ABSTRACT

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book suggests that a new form of sociological humanism can and should be strategically revived. It intends to contribute towards correcting this oversight, in particular by emphasising pragmatism's ability to provide a de-Cartesianised, anti-metaphysical humanism that responds well to many of the most common critiques put forward by antihumanists in recent years. The pragmatic character of this book's arguments means that it very consciously ignores what is sees as misguided philosophical debates over humanism's essential validity. The aims are in spirit congruent with Simpson's arguments, and in particular with his characteristically pragmatic conception of humanism's contingent cultural role. The book therefore proposes going beyond an exclusive sociological concern with the past and present, to refocus attention upon alternative visions of possible social futures.