Betsy Speicher

Tara Smith on Pragmatism

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Monday, December 8, 2008

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HOW AVERSION TO PRINCIPLE IS DESTROYING AMERICA

THE MENACE OF PRAGMATISM

Shouldn't we be pragmatic?

While Americans disagree vehemently about all manner of moral and political issues, beneath that disagreement rests the shared presumption that the way forward is always through moderation and compromise. In intellectual method—i.e., in our way of addressing problems and disagreements—Americans are united as pragmatists. Contrary to pragmatism’s image of reason and practical good sense, however, pragmatic methodology is actually self-destructive.

Dr. Tara Smith explains what pragmatism is and the countless ways it is manifested across the cultural spectrum. She analyzes the major elements of pragmatism’s appeal as well as its fundamental errors. Dr. Smith also surveys the vast damage that pragmatic methods inflict, damage that is spiritual as well as material. Finally, the lecture considers the most effective means of dethroning this pervasive—and destructive—mindset.

Location and Details:

Monday, December 8, 2008

National Press Club

529 14th Street NW

Washington, DC

Doors open: 6 PM

Lecture and Q & A: 6:30 PM

TARA SMITH is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, where she holds the BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism and is the University's Anthem Foundation Fellow. She is the author of Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist (2006), Viable Values: A Study of Life as the Root and Reward of Morality (2000), and Moral Rights and Political Freedom (1995), as well as numerous articles, primarily focused in moral, legal and political philosophy.

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