This paper is a reaction to an article by John Arras published earlier in this journal. In this article Arras argues that "freestanding pragmatism" has little new to offer to bioethics. We respond to some of Arras' arguments and conclude that, although he overstates his case at certain points, his critique is, broadly speaking, correct. We then introduce and discuss an alternative approach to pragmatist ethics, one which puts to work the ideas and insights of pragmatism conceived as a broad philosophical movement, without lapsing into a canon dependent approach. The approach we propose exhibits a number of characteristics that differ from Arras's account of freestanding pragmatism and offers something new to bioethics.