Neo-Pragmatist Planning Theory

Authored by: Charles Hoch

The Routledge Handbook of Planning Theory

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138905016
eBook ISBN: 9781315696072
Adobe ISBN:


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Pragmatism has a popular cultural meaning that often generates misleading interpretations. The pragmatist lacks principles and integrity, believing that the ends justify the means. The pragmatist shaves corners and clips wings to keep moral problems within reach and so shirks moral accomplishment. These distortions honor the pragmatist focus on practical consequences and the provisional quality of human purpose. However, they ignore the pragmatist commitment to collaborative inquiry that uses inclusive and intelligent problem solving to advance social learning. The common sense appeal of the pragmatist approach can open the door to cynical manipulation and caricature. But the pragmatist approach also offers an especially attractive theoretical framework for urban planning because it focuses explicitly on human judgment as purposeful, anticipatory and future oriented.

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