Pragmatism and Prophecy: H. G. Wells and the Metaphysics of Socialism
American Political Science Review
Cambridge University Press
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Bell, D. (2018). Pragmatism and Prophecy: H. G. Wells and the Metaphysics of Socialism. American Political Science Review https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055417000508
Read throughout the world, H. G. Wells was one of the most famous political thinkers in the early twentieth century. During the early 1900s he elaborated a bold, idiosyncratic, and controversial cosmopolitan socialist vision. In this article I offer a new reading of Wells’s political thought. I argue that he developed a distinctive pragmatist philosophical orientation, which he synthesised with his commitments to evolutionary theory. His pragmatism had four main components: a nominalist metaphysics; a verificationist theory of truth; a Jamesian “will to believe”; and a vision of philosophy as an exercise oriented to improving practice. His political thought was shaped by this philosophical orientation. Wells, I contend, was the most high-profile pragmatist political thinker in the opening decades of the twentieth century. Such an understanding requires a re-evaluation of both Wells and the history of pragmatism.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055417000508
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/274941