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Peter Baumann offers the tantalizing suggestion that Thomas Reid is almost, but not quite, a pragmatist. He motivates this claim by posing a dilemma for common sense philosophy: Will it be dogmatism or scepticism? Baumann claims that Reid points to but does not embrace a pragmatist third way between these unsavory options. If we understand ‘pragmatism’ differently than Baumann does, however, we need not be so equivocal in attributing it to Reid. Reid makes what we could call an argument from practical commitment, and this is plausibly an instance of what William James calls the pragmatic method.


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This is the Author's Accepted Manuscript of a peer reviewed paper made available by Edinburgh University Press © 2004.

The published version appears here: Magnus, P.D. (2004). Reid’s Dilemma and the uses of Pragmatism. Journal of Scottish Philosophy, 2(1): 69–72. March 2004. Available at:

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