Neo-pragmatism: an ethical anticipatory system – Vodonick, 2007

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Neo-pragmatism: an ethical anticipatory system

Neo-pragmatism: an ethical anticipatory system

Springer
  • February 2007

Abstract

In 1906 and 1907 William James delivered a series of lectures in Boston and New York. Those lectures later were distilled into a paper entitled PRAGMATISM A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking. In 1972 Robert Rosen began to develop the model that resulted in the publication of his breakthrough work Anticipatory Systems. Seven years later, with the publication of Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature Richard Rorty began to develop the interpretation of Pragmatism, which has come to be known as neo-Pragmatism. The theory of anticipatory systems as articulated by Robert Rosen argues that the activity of anticipation occurs through the encoding of models of the future and so, a deciduous tree will lose its leaves upon the shortening of daylight—an environmentally neutral event—which is the precursor to winter. The tree anticipates (through the process of encoding its environmental cycle) the coming of winter and diverts sap, its lifeblood, underground to its roots and essentially hibernates during the cold time. Rosen shows that this quality of anticipation can be said to be the defining element of all life. Ethics are models that encode our values and operate upon the contingencies of the past in the adjudicatory function or the possible contingencies of the future in the heuristic function. Of all the mainstream ethical models pragmatism is the only approach that expressly acknowledges that the results of our decisions may either conflict with or harmonize with our values. The form of pragmatism known as neo-pragmatism looks to the communicative justification of our past or future actions in relationship to our values to determine whether they are good or bad. In this sense neo-pragmatism constitutes moral anticipation, as much encoded in human society as the dropping of leaves is encoded in a deciduous tree

source:

Neo-pragmatism: an ethical anticipatory system