Eugenics and pragmatism : F. C. S. Schiller's philosophical politics
Title: Eugenics and pragmatism : F. C. S. Schiller's philosophical politics
Author: SKODO, Admir
Citation: Modern intellectual history, 2017, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 661-687
ISSN: 1479-2443; 1479-2451
The British philosopher F. C. S. Schiller (1864–1937) was a leading pragmatist in the early twentieth century. His critiques of formal logic and his attempts to construct a humanist logic, derived from an anti-foundationalist humanism, are recognized as lasting philosophical achievements. But scholars have failed to consider that Schiller was passionately committed to the British eugenics movement. This essay explores the relationship between Schiller's pragmatism and his eugenicism. It argues that Schiller represents the broad scope of pragmatism in the early twentieth century through his involvements not only with eugenics, but also with psychical research as well. Underneath Schiller's various undertakings lies a common theme: the self, conceived in voluntaristic, historicist, and concrete terms. By tracing the trajectory of this theme in Schiller's thought, this essay demonstrates that Schiller's eugenicism was confined to the presuppositions of his pragmatist logic, which steered Schiller's eugenicism toward a distinctively nondeterministic and non-social-Darwinist kind.
Published online: 29 May 2015
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