Empiricism, Pragmatism, and the Settlement Movement

The Pluralist 5 (3):73-88 (2010)
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This paper examines the settlement movement (a social reform movement during the Progressive Era, roughly 1890–1920) in order to illustrate what pragmatism is and is not. In 1906, Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch proposed an analysis of settlement house methods. Because of her emphasis on interpretation and action, and because of the nature of the settlement movement as a social reform effort with vitally important consequences for everyone involved, it might be thought that her analysis would be pragmatist in character. This paper shows that her analysis is empiricist, not pragmatist, and offers an alternative pragmatist sketch of settlement house methodology.
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