William James at the boundaries: Philosophy, science, and the geography of knowledge (review)

Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (2):pp. 252-253 (2010)
This book is essential reading for all interpreters of William James. Too often they, myself included, sadly neglect the historical setting of his work. Bordogna's erudite and often brilliant scholarly forays in the history of science and intellectual history, which make effective use of concepts from the sociology of science and the history of disciplinarity, go a long way to compensate for this deficiency.This is a real book, and a bold one at that, because it has an exciting underlying thesis that runs throughout, everything being an illustration and deepening of it; however, the numerous formulations fluctuate between a weak and strong version. The following quotations present the weak thesis: James' "general philosophy, properly conducted, would facilitate new modes of social relationships and new ways of collaboration and communication among the diverse kind of inquirers. These new modes of engagement would bring together philosophers, psychologists, practitioners of the other sciences, and people with practical concerns, making them into a community that would engage in cross-disciplinary and cross-divisional discussion" ; "James located philosophers in interstitial knowledge spaces, and made philosophy … into a form of mediation between diverse modes of inquiry"
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DOI 10.1353/hph.0.0202
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