The Pragmatist Imagination: Thinking About Things in the Making

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What would it mean today to think or to imagine, to design or to construct, in relation not to “things made” but to “things in the making”? This question, first posed by the philosopher William James, was the point of departure for The Pragmatist Imagination. The volume brings together position statements, theoretical speculations, and critical commentary by thirty-three leading thinkers and makers from over a dozen disciplines. Based on the proceedings of an workshop held at Columbia University in spring 2000 under the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, the contributions traverse a set of questions about the future that range from the relationship between art and experience to the impact of new technologies on human consciousness, from transformations in everyday life to problems of public space, and from the destiny of the nation-state to emergent forms of transnationalism.

With an introduction by John Rajchman and an afterword by Casey Nelson Blake, essay contributors include Stanley Aronowitz, Marshall Berman, Casey Nelson Blake, Sandra Buckley, Teresa Caldeira, Jean-Louis Cohen, Jonathan Crary, Rosalyn Deutsche, Kenneth Frampton, Gerald E. Frug, Peter Galison, Elizabeth Grosz, Andreas Huyssen, Isaac Joseph, David Lapoujade, Reinhold Martin, Brian Massumi, Mary McLeod, Paul Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky, Chantal Mouffe, Joan Ockman, John Rajchman, Martha Rosler, Hashim Sarkis, Saskia Sassen, Sandhya Shukla, Richard Shusterman, Abdoumaliq Simone, Anders Stephanson, Bernard Tschumi, Nadia Urbinati, Mabel Wilson, and Gwendolyn Wright.