“To say that all these inquirers employ a common, shared ‘method of intelligence’ or ‘scientific method’ is just to say that they all proceed as best they can according to the practices that people so far have found most effective in solving the many different problems they face.” -John Stuhr, Pragmatic Fashions
“What great philosophers do for us is not to hand out such an all-purpose system. It is to light up and clarify some special aspect of life, to supply conceptual tools which will do a certain necessary kind of work. Wide though that area of work may be, it is never the whole, and all ideas lose their proper power when they are used out of their appropriate context. That is why one great philosopher does not necessarily displace another, why there is room for all of them and a great many more whom we do not have yet.” -Mary Midgley, The Myths We Live By
We deeply appreciate your readership and contributions this year, including essays, blog entries, podcast guest appearances, and many passionate conversations within the Erraticus community—especially on Twitter.
As an editorial team, we took a more selective approach in 2022 and were thrilled with the assortment of submissions we published.
It seems fitting that in a year replete with hardships for so many people, contributors concentrated so much on themes of hope and meliorism. Backdropped by the ongoing COVID pandemic, rising inflation, worsening climate catastrophes, and persistent human rights violations, members of the Erraticus community explored the intellectual justifications for hope—both the how and what for pragmatically minded thinkers.
This perseverance is well reflected in essays from this year’s Erraticus Award winners: Nick Gall’s “What Can Pragmatists Hope or in a Boundless World?” and Jon Alan Schmidt’s “Truth as Pragmatism’s Only Hope.”
Whether you lean more toward Gall’s tough-minded, postmodernist views on hope and knowledge or resonate stronger with Schmidt’s pragmaticist notion of idealized truth, it’s clear the sources of our hopes are plural and deeply personal. And they are, perhaps, best evaluated within the common ground of concrete experience. Here we can test for ourselves the fruitfulness of our ideas, relying more on the messiness of experimentation for ultimate judgment than upon the tidiness of abstract conversation.
In addition to these treatises on hope, we saw the conclusion of the inaugural season of Curiosity Manifold, with Derek Parson’s thoughtful anecdotes on the Lake Pontchartrain Bridge, the Black Labrador, the Texas Homecoming Mum, and the phrase “Congratulations,” to name a few.
Damn the Absolute! also returned with conversations about the metaphorical nature of scientific knowledge, the psychoanalytic roots of the American democracy crisis, and literature as an important but unsettling force for democratic cultures. More episodes are planned for the coming months, so stay tuned.
In 2023, we look forward to continued engagement with ideas we find both intellectually challenging and deeply relevant in our daily lives. Again, we appreciate you sharing with us in that endeavor.
Here’s to another year of practical inquiry in a spirit of aspirational humility we value so fiercely.
Consisting of the editors and leadership at Erraticus.