Pragmatism and Tragedy, Communication and Hope: A Summary Story
This chapter tells a certain story of American pragmatism and communication. It is one narrative among an infinite number that might be told (cf. Jacobson, chap. 11, this volume). To employ MacIntyre’s (1977) wording, it is an “argumentative retelling” and, as such, “will itself be in conflict with other argumentative retellings” (p. 461). Thus, as Bernstein (1995) noted about his story of pragmatism, my story of pragmatism and communication might be judged as better or worse than other competing stories based on the story’s usefulness (a self-evident point given the topic of the narrative). I try then to make this a useful argumentative retelling-one that might help make sense of where a tradition has been and where it might be headed. This chapter is neither as careful nor as sweeping as Simonson’s smart opening chapter (chap. 1, this volume). Our tasks, I think, are different. As a conclusion, my chapter must circumscribe; as an introduction, Simonson’s could not constrain. After all, introductions open, whereas conclusions close. Thus, I try to weave the other chapters in this volume into my story so that the narrative might also serve as an acceptable, if unconventional, summary chapter.