William James had the courage to experience the collision of European and American ways of thinking head on, and to emerge from it with a new philosophy - one displaying a remarkable vitality for dealing with the transformative issues at the core of the human condition. This easy to read introduction to his life and work explains why James' work is overwhelmingly valuable to us today in getting to grips with the spiritual dimension of human experience.
The Essential William James covers the primary topics for which James is still closely studied: the nature of experience, the functions of the mind, the criteria for knowledge, the definition of “truth,” the ethical life, and the religious life. His notable terms, still resonating in their respective fields, are all covered here, from “stream of consciousness” and “pure experience” to the “will to believe,” the “cash-value of truth,” and the distinction between the religiously “healthy soul” and the “sick (...) soul.” This volume’s eighteen selections receive the bulk of the attention and citation from scholars, provide excellent coverage of core topics, and have a broad appeal across many academic disciplines. (shrink)
In his introduction to this collection, John representative. McDermott presents James's thinking in all its manifestations, stressing the importance of radical empiricism and placing into perspective the doctrines of pragmatism and the will to believe. The critical periods of James's life are highlighted to illuminate the development of his philosophical and psychological thought. The anthology features representive selections from The Principles of Psychology, The Will to Believe , and The Variety of Religious Experience in addition to the complete (...) Essays in Radical Empiricism and A Pluralistic Universe . The original 1907 edition of Pragmatism is included, as well as classic selections from all of James's other major works. Of particular significance for James scholarship is the supplemented version of Ralph Barton Perry's Annotated Bibliography of the Writings of William James , with additions bringing it up to 1976. (shrink)
The possibility of achieving ectogenesis, or the growing of a human fetus to term in an artificial womb, is approaching reality as a result of advances in treatment of premature newborns and in in vitro fertilization techniques. In their 1984 book, The Reproductive Revolution, issued in North America as Making Babies, Peter Singer and Deane Wells offered several arguments for ectogenesis. James examines their arguments and rejects two of them, that ectogenesis offers a less problematic alternative to surrogate motherhood, (...) and that ectogenesis could make it possible to reconcile fetal rights with the right to abortion on demand. He grants Singer and Wells' argument that the childless have a claim to state support of their desire to nurture, but contends that government-supported ectogenesis should still be rejected because the adoption of unwanted children is a preferable alternative to the use of an exotic, expensive, and still unproven technology. (shrink)
When William James spoke about belief to the philosophy clubs of Yale and Brown in 1896, he forewarned his audience of the nature of his comments by describing them as a “sermon on justification by faith” (James 13), titling the talk “The Will to Believe.” Although there is disagreement about the substance of James’s remarks, it is fairly innocuous to assert that James thought they were appropriate because of the prevalence of the “logical spirit” of many (...) of those who practiced academic philosophy that led them to the conclusion that religious faith was untenable. Aware of his audience, James presents his view on the permissibility of religious faith on the terms and grounds familiar to professional philosophers. .. (shrink)
The article examines the claim made by earlier interpreters of Fichte's political thought, such as Marianne Weber and Xavier Léon, that it contains a number of striking parallels with some of the main ideas associated with the French revolutionary communist Gracchus Babeuf. It is argued that once we understand what it means for Fichte to 'apply' the concept of right (Recht), and how this application relates in particular to his views on property, there appears to be some substance to Weber's (...) and Léon's claims. This in turn speaks against a more recent tendency to locate Fichte's political thought in the liberal tradition; a tendency which the author shows does not pay sufficient attention to Fichte's ideas concerning the need to apply the concept of right and how this leads him to develop the economic proposals found in The Closed Commercial State, which contain a number of parallels with some of the doctrines attributed to Babeuf. The author does, however, point to some fundamental differences between Fichte's social and political thought and some of the main ideas associated with the revolutionary movement known as Babouvism. Yet these differences again speak against a liberal interpretation of Fichte's social and political thought. (shrink)
compare Kant's position on the issue as to whether there exists a right of rebellion with the position that can be attributed to Hegel on this issue. I argue that while Kant must concede that such a right exists when the state no longer respects what he calls the universal law of right. Hegel offers us grounds for thinking that a right of rebellion may exist even when the state has achieved the form of a Kantian Rechtstaat. I appeal to (...) Hegel's understanding of right as the concrete expression of the general will and his account of poverty in order to establish this conclusion. (shrink)
Noted psychologist and philosopher develops his own brand of pragmatism, based on theories of C. S. Peirce. Emphasis on "radical empiricism," versus the transcendental and rationalist tradition. One of the most important books in American philosophy. Note.
The status of the body figures paradoxically in the interrelated discourses of whiteness, aesthetic taste, and hipness. While Richard Dyer’s analysis of whiteness argues that white identity is “in but not of the body,” Carolyn Korsmeyer’s and Julia Kristeva’s feminist analyses of aesthetic “taste” demonstrate that this faculty is traditionally conceived as something “of” but not “in” the body. While taste directly distances whiteness from embodiment, hipness negatively affirms this same distance: the hipster proves his elite status within white culture (...) by positioning himself as, in the words of James Chance’s song title, “Almost Black.” The notion of hip contributes to my analysis of taste by focusing on both the gender politics of white embodiment, and how, by taking the social body as object of the prepositions “in” and “of,” these discourses of taste and hipness produce individual bodies as white, and maintain Whiteness as a socio-political norm. (shrink)
In response to the claim that Kierkegaard's highly compressed definition of the self, given near the beginning of The Sickness unto Death, should be understood in Hegelian terms, I show that it can be better understood in terms of an earlier development in the history of German idealism, namely, Fichte's theory of self-consciousness. The notion that the self ?posits? itself found in this theory will be used to explain Kierkegaard's definition of the self, including his rejection of the idea that (...) the self posits itself absolutely. I go on to show how this conception of the self relates to certain features of the concept of despair described in The Sickness unto Death. This in turn allows me to indicate some implications of this conception of the self in relation to Kierkegaard's attitude towards the social and political forces shaping the modern world. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Fichte's theory of property; 2. Applying the concept of right: Fichte and Babeuf; 3. Fichte's reappraisal of Kant's theory of cosmopolitan right; 4. The relation of right to morality in Fichte's Jena theory of the state and society; 5. The role of virtue in the Addresses to the German Nation.
: I explore Rousseau's account of the problem of dependence by means of an analysis of the distinction he makes between dependence on things and dependence on men. With reference to his Second Discourse, I argue that dependence on things alone exists only in the case of primitive man in the earliest stages of the state of nature, while dependence on men is more properly to be understood as dependence on other human beings as mediated by dependence on things. I (...) go on to argue that in the light of Rousseau's account of dependence and his description in the Second Discourse of a spontaneous dependence and inequality generating process, there is a significant problem with his solution to the problem of dependence on other human beings proposed in the Social Contract. This problem can be understood in terms of the relation of the idea of will to that of necessity, and I suggest that Rousseau was himself aware of it. (shrink)
Introduction -- The symbolic form of art -- Kant's theory of the mathematical sublime and the boundlessness of the symbolic form of art -- The classical sublimity of Judaism -- The classical form of art -- The original epic -- The ideal -- The transition to the revealed religion and the romantic form of art -- The revealed religion -- Representational thought and the romantic form of art -- Traces of left-hegelianism in Hegel's lectures on aesthetics -- The end of (...) mythology -- The significance of Kierkegaard's interpretation of Don Giovanni in relation to Hegel's theory of the end of art -- The end of art -- The opera as a modern art form -- Hegel and Lukács's on the possibility of a modern epic -- The problem of a modern epic -- The modern epic and history -- Civil society as the background to the modern epic -- Myth and society : a common theme in the thought of Hegel and Sorel -- Sorel's myth of the general strike -- Myth and modern ethical life. (shrink)
What is an emotion? -- The dilemma of determinism -- The perception of reality -- The hidden self -- Habit -- The will -- The gospel of relaxation -- On a certain blindness in human beings -- What makes a life significant -- Philosophical conceptions and practical results -- The Philippine tangle -- The sick soul -- The Ph. D. octopus -- Does "consciousness" exist? -- The energies of men -- Concerning Fechner -- The moral equivalent of war.
It is claimed that Hegel denies the possibility of a modern epic and that his lectures on aesthetics demand the condemnation of all the art of his own time. I use the available student transcripts of his lectures on aesthetics, in conjunction with Lukács's views on the novel, to show that Hegel suggests that the novel might count as a modern epic and that it may perform a significant function in modern ethical life (Sittlichkeit) as presented in his own philosophy (...) of right. While Hegel raises questions concerning the possibility of a modern epic, he also presents the novel with a task that Lukács's interpretation of Balzac's Illusions perdues shows the novel is able to fulfill. This becomes evident when we consider Hegel's remarks on the novel in connection with his theory of civil society. (shrink)
Abstract Carl Schmitt distinguishes between political theories in terms of whether they rest on the anthropological assumption that man is evil by nature or on the anthropological assumption that man is good by nature, and he claims that liberal political theory is based on the latter assumption. Contrary to this claim, I show how Kant's liberalism is shaped by his theory of the radical evil in human nature, and that his liberalism corresponds to the characterization of liberalism that Schmitt himself (...) offers. My discussion of this issue will be shown to have certain implications with respect to the view that for Kant evil is the product of society. I show that this view is mistaken insofar as it fails to recognize that Kant's political philosophy implies that human beings require the type of society that best suits their radically evil natures, namely, a commercial one in which the ?vices of culture? largely have free play, while the state's role is limited to that of preventing the antagonisms found in society leading to the mutual destruction of its members. (shrink)
Fichte's definitions of property appear to diverge from modern common linguistic usage, especially his identification of leisure as the object of an absolute right of property, and they may even appear arbitrary. I argue that these definitions are not in fact arbitrary. Rather, any divergence from common linguistic usage can be explained in terms of a conceptual innovation which consists in expanding or modifying a concept by thinking it through, thereby generating new content. In the case of Fichte's theory of (...) property, this content turns out to be leisure as the primary object of a theory of distributive justice. The conceptual innovation found in Fichte's theory of property invites a reconceptualization of the relation between work and freedom. (shrink)
I relate the aesthetic mediation of reason and the identity of religion and mythology found in the Earliest System-Programme of German Idealism to Hegel’s account of the transition from the ancient Greek religion of art to the revealed religion (Christianity) in his theory ofabsolute spirit. While this transition turns on the idea that the revealed religion mediates reason more adequately in virtue of its form (i. e., representational thought), I argue that Hegel’s account of the limitations of religious representational thought, (...) when taken in conjunction with some of his ideas concerning Romantic art, suggests that he fails to demonstrate the necessity of the transition in question, thus undermining the triadic structure (i. e., art, religion, philosophy) of his theory of absolute spirit.Dans cet article, jelais un lien entre, d’une part, la médiation esthétique de la raison et l’identite de la religion et de la mythologie formulées dans le premier programme systématique de l’idéalisme allemand et, d’autre part, le récit que fait Hegel de la transition menant de la religion grecque antique de l’art à la religion révélée (la chrétienté) dans sa théorie de l’Esprit absolu. Bien que cette transition repose sur l’idée que la religion révélée médiatise la raison plus adéquatement grâce à sa forme (la pensée représentationnelle) , je soutiens que, si on considère parallèlement à ses idées sur l’art romantique les explications que donne Hegel au sujet des limitations de la pensée représentationnelle religieuse, ces explications laissent apercevoir qu’il échoue à démontrer la nécessité de la transition en question, ce qui a pour effet de faire s’effondrer la structure ternaire art, religion, philosophie de sa théorie de l’Esprit absolu. (shrink)
This paper is a comprehensive examination of the ethical issues surrounding artificial insemination. The interests of parents, AI children and society are identified and compared, and a variety of arguments for and against AIH and AID are examined. Although various criticisms of the natural law position are offered, this paper comes to the similar conclusion that donor artiricial insemination is not morally justified.
In his early Some Lectures concerning the Scholar’s Vocation, J. G. Fichte developed an account of the social role of the scholar. This role concerns the task of furthering human culture and progress, which Fichte considers to be a moral duty for the scholar. In these lectures, Fichte also outlined the capabilities and knowledge that the scholar needs in order to be able to fulfill the task in question, including the possession of historical knowledge. The article argues that the later (...) Addresses to the German Nation represent an attempt on Fichte’s part to realize his earlier conception of the scholar’s vocation, because these addresses aim to help usher in a new, superior epoch in human history. Particular attention is paid to the use that Fichte makes of history in them. In effect, he instrumentalizes history, and justifies his doing this in terms of a higher purpose and the ‘merely’ empirical status of historical fact and evidence. This use of history is compared to some things that Nietzsche has to say about history in his essay On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life; and it invites questions concerning the possible dangers of such a use of history and its compatibility with Fichte’s idea that the vocation of the scholar is a moral one. (shrink)