American Philosophy


What is American philosophy?

The term “American philosophy” most often refers to the school of pragmatism, which began in the late-nineteenth century. Pragmatism is internationally recognized to be a distinct form of philosophy, not only created by philosophers from the United States, but also reflective of American culture. There were, of course, intellectuals in the United States before the pragmatists, and some of their work was highly original, linked to distinct cultures: seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century political theorists, abolitionists, suffragists, evolutionists, Native American thinkers, American Hegelians, and New England transcendentalists.

Many American philosophers after the pragmatists have worked within analytic, empirical, continental, and postmodern traditions, as well as later forms of pragmatism. American philosophy, broadly understood as an intellectual aspect of culture, would include all of these fields. However, American philosophy, as systematic philosophy, traditionally understood, narrows the subject down.


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