It is generally agreed that the most influential philosophers in America are Charles S. Peirce, William James and John Dewey. James's fame came rather suddenly in the latter half of his life—roughly, from 1880 to 1910; it flourished with the appearance of his Principles of Psychology and shortly thereafter with his advocacy of pragmatism and radical empiricism. James was acclaimed in England and Europe as well as in America. Peirce, on the other hand, was almost entirely neglected; his work remained (...) unknown to all but a few philosophers and his chief acknowledgment was as a scientist and logician. His importance began to be recognized and his immense researches and writings studied some twenty-five years after his death. It was otherwise with Dewey. During his long lifetime his ideas not only engaged the reflections and critical discussions of philosophers, he also had a profound and contagious influence on education, the social sciences, aesthetics, and political theory and practice. In this respect his thought has reached a wider audience in America than that of either Peirce or James. In his day lawyers, labour leaders, scientists and several heads of state attested to the vitality of his wisdom. (shrink)
The forty items in this volume also include an analysis of Thomas Hobbe's philosophy; an affectionate commemorative tribute to Theodore Roosevelt, our Teddy; the syllabus for Dewey's lectures at the Imperial University in Tokyo, which were ...
William James, remarking in 1909 on the differences among the three leading spokesmen for pragmatism--himself, F. C. S. Schiller, and John Dewey--said that Schiller’s views were essentially "psychological,” his own, "epistemological,” whereas Dewey’s "panorama is the widest of the three.” The two main subjects of Dewey’s essays at this time are also two of the most fundamental and persistent philosophical questions: the nature of knowledge and the meaning of truth. Dewey’s distinctive analysis is concentrated chiefly in seven essays, in a (...) long, significant, and previously almost unknown work entitled "The Problem of Truth,” and in his book How We Think. As a whole, the 1910-11 writings illustrate especially well that which the Thayers identify in their Introduction as Dewey’s "deepening concentration on questions of logic and epistemology as contrasted with the more pronounced psychological and pedagogical treatment in earlier writings.”. (shrink)
A fundamental and familiar feature of Aristotle’s natural philosophy is his use of the concept of physis as an explanatory principle of the development and growth of certain kinds of things. Natural things are those that possess within them an original principle of continuous movement towards some completion. Nature is thus said to belong among the causes which are for the sake of something or are purposeful. The concept is crucial, Aristotle argues, if one is to be able to explain (...) the motion and phenomena that constitute life and development in the world. Lacking this concept, as the earlier philosophers did, natural science is seriously incomplete and inadequate. (shrink)