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The power of pragmatismKnowledge production and social inquiry$
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Jane Wills and Robert Lake

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526134943

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526134950

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The quest for uncertainty: Pragmatism between rationalism and sentimentality

The quest for uncertainty: Pragmatism between rationalism and sentimentality

(p.267) 14 The quest for uncertainty: Pragmatism between rationalism and sentimentality
The power of pragmatism

Robert W. Lake

Manchester University Press

This chapter concludes the edited collection published as The power of pragmatism. It takes us back to the ‘quest for certainty’ in knowledge production with which we opened the volume. The chapter makes the case for adopting a pragmatic orientation to embrace uncertainty as both unavoidable and potentially productive. Recognising the seductive temptations of certainty that appear to provide order, progress, authority and respect, the chapter advocates the a priori acceptance of contingency as an antidote to dogmatism. This requires a sceptical orientation towards all statements of truth and a very different approach to knowledge production. The contributors to this volume advance and illustrate the power of pragmatism as a mode of knowledge production in the social sciences.

Keywords:   pragmatism, knowledge production, certainty/uncertainty, contingency, John Dewey

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