Marymount Professor to Give Public Talk on Philosophy of Pragmatism

Dr. Carl Sachs will give a free talk that’s open to the public on “The Problem of Individuals and Communities: Pragmatism from Peirce to Present.” It will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 30 in the Lee Reception Room of Marymount University’s Reinsch Library.

“It will be an overview on Pragmatism, the school of philosophy I work in, but for a general academic audience,” said Sachs, an assistant professor at Marymount.

An underlying premise of Pragmatism, he said, is that science gives us reliable knowledge of reality because it’s a communal activity. He cited a simple example.

“How do you know you’re not hallucinating?” Sachs said. “You ask other people if they see the same thing. A more complex example would be the importance of peer review in science.”

Dr. Michael Boylan, chair of Marymount’s Philosophy Department, said Charles Sanders Peirce, the founder of this school of philosophy, was probably the first prominent American philosopher to be recognized internationally.

“Our department is now doing an annual talk, and we’re happy to feature Dr. Sachs, the newest member of our faculty,” Boylan said, adding that a followup session will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 in the lower conference room in Ireton Hall.

In addition to philosophy majors and minors, Boylan said the talk should draw a wide audience, including those interested in history and politics. Sachs stressed that undergraduates are welcome to attend and participate in the question and answer session that will follow.

Sachs earned his bachelor of arts degree in biology at Oberlin College and his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California at San Diego. He is the author of the book “Intentionality and the Myths of the Given” and is a co-founder of the Wilfrid Sellars Society.

Photo caption:

Dr. Carl Sachs
photo by Maureen Eckert