“Justice as an Evolving Regulative Ideal”

Journal article published in Pragmatism Today, Volume 6, Issue 2 (2015): 105-116.

Photo of the top of my paper, which links to the PDF file on the journal's Web site.

Logo for Pragmatism Today.I’m happy to announced that my latest paper, as of December 2015, has been published in Pragmatism Today, the peer-reviewed journal of the Central-European Pragmatist Forum. This paper is a step in the larger project of my book in progress, A Culture of Justice.


Title: “Justice as an Evolving Regulative Ideal.”


In this paper, I argue that justice is best understood as an evolving regulative ideal. This framework avoids cynicism and apathy on the one hand as well as brash extremism on the other. I begin by highlighting the elusive quality of justice as an ideal always on the horizon, yet which is nevertheless meaningful. Next, I explain the ways in which it makes more sense to see justice as evolving, rather than as fixed. Finally, I demonstrate the value of Charles Sanders Peirce’s concept of a regulative ideal for framing a pragmatist outlook on justice. Peirce helps us at the same time to appreciate ideals yet to let go of outmoded understandings of their metaphysical status. Ideals are thus tools for regulating behavior. Each of these qualifications demonstrates that justice is best conceived of as an evolving regulative ideal.

“Converging on Culture”

Rorty, Rawls, and Dewey on Culture’s Role in Justice

Cover photo for the journal, Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism.This piece, published in 2014, represents an important early step in a book project in progress, titled A Culture of Justice.


In this essay, I review the writings of three philosophers whose work con-verges on the insight that we must attend to and reconstruct culture for the sake of justice. John Rawls, John Dewey, and Richard Rorty help show some of the ways in  which culture can enable or undermine the pursuit of justice. They also offer resources for identifying tools for addressing the cultural impediments to justice. I reveal insights and challenges in Rawls’s philosophy as well as tools and solutions for building on and addressing them in Dewey’sand Rorty’s philosophy.

Read the paper on Academia.edu


Weber, Eric Thomas. “Converging on Culture: Rorty, Rawls, and Dewey on Culture’s Role in Justice.” Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism 22, Issue 2 (2014): 231-261.

The logo of the Philosophy Born of Struggle association.Presentation “On Culture and Self-Respect”

2013 Philosophy Born of Struggle conference, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

This is the video of a short talk I gave at the 2013 Philosophy Born of Struggle conference at Purdue University in West LaFayette, IN. The talk is called “On Culture and Self-Respect,” and it represents an early stage in the development of my book in progress, called A Culture of Justice. I got some invaluable feedback at that conference that has helped to sharpen my thesis for this paper and for the book.

If you’re interested in having me come speak with your group, visit my Speaking page.

“Lessons from America’s Public Philosopher”

Cover of the Journal of Speculative Philosophy.This piece is the culmination of years of researching and thinking about public philosophy. If you know me, you know that “America’s Public Philosopher” was John Dewey. Elements of this piece will show up in my introduction for a collection of Dewey’s public writings that I am finishing up.


This article argues for a definition of public philosophy inspired by John Dewey’s understanding of the “supreme intellectual obligation.” The first section examines five strong reasons why more public philosophy is needed and why the growing movement in public philosophy should be encouraged. The second section begins with a review of common understandings of public philosophy as well as some initial challenges that call for widening our conception of the practice. Then, it applies Dewey’s argument in “The Supreme Intellectual Obligation” to public philosophy, which must not be seen simply as a one-way street from intellectuals to the masses but, rather, as the task of fostering the scientific attitude and intellectual habits of mind in all citizens.

Read the paper on Academia.edu


Weber, Eric Thomas. “Lessons from America’s Public Philosopher.” The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, no. 1 (2015): 118-135.