Actions in the affirmative : pragmatism, pedagogy, law, and the affirmative action debate

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Katie Rose Guest (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Hephzibah Roskelly

Abstract: "With this project, I would like to reconstruct pragmatism as a valid way of looking at legal problems and of solving them, in particular, the current legal debate over race-conscious admissions policies at state universities. Throughout this project, I will develop a working notion of pragmatism for twenty-first century legal theory and practice. Through constant application of pragmatic ideas to the concrete issues of affirmative action and race-conscious admissions policies, I will show that pragmatism is a means- to craft a more just legal system, and as a result, a more just society. In this project I will use the ideas of the some of the most important classical pragmatists: Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, John Dewey, and Jane Addams. The work of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes is also important to this project although Holmes shunned the appellation "pragmatist." The lives of all five thinkers form a web of interrelated relationships and thought. Peirce, James, and Holmes developed relationships through their intellectual lives in Boston. For a time, Dewey was a student at Johns Hopkins University while Peirce was a lecturer there. James and Dewey were intellectual compatriots in the area of psychology and philosophy. Dewey and Addams, both eventual residents of Chicago, developed a friendship and philosophical relationship. Their community of thought embodies the pragmatic notion that discovery and learning are communal processes. Pragmatism suggests that the more perspectives we gather, the closer we can come to a valuable truth. The law as it stands in practice deliberately excludes a majority of voices from consideration. Like the courtroom, a classroom is a focal point of authority; too often the voices of those who are perceived as outsiders are excluded from places of learning. The most valuable contribution that pragmatism can make to both legal theory and pedagogy is the insistence that legal insiders and educators insure that all perspectives be given voice. The Supreme Court decision Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) promises "diversity," but it is up to each of us to see the promise through."--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
reconstruct, pragmatism, legal, problem, debate, race-conscious, admissions policies, state universities
Affirmative action programs in education--United States
Discrimination in higher education--United States

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