The ethics of energy: William James's moral philosophy in focus (review)

Although William James wrote little directly on ethics, commentators have increasingly recognized that a central current—perhaps even the main underlying orientation—of his philosophical work is ethical. The famous 1891 essay, "The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life,"1 is thus only the tip of an iceberg. It is his only article explicitly dealing with moral philosophy; yet, arguably, ethical considerations are built into the fabric of his pragmatism, especially its leading idea that theories and worldviews ought to be examined in terms of their practical relevance in human life. In a diary entry in 1870 (quoted in the book under review, 49), James asked: "Shall I frankly throw the moral business overboard, as one ..
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