Shouldn’t we be pragmatic?

While Americans disagree vehemently about all manner of moral and political issues, beneath that disagreement rests the shared presumption that the way forward is always through moderation and compromise. In intellectual method–i.e., in our way of addressing problems and disagreements–Americans are united as pragmatists. Contrary to pragmatism’s image of reason and practical good sense, however, pragmatic methodology is actually self-destructive.

This talk explains what pragmatism is and the countless ways it is manifested across the cultural spectrum. It analyzes the major elements of pragmatism’s appeal as well as its fundamental errors. It also surveys the vast damage that pragmatic methods inflict, damage that is spiritual as well as material. Finally, the talk considers the most effective means of dethroning this pervasive–and destructive–mindset.

Tara Smith is a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas, where she currently holds the Anthem Foundation Fellowship for the Study of Objectivism. She is the author of the books “Moral Rights and Political Freedom,” “Viable Values: A Study of Life as the Root and Reward of Morality,” and “Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist,” as well as numerous articles.

Who: Dr. Tara Smith, professor of philosophy at the University of Texas and speaker for the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.

What: The Menace of Pragmatism: How Aversion to Principle Is Destroying America. A talk explaining the influence and the destructive nature of pragmatism in our culture. A Q&A will follow.

Where: National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, 13th floor, Washington, DC 20045.

When: Monday, December 8, 2008, at 6:30 pm.

Admission: FREE. The public and media are invited.

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