William James on Justice and the Sacredness of Individuality

In Susan Dieleman, David Rondel & Christopher Voparil (eds.), Pragmatism and Justice. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 309-323 (2017)

David Rondel
University of Nevada, Reno
In this chapter I introduce and defend the democratic individualism in William James’s thought. Drawing on the work of George Kateb and others, I show how what James calls the “democratic respect for the sacredness of individuality” can be understood in terms of four inter-related commitments: (1) A commitment to the principle that each person’s individuality counts equally; no one’s more or less than anyone else’s. (2) A commitment to the principle that each individual should be able to flourish, on his or her own terms, and to a set of social conditions that enable such flourishing. (3) A commitment to examine oneself for moral blind spots: for ways in which one might be oblivious to, and complicit in, the frustration of others’ individuality. (4) A commitment to “strenuously” revise one’s habits and behavior in light of the previous three commitments.
Keywords William James  Individualism  Justice  American Pragmatism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on Amazon.com
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,513
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

William James.Max Carl Otto (ed.) - 1942 - Madison, the University of Wisconsin Press.
William James.Graham Bird - 1986 - Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Mortality, Individuality, and Pluralism: William James's Democratic Religion.Sami Pihlström - 2005 - American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 26 (1/2):96 - 120.
Staging and the Imaginary Institution of the Judge.Arnaud Lucien - 2010 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 23 (2):185-206.
Ludwig Wittgenstein and William James.Jaime Nubiola - 2000 - Streams of William James 2 (3):2-4.
William James, l'Attitude Empiriste (William James, the Empiricist Stance) (Review).Mathias Girel - 2010 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 46 (3):503-508.


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes