chapter  2
38 Pages

Pragmatism as a Way of Inquiring With Special Reference to a Theory of Communication and the General Form of Pragmatic Social Theory

Pragmatism places communication at the center of human concerns. In 1916, John Dewey wrote, “Society not only continues to exist by transmission, by communication, but may be fairly said to exist in transmission, in communication” (1916/1944, p. 4). This chapter concerns inquiry and, for pragmatism, human inquiry is a communication process. It also discusses the ways that pragmatist ideas about inquiry can inform communication research, theory, and practice. Because of our long involvement with the tradition of pragmatism, we cannot easily sort out its most important aspects for us. We are reminded of a story set in the mythical town of Chelm, where all inhabitants are either crazy or fools.