Authors
Alexander Klein
McMaster University
Abstract
As Thomas Uebel has recently argued, some early logical positivists saw American pragmatism as a kindred form of scientific philosophy. They associated pragmatism with William James, whom they rightly saw as allied with Ernst Mach. But what apparently blocked sympathetic positivists from pursuing commonalities with American pragmatism was the concern that James advocated some form of psychologism, a view they thought could not do justice to the a priori. This paper argues that positivists were wrong to read James as offering a psychologistic account of the a priori. They had encountered James by reading Pragmatism as translated by the unabashedly psychologistic Wilhelm Jerusalem. But in more technical works, James had actually developed a form of conventionalism that anticipated the so-called “relativized” a priori positivists themselves would independently develop. While positivists arrived at conventionalism largely through reflection on the exact sciences, though, James’s account of the a priori grew from his reflections on the biological evolution of cognition, particularly in the context of his Darwin-inspired critique of Herbert Spencer.
Keywords William James  Psychologism  Logical Positivism  A Priori
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.15173/jhap.v4i5.2945
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

The American Pragmatists.Cheryl Misak - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
Space, Time, and Spacetime.Lawrence Sklar - 1974 - University of California Press.

View all 39 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Pragmatisms and Logical Empiricisms: Response to Misak and Klein.Thomas Uebel - 2016 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 4 (5).
Novelty and Causality in William James’s Pluralistic Universe.Michela Bella - 2019 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 11 (2).
Psychologism and the Self.Vincente Sanfelix Vidarte - 2017 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 9 (1).
Kidnapping an Ugly Child: Is William James a Pragmaticist?Neil W. Williams - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (1):154-175.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

William James's Conception of Truth.Bertrand Russell - 1992 - In William James & Doris Olin (eds.), William James: Pragmatism, in Focus. Routledge.
Pragmatisms and Logical Empiricisms: Response to Misak and Klein.Thomas Uebel - 2016 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 4 (5).
Selves and Communities in the Work of William James.Francesca Bordogna - 2004 - Streams of William James 6 (3):30-38.
Klein on James on the Will to Believe.Cheryl Misak - 2015 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 5 (1):118-28.
Charles Sanders Peirce.Albert Atkin - 2004 - New Vico Studies.
William James.Max Carl Otto (ed.) - 1942 - Madison, the University of Wisconsin Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-06-02

Total views
108 ( #90,646 of 2,403,706 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #53,376 of 2,403,706 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes