Segments in this Video

Introduction: C. S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey (02:59)


Author Bryan Magee says American philosophy has gained international importance in the 20th century with C.S. Peirce, William James and John Dewey, the American Pragmatists. Magee gives short biographies of the philosopher.

C.S. Peirce (08:18)

Magee talks with Columbia professor Sidney Morgenbesser about C.S. Peirce, his theory of meaning, his clarification of terms, the methods for inquiry and self-correcting process.

Fallibilism (04:11)

Morgenbesser discusses the concept of fallibilism associated with C.S. Peirce. He said that scientific theories are not absolute and can be replaced. Morgenbesser discusses Peirce's Categories or "Predicaments.'

William James (02:47)

Magee and Morgenbesser discuss William James' book "Pragmatism" and his criticism of traditional metaphysical philosophies as not based on the evidence, but on one's internal bias.

William James's Book "Pragmatism" (04:52)

Morgenbesser discusses James' approach to knowledge, conceptual schemes and truth, themes central to his book, "Pragmatism." Morgenbesser talks about James' use of satisfaction for verification purposes.

Praise for William James and C.S. Peirce (02:45)

Magee praises William James' prose style and notes Peirce's reputation as the greatest intellect of the Americas. Morgenstein cites James' "Principles of Psychology" as a classic. He notes James' approach to the mind.

John Dewey (03:48)

Bryan Magee summarizes the discussion up to this point. John Dewey recognized the success of science in acquiring knowledge. He applied the scientific method and cooperative research to the social sciences.

Warranted Beliefs (04:22)

Morgenbesser discusses Dewey's concepts on the justification of science, and a warranted outcome for inquiry. Magee notes Dewey's rejection of the spectator view of knowledge rather than as an agent.

Dewey's Theory of Knowledge (03:26)

Morganbesser discusses Dewey's anthropological approach to his theory of knowledge. Dewey believed the aim of knowledge was to get warranted beliefs through inquiry. Magee adds Dewey's impact on institutions, especially education.

Dewey's Theory of Education (03:18)

Morgenbesser and Magee discuss Dewey's ideas on institutions, psychological ideas of effort, emotion and discipline as related to Dewey's Theory of Education.

Credits: The American Pragmatists: C. S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey (7291) (00:49)

Credits: The American Pragmatists: C. S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey (7291)

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

The American Pragmatists: C. S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey

Part of the Series : Great Philosophers
DVD Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



In this program, world-renowned author and professor Bryan Magee and Columbia University professor Sidney Morgenbesser discuss the nuances of pragmatic philosophy as expressed by three of America’s finest thinkers. Morgenbesser examines Peirce’s theory of meaning and the concept of fallibilism that supports the changing nature of truth. James’s concept of meaning, knowledge, and truth is examined within the context of the usefulness of particular conceptual schemes. The discussion of Dewey focuses on the human quest for warranted beliefs, and his philosophy of education—a bottom-up approach that bases instruction on a child’s real problems and experiences. A BBC Production. Part of the series Great Philosophers. (43 minutes)

Length: 43 minutes

Item#: BVL7291

ISBN: 978-1-4213-8726-0

Copyright date: ©1987

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

Recommended by the Peirce Project Newsletter.

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.