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Recovering Integrity

Moral Thought in American Pragmatism

Stuart Rosenbaum

The world of moral theory finds no place for the idea of integrity. The natural intellectual home of the idea of integrity is the American pragmatist tradition. Pragmatism makes possible an account of integrity that enables it to become philosophically central in thinking about morality. The idea of integrity enables what Dewey called a working theory of morality. Other intellectual traditions, including those most prominent in the academic world of moral philosophy, ignore integrity because of its imprecision and its inability to deliver precise answers to questions about what is right or wrong, good or bad.

Recovering Integrity: Moral Thought in American Pragmatism explains how integrity can and should become central in philosophical thought about morality. Only within the intellectual tradition of American pragmatism may integrity achieve the intellectual stature it deserves as the central idea in ordinary moral thought.

The ideas of morally diverse communities are unified to a remarkable extent when seen through the moral lens of integrity. Diverse communities having diverse ways of life share similar understandings of morality; these similarities are important for understanding what morality fundamentally is in the human world. Philosophical efforts to explain the nature of morality or the nature of right action or the nature of the good founder on their ignorance of moral diversity in the real worlds of human history and culture.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 182Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/4
978-1-4985-1020-2 • Hardback • August 2015 • $80.00 • (£52.95)
978-1-4985-1021-9 • eBook • August 2015 • $76.00 • (£49.95)
Stuart Rosenbaum is professor of philosophy at Baylor University.
Chapter One: Cases and Integrity
Chapter Two: Integrity and Pragmatism
Chapter Three: Relativism?
Chapter Four: Intellectual Integrity
Chapter Five: Personal Integrity
Chapter Six: Integrity and Environment
Chapter Seven: Integrity and Reality
Rosenbaum makes a powerful case for a distinctively pragmatic moral perspective that provides a natural fit for the sort of pluralist, democratic, social world many of us associate with America at her best.
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Rosenbaum has succeeded admirably in balancing a pragmatist conception of the fluidity and diversity of the constituents of selfhood, with his often brilliant insights on how integrity brings a level of cohesiveness to one’s character and choices. This is a wide-ranging, learned, provocative and very original book, which will be of great interest to many.
Guy Axtell, Radford University

This is one of those rare philosophy texts that is modest and accurate, and yet hard to put down. Its novel presentation of the moral meanings of pragmatism suggests new resolutions to the old perplexities; its unpredictable tactics against pragmatism’s powerful detractors unfold like an adventure.
William Dean, professor emeritus, Iliff School of Theology

In Stuart Rosenbaum’s view, pragmatism resists the Platonist desire to 'get things right'; resists ‘agendas of justification’; and resists dwelling on conceptual ‘necessities’ and ‘niceties.’ Deepening and extending aspects of his previous book, Pragmatism and the Reflective Life, Rosenbaum now uses his distinctive view of pragmatism to focus attention on what integrity, in Dewey’s phrase, ‘exists as.’ The result is a work of philosophical and cultural significance, one energized by decidedly provocative reflections on integrity…and on the integrity of pragmatism itself.
Victor Kestenbaum, Boston University

What does it take to have integrity? How does quality bind together individual, community, and the wider environment? Combining familiar and engaging examples with ideas from the pragmatist tradition, Rosenbaum’s Recovering Integrity offers real answers and genuine wisdom.
David Hildebrand, University of Colorado Denver