is distinctive, is in harmony with the age of industrialism and collective enterprise. It is natural that his strongest appeal should be to Americans, and also that he should be almost equally appreciated by the progressive elements in countries like China and Mexico."
      To my regret and surprise, this statement, which I had supposed completely innocuous, vexed Dr. Dewey, who replied: "Mr. Russell's confirmed habit of connecting the pragmatic theory of knowing with obnoxious aspects of American industrialism . . . is much as if I were to link his philosophy to the interests of the English landed aristocracy." For my part, I am accustomed to having my opinions explained (especially by Communists) as due to my connection with the British aristocracy, and I am quite willing to suppose that my views, like other men's, are influenced by social environment. But if, in regard to Dr. Dewey, I am mistaken as to the social influences concerned, I regret the mistake. I find, however, that I am not alone in having made it. Santayana, for instance, says: "In Dewey, as in current science and ethics, there is a pervasive quasi-Hegelian tendency to dissolve the individual into his social functions, aswell as everything substantial and actual into something relative and transitional."
       Dr. Dewey's world, it seems to me, is one in which human beings occupy the imagination; the cosmos of astronomy, though of course acknowledged to exist, is at most times ignored. His philosophy is a power philosophy, though not, like Nietzsche's, a philosophy of individual power; it is the power of the community that is felt to be valuable. It is this element of social power that seems to me to make the philosophy of instrumentalism attractive to those who are more impressed by our new control over natural forces than by the limitations to which that control is still subject.
       The attitude of man towards the non-human environment has differed profoundly at different times. The Greeks, with their dread of hubris and their belief in a Necessity or Fate superior even to Zeus, carefully avoided what would have seemed to them insolence towards the universe. The Middle Ages carried submission much further: humility towards God was a Christian's first duty. Initiative was cramped by this attitude, and great originality was scarcely possible. The Renaissance restored human pride, but carried it to the point where it led to anarchy and disaster. Its work was largely undone by the Reformation and the Counter-reformation. But modern technique, while not altogether favourable to the lordly individual of the Renaissance, has revived the sense of the collective power of human communities. Man, formerly too humble, begins to think of himself as almost a God. The Italian pragmatist Papini urges us to substitute the "Imitation of God" for the "Imitation of Christ."
       In all this I feel a grave danger, the danger of what might be called cosmic impiety. The concept of "truth" as something dependent upon facts largely outside human control has been one of the ways in which philosophy hitherto has inculcated the necessary element of humility. When this check upon pride is removed, a further step is taken on the road towards a certain kind of madness--the intoxication of power which invaded philosophy with Fichte, and to which modern men, whether philosophers or not, are prone. I am persuaded that this intoxication is the greatest danger of our time, and that any philosophy which, however unintentionally, contributes to it is increasing thedanger of vast social disaster."


Le pragmatisme , jadis doctrine progressiste, est devenu réactionnaire.

Il y en a des formes distinguées et subtiles. Mais il y en a des formes vulgaires.