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Lucia Guerra Menendez
Stanley L. Jaki
Pragmatism Then and Now


As a formalized philosophy, pragmatism gained academic status almost exactly a hundred years ago with the publication of Pragmatism by William James (1842-1910). He proposed that the criterion of truth should be a compromise between the objectively given and personally desired. Partly because William James failed to do justice to the objectively given, his basic contention has gained ever wider acceptance in the academic world as well as in the societal arena, where truth is often measure by opinion polls. Unforeseen by William James, the compromise advocated by him kept shifting from a balance between the objectively given and the personally desired toward the radical preponderance of subjective preferences. William James would have been much taken aback by certain forms of this development, shocking examples of which will be provided by the joint author Lucia Guerra Menendez, from the realm of bioethics and especially from bioethical legislations on both sides of the Atlantic. Revolting forms of the “personally desired” are now given full legal protection by a heedless invocation of the privacy clause.

Lucia Guerra Menendez is a Lecturer on Human Physiology at the School of Medicine of the University of San Pablo CEU (Madrid).  She served as Lecturer on Human Genetics at the Institute Angel Ayala, San Pablo CEU (2005-06).  She holds Licentiate in Pharmacology (2004) and an MBA (2005) from IEB (Madrid).  She has made oral presentations at scientific conferences in Philadelphia, Toulouse, and Madrid.  She also supervised the translation of the book The Ethical Foundations of Bioethics by Prof. Stanley L. Jaki, winner of the Templeton Prize in 1987.  In 2007, she obtained a DEA (Diploma of Advanced Studies, or the equivalent to an MA in Bioethics and Biomedical Legislation, UNESCO).  She is the joint author, with Prof. Julio Gonzalo, (Universita Autonoma Madrid), of the article “Science and Energy Politics,” in Nuntium   (Roma), February 2007.

Stanley L. Jaki, a Hungarian-born Catholic priest of the Benedictine Order, is Distinguished University Professor, at Seton Hall University, South Orange, N J, USA.  He has doctorates in physics and in theology.  For most of the last fifty years, he has specialized in the history and philosophy of physics and astronomy, including their relation to theology.  The author of more than fifty books, he had served as Gifford Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh (1974-76), and as Fremantle Lecturer at Balliol College (Oxford) 1977.  He is membre correspondant de l’Academie des sciences, des arts et des belles lettres de Bordeaux, honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Science, and a recipient of the Lecomte du Nouy Prize for1969 and of the Templeton Prize for 1987.  His full list of publications (up to 2002 with over 500 entries) can be found in his intellectual autobiography, A Mind’s Matter.  His website is


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