Every movement is half baked and no significant movement in philosophy can really afford to neglect the kind of research and speculation that’s favored by another group that is the sworn enemy of the first. I think that’s what’s happened. I think it’s not unlike the partition of Iraq. There’s a tripartite division in Iraq, and there’s a tripartite division in philosophy, or was until recent years between analytic philosophy, so called, so called continental philosophy, and now thirdly pragmatism.
Okay. And my view is I personally now see myself working primarily in pragmatism or from a pragmatist point of view, chiefly Peirce, Charles Sanders Peirce, who I think was probably the greatest philosopher America ever produced. And I think he’s now being recognized increasingly in that way.
My notion is pragmatism has more options, and is in a way more open-ended than analytic philosophy, which has really shot itself in the foot, you might say, or continental philosophy, which has sort of become increasingly wild and problematic with figures like Heidegger, for example or Husserl, who I think is — I don’t know enough about Husserl’s personal life, but it seems to me — let me add a point on that, which Husserl’s special is.1
Dermot Moran, an Irish philosopher, in which he pretty well concedes that you have to read it carefully, because it’s pretty well admitted, that Husserl must have thought that the phenomenological ego that he talks about, must have been a lesser god. He’s talking about ordinary human beings, of course, but he treats the authentic phenomenological voice, so to say, as a kind of divine voice, which frankly was my opinion of Kant’s Critical message, which Husserl outflanks.2
It’s already clear that this is in Descartes’ idea of irrational reflection to discover what is true in the most certain way, for which he has only one sentence, cogito ergo sum, “I think, therefore I am” Famous sentence. The tradition from Plato through the medievals to Descartes to Kant to Husserl and Heidegger in a way is a kind of narrative of quasi-divine capacities, rationalism or intuitionism, capable of grasping the other reality of the real, which can’t be learned in any another way. In a certain sense, this is already in Parmenides, the first great thinker in the western tradition who says that the “divine remark” in the technical sense “divine”, in his great poem, Parmenides, he says, “What is’ is, and ‘what is not’ is not” and that’s all you can say.