Pragmatism on the Shoulders of Emerson: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.'s Jurisprudence as a Synthesis of Emerson, Peirce, James, and Dewey
The South Carolina Review, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2015
17 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2015
Date Written: 2015
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. turned forty in 1881. The publication of The Common Law that year afforded him the opportunity to express his jurisprudence to a wide audience. Over the next year, he would become a professor at Harvard Law School and then, a few months later, an associate justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Emerson died in 1882, and Holmes began to articulate Emersonian pragmatism in new ways more suited for the industrial, post-Civil War environment in which transcendentalism no longer held credence. This essay examines Holmes's adaptation of Emersonian pragmatism as a synthesis of some pragmatic theories of C.S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey.
Keywords: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Pragmatism, C.S. Peirce, William James, John Dewey
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