Howard University College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Philosophy
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Phil 156

Dr. Charles Verharen

In the first part of the course we sill situate pragmatism in the history of philosophy. Is it an American phenomenon? What does it mean to call a philosophy American, or African-American or European or African? We will look for intimations of pragmatism in earlier European, Asian, and African philosophies with an interest in seeing why pragmatism finally separated itself from other practices in philosophy to become a distinctive collection of methods and interests in the United States of the 20th century.

The second part will focus briefly on classical pragmatism. We will consider issues raised in several essays by Peirce, James’ Varieties of Religious Experience, and Dewey’sReconstruction in Philosophy and Human Nature and Conduct.

The third part will focus on African-American uses of pragmatism in Du Bois’ The Education of Black People and in a number of Alain Locke’s essays, particularly “Values and Imperatives.”

The fourth part will compare Locke’s philosophy of critical relativism to J.M. Balkin’s attempts to establish a system of transcendent values in his Cultural Software.

The final part will contrast Locke and Du Bois’ pragmatic internationalism with Richard Rorty and Stanley Fish’s articulations of a concept of “solidarity.”


African American Philosophy
Afro-Caribbean Philosophy
Ancient Egyptian Philosophy
Ancient Egyptian Philosophy
Ancient Greek Philosophy
Classical Ethics
Comparative Philosophy: Philosophical Explanations of Evil Across Cultures
Current Topics: Philosophy and Ethics of Appropriate Technology and Development
Current Topics: Africana Philosophy and Film
Environmental Ethics
Ethics and Public Policy
Ethics of Medical Care
Ethics of Medical Care
History of Africana Philosophy
Introduction to Ethics
Introduction to Philosophy
Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy
Medieval Philosophy
Modern Philosophy
Philosophy of Education
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of Religion
Philosophy of Social Science
Principles of Reasoning
Representative Thinkers
Seminar on Aristotle 
Symbolic Logic


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