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The Things in Heaven and Earthdevelops and applies the American philosophical naturalist tradition of the mid-20th century, specifically the work of three of the most prominent figures of what is called Columbia Naturalism: John Dewey, John Herman Randall Jr., and Justus Buchler. The book argues for the philosophical value and usefulness of this underappreciated tradition for a number of contemporary theoretical and practical issues, such as the modernist/postmodernist divide and debates over philosophical constructivism. Pragmatic naturalism offers a distinctive ontology of constitutive relations. Relying on Buchler's ordinal ontology and on the relationality implicit in Dewey's instrumentalism, the book gives a detailed account of this approach in chapters that deal with issues in systematic ontology, epistemology, constructivism and objectivity, philosophical theology, art, democratic theory, foreign policy, education, humanism, and cosmopolitanism.
John Ryder is Professor of Philosophy and Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (United Arab Emirates). He is the author of Interpreting America: Russian and Soviet Studies of the History of American Thought and co-editor of The Blackwell Guide toAmerican Philosophy.