This new edition of William James’s 1909 classic, A Pluralistic Universe reproduces the original text, only modernizing the spelling. The books has been annotated throughout to clarify James’s points of reference and discussion. There is a new, fuller index, a brief chronology of James’s life, and a new bibliography—chiefly based on James’s own references. The editor, H.G. Callaway, has included a new Introduction which elucidates the legacy of Jamesian pluralism to survey some related questions of contemporary (...) American society. -/- A Pluralistic Universe was the last major book James published during his life time. It is a substantial philosophical work, devoted to a thorough-going criticism of Hegelian monism and Absolutism—and the exploration of philosophical and social-theological alternatives. Our world of some one hundred years on is much the better for James’s contributions; and understanding James’s pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding. At present, we are more certain that American is, and is best, a pluralistic society, than we are of what particular forms our pluralism should take. Keeping an eye out for social interpretations of Jamesian pluralism, this new philosophical reading casts light on our twenty-first century alternatives by reference to prior American experience and developments. -/- . (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)
In 1907 William James was invited to give the Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College, Oxford. Initially he was reluctant to do so since he feared undertaking them would divert him from developing rigorously and systematically some metaphysical ideas of his own that had preoccupied him for some time. In the end, however, he relented and in the spring of 1908 gave the lectures which were subsequently published as A Pluralistic Universe. As it happened, though, in the course of these (...) lectures James presented some of those metaphysical ideas, though in a popular and informal style appropriate to lecturing. Later on he did get down to working out a systematic metaphysics in proper academic style, but the project was cut short by his untimely death in 1910. The incomplete Some Problems of Philosophy, posthumously published in 1911, recapitulates some major themes of A Pluralistic Universe. (shrink)
This book is my new scholarly edition of William James, A Pluralistic Universe. The original text has been recovered, annotations to the text added to identify James' authors and events of interest, there is a new bibliography chiefly based on James' sources, a brief chronology of James' career, and I have added an expository and critical Introduction and a comprehensive analytical index.
As suggested in the subtitle, A New Philosophical Reading, the editor aspires in his Introduction and his notes to “facilitate a deeper understanding and a critical evaluation (...) of this crucial and difficult philosophical work” (p. ix). This was the last important book which James published during his lifetime. With it James aims at a critical evaluation of Hegelian monism and an exploration of the philosophical and theological alternatives. “Our world of some one hundred years on”—the editor says (...) (p. ix)—“is much the better for James’ contribution, and understanding William James on pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding.”. (shrink)
A Pluralistic Universe is America's favourite philosopher's last complete work before he died in 1910. Nevertheless, it has been somewhat neglected as a final self-reckoning. Indeed the term "pragmatism" occurs pretty rarely in it, while "experience" and "pluralism" abound. As introduced and annotated by H.G. Callaway, the Cambridge Scholars edition offers some valuable background on James and the text itself, particularly for the nonspecialist reader. Besides retaining James's notes, Callaway has also provided his own glosses on important philosophical (...) terms, translations of the foreign phrases James so often fell back on, and an expanded index and new bibliography to the text. It is, as Callaway says, a "reading and study edition" (ix). (shrink)
In 1975 the Clarendon Press at Oxford published Peter Nidditch's edition of John Locke's An Essay concerning Human Understanding. In his Introduction Nidditch says that his edition “offers a text that is directly derived, without modernization, from the early published versions; it notes the provenance of all its adopted readings ; and it aims at recording all relevant differences between these versions”. As Nidditch goes on to acknowledge, the “relevant differences” were many, “requiring several thousand registrations both in the case (...) of material variants and in the case of formal variants ”. The textual history of Locke's Essay is extremely complicated. While there is no manuscript of the first edition of the book, there were four editions in Locke's lifetime, each new one containing extensive and significant revisions, as well as a posthumous edition published shortly after the author's death. There was a translation into French made with Locke's cooperation and published in 1700, and a Latin translation came out a year later. Nevertheless, Nidditch managed to record all the material variants in footnotes to the text, in a way that makes it fairly easy to track the changes that Locke made to successive editions of the book, and to locate points at which judgements had to be made as a critical text was established on the basis of the chosen copy text. Sometimes a critical edition succeeds in completely changing the way that a text is read. Peter Laslett's 1960 edition of Locke's Two Treatises of Government is a good example. Nidditch's edition of the Essay did not have that kind of very dramatic effect on Locke scholarship. Rather, it made it possible for those without direct access to all the early editions to engage in careful, historically sensitive studies of Locke's account of human understanding. The result was a slow revolution in Locke studies that continues to shed new light on even the most familiar aspects of the Lockean philosophy. (shrink)
This paper examines the relative voluntariness of three types of virtue: ‘epistemic’ virtues like open-mindedness; ‘motivational’ virtues like courage, and more robustly ‘moral’ virtues like justice. A somewhat novel conception of the voluntariness of belief is offered in terms of the limited, but quite real, voluntariness of certain epistemic virtues.
Together with Scottish Philosophy in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, edited by Gordon Graham, this volume inaugurates the series A History of Scottish Philosophy, published by Oxford University Press under Graham's general editorship. A collection of "collaborative studies by expert authors," the series is projected to "provide a comprehensive account of the Scottish philosophical tradition". In their introduction to this particular volume, however, editors Aaron Garrett and James A. Harris propose a more modest purpose. "It will be plain to (...) the reader," they acknowledge, "that we are not presenting here a comprehensive account of the philosophy of eighteenth-century Scotland". Leaving psychology... (shrink)
An ethnographic case study of five rural farmwomen in Cedar County, Nebraska, was conducted to contribute to the understudied area of rural entrepreneurship and women entrepreneurs. This naturalistic inquiry into the lived experiences of five women provides an exceptional view of the founding of a new microenterprise, the St. James Marketplace, a farmer-to-customer market in an agricultural setting. The study considered factors identified from previous research on entrepreneurship in both urban and rural settings. It connected the formation of this (...) microenterprise to the history, culture, values, and economic situation that motivated the founders’ entrepreneurial behavior. A social embeddedness perspective was employed in the analysis. Negative forces from the macroenvironment, such as the closing of the local church parish and declining economic conditions for farming, influenced the creation of the venture. However, the most important motivation was to sustain community. This study satisfies a need for in-depth inquiry into rural entrepreneurship, rural communities, and rural farmwomen entrepreneurs. (shrink)
James Harris’s new Hume biography offers, among other things, ‘a series of conjectures as to what Hume’s intentions were in writing in the particular ways that he did about human nature, politics, economics, history, and religion’. The biography is particularly novel with regard to Hume’s intentions when writing about religion, which, Harris argues, were rather benign. Harris fails to appreciate the full extent of the difficulties attaching to his series of conjectures, however.
Since the term ‘pragmatism’ was first coined, there have been debates about who is or is not a ‘real’ pragmatist, and what that might mean. The division most often drawn in contemporary pragmatist scholarship is between William James and Charles Peirce. Peirce is said to present a version of pragmatism which is scientific, logical and objective about truth, whereas James presents a version which is nominalistic, subjectivistic and leads to relativism. The first person to set out this division (...) was in fact Peirce himself, when he distinguished his own ‘pragmaticism’ from the broad pragmatism of James and others. Peirce sets out six criteria which defines ‘pragmaticism’: the pragmatic maxim; a number of ‘preliminary propositions’; prope-positivism; metaphysical inquiry; critical common-sensism; and scholastic realism. This paper sets out to argue that in fact James meets each of these criteria, and should be seen as a ‘pragmaticist’ by Peirce’s own lights. (shrink)
Bob Solomon used to inveigh against William James’ theory of emotions, but he eventually arrived at a rapprochement with James and James’s recent successors. In particular, James suggested that emotions are initiated by the “automatic, instinctive” appraisals that register important information in the body and are recorded by body-mapping brain areas. In recent work Solomon describes the judgments he thinks constitute emotions as felt bodily appraisals in similar fashion.
“Literary history” is a cross between conventional history and pure fiction. The resulting hybrid provides access to history that the more conventional sort does not . This claim is demonstrated by an analysis of two novels about World War II, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, and Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener. These two very different novels in English are by writers themselves very different from each other, writers from different times, different social and political backgrounds, (...) and different points of view. Their novels examine the effects of the Second World War and the events of 1942 on the human psyche, and suggest how human beings have always searched for the silver lining despite the devastation and devaluation of values. Both novels resist any kind of preaching, and yet the search for peace, balance, and kindness is constantly highlighted. The facts of scientific history are woven into the loom of their unconventional histories. The sense of infirmity created by the formal barriers of traditional history is eased, and new possibilities for historical understanding are unveiled. (shrink)
‘Pluralism’ may be an ambiguous term. But it is not the multitude of the word's meanings but the multitude of sorts of thing that ‘pluralists’ might be claiming to be not-single-but-plural that generates unclarity about what any ‘pluralist’ position amounts to. Take ethics: a ‘pluralist’ might be maintaining, as against say an ethical hedonist of a Benthamite sort, that there is more than one sort of thing ‘good in itself. Another ‘pluralist’ might maintain that there is more than one sort (...) of life that counts as a ‘good way of life’. Or that not all moral duties are forms of the duty to be truthful. Or that there is more than one framework in terms of which experiences, actions or lives can properly be assessed. There is a problem in understanding what it is that is supposed to be counted: one-or-many of what? While the value today of William James’s popular essays in what we might now call ‘value pluralism’ far exceeds their role in illustrating this difficulty, they do exemplify it. James of course described himself as a ‘pluralist’; he was on the flagship of that movement. But just to what extent and in what respects remains unclear. (shrink)
resumo Este artigo parte da constatação de que a análise jamesiana da consciência do tempo constituiu uma fonte comum fundamental das meditações husserlianas e wittgensteinianas relativas ao tempo, o specious present engendrando tanto o ursprüngliche Zeitfeld de Husserl quanto o fliehende Gegenwart do Wittgenstein de 1929. Em seguida, examino a possibilidade de apreender a articulação entre as concepções do tempo de Husserl e de Wittgenstein no nível de suas respectivas apropriações da análise de James. Respondendo de modo afirmativo, sustento (...) de início que essas apropriações se cruzam na crítica do presentismo jamesiano e da idéia segundo a qual a lembrança é uma imagem-cópia presente. Sustento, em seguida, que o anti-psicologismo dá lugar, no entanto, a desenvolvimentos muito diferentes em Husserl e em Wittgenstein. Aquele, com efeito, visa purificar o "núcleo fenomenológico" contido na análise jamesiana de seus resíduos psicológicos para revelar o que ele nos ensina acerca dos modos de aparecer temporais essenciais. De modo inteiramente diferente, Wittgenstein irá pôr em questão a própria imagem do fluxo do presente de consciência, ao descrever a genealogia dessa imagem a partir de erros acerca da linguagem ordinária. O resultado desse artigo é duplo: de um lado, se a análise jamesiana é realmente uma fonte comum às reflexões husserliana e wittgensteiniana acerca do tempo, no final das contas ela dá lugar a apropriações quase opostas; de outro, o debate James-Husserl-Wittgenstein permite confrontar as abordagens psicológica, fenomenológica e gramatical do tempo, e, desse modo, em particular, especificar esta última. palavras-chave James – Husserl – Wittgenstein – tempo - fenomenologia. (shrink)
: Pragmatist truth - as advocated e.g. by Peirce and James - is usually taken to integrate four key elements: the value of truth is likened to some kind of utility; truth is naturally taken to consist in correspondence; truth is essentially linked to the possibility of knowledge; truth is not relative but absolute. Critics have never tired to question the individual and collective consistency of these four constraints. The principal challenge issued to pragmatists always consisted in developing viable (...) interpretations of the key notions utility, correspondence, knowability and absoluteness that would render the pragmatist proposal at least consistent. I shall take up that challenge developing some ideas of James in a contemporary garb.Keywords: Truth. Utility. Knowledge. JamesResumo: Verdade pragmatista - como defendida por Peirce e James, por exemplo - da forma como é considerada usualmente, integra quatro elementoschave: o valor da verdade é assemelhado a algum tipo de utilidade; a verdade é naturalmente considerada como consistindo de correspondência; a verdade está essencialmente ligada à possibilidade de conhecimento; a verdade não é relativa e sim absoluta. Os críticos nunca se cansam de questionar a consistência individual e coletiva dessas quatro limitações. O principal desafio lançado aos pragmatistas , sempre envolveu o desenvolvimento de interpretações viáveis das noções-chave: utilidade, correspondência, cognoscibilidade e integridade, que tornariam a proposta pragmatista, ao menos, consistente. Aceitarei o desafio, desenvolvendo algumas idéias de James sob uma roupagem contemporânea.Palavras-chave: Verdade. Utilidade. Conhecimento. James. (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)
William James’ Principles of Psychology, in which he made famous the ‘specious present’ doctrine of temporal experience, and Edmund Husserl’s Zur Phänomenologie des inneren Zeitbewusstseins, were giant strides in the philosophical investigation of the temporality of experience. However, an important set of precursors to these works has not been adequately investigated. In this article, we undertake this investigation. Beginning with Reid’s essay ‘Memory’ in Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, we trace out a line of development of ideas (...) about the temporality of experience that runs through Dugald Stewart, Thomas Brown, William Hamilton, and finally the work of Shadworth Hodgson and Robert Kelly, both of whom were immediate influences on James (though James pseudonymously cites the latter as ‘E.R. Clay’). Furthermore, we argue that Hodgson, especially his Metaphysic of Experience (1898), was a significant influence on Husserl. (shrink)
William James' Radical Empiricist essays offer a unique and powerful argument for direct realism about our perceptions of objects. This theory can be completed with some observations by Kant on the intellectual preconditions for a perceptual judgment. Finally James and Kant deliver a powerful blow to the representational theory of perception and knowledge, which applies quite broadly to theories of representation generally.
William James makes several major claims about truth: (i) truth means agreement with reality independently of the knower, (ii) truth is made by human beings, (iii) truth can be verified, and (iv) truth is necessarily good. These claims give rise to a few puzzles: (i) and (ii) seem to contradict each other, and each of (ii), (iii), and (iv) has counter-intuitive implications. I argue that Richard Gale's interpretation of James' theory of truth is inadequate in dealing with these (...) puzzles. I propose an alternative interpretation and show how it can solve these puzzles. (shrink)
Academic popularizers of the new field of evolutionary psychology make notable appeals to William James to bolster their doctrine. In particular, they cite James’ remark that humans have all the “impulses” animals do and many more besides to shore up their claim that people’s “instincts” account for their flexibility. This essay argues that these scholars misinterpret James on the instincts. Consciousness (which they find inscrutable) explains cognitive flexibility for James. The evolutionary psychologists’ appeal to James (...) is, therefore, unwarranted and, given the conditions relevant to the public and professional audiences they address, also ineffective as a rhetorical tool for enlisting new recruits. (shrink)
Translating Chinese Classics in a Colonial Context: James Legge and His Two Versions of the Zhongyong, by Hui Wang, Peter Lang Content Type Journal Article Pages 166-167 Authors Paul Boshears, Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien/The European Graduate School Journal Comparative and Continental Philosophy Online ISSN 1757-0646 Print ISSN 1757-0638 Journal Volume Volume 4 Journal Issue Volume 4, Number 1 / 2012.
Although the Cambridge Professor of Mental Philosophy and Logic James Ward was once one of Britain's most highly regarded Psychologists and Philosophers, today his work is unjustly neglected. This is because his philosophy is frequently misrepresented as a reactionary anti-naturalistic idealist theism. In this article, I argue, first, that this reading is false, and that by viewing Ward through the lens of pragmatism we obtain a fresh interpretation of his work that highlights the scientific nature of his philosophy and (...) his original and promising theory of ‘evolutionary Kantianism’, with its applications to the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics. Second, I show that reading Ward as a pragmatist provides us with (1) a more complex history of the reception of pragmatism at Cambridge at the turn of the twentieth century than the straightforwardly hostile one traditionally told; and (2) a more detailed understanding of the wide range of philosophical problems to which pragmatism was deemed at this time to have an appropriate application. (shrink)
William James's Varieties of Religious Experience is a classic psycho-philosophical study of the experience of the sacred and of its practical effects on the ordinary life of extraordinary persons. In a pragmatic variation of Kant's proof of god's existence, James uses personal accounts of converts to empirically demonstrate that there's “something” that has causal effects on the well-being of the person. While the article is largely sympathetic to James explorations of the mystical, it offers a sociological variation (...) on the Varieties that foregrounds the social, cultural and political aspects of religion. (shrink)
With this book, Jacques Barzun pays what he describes as an "intellectual debt" to William James—psychologist, philosopher, and, for Barzun, guide and mentor. Commenting on James's life, thought, and legacy, Barzun leaves us with a wise and civilized distillation of the great thinker's work.
William James undertook to steer his way between a rationalistic system that was not empirical enough and an empirical system so materialistic that it could not account for the value commitments on which it rested. In arguing against both the absolutists (gnostics) and the empiricists (agnostics), he defined a position of pluralistic moralism that seemed equally distant from both, leaving himself vulnerable to the criticism that he had rescued morality from scientism only by reducing religion to morals. Such criticism, (...) however, ignores distinctions James made between religion and theology and between monistic theology and dualistic theology. When these distinctions are taken into account, it becomes evident that James can be criticized for reducing religion to morality only from the point of view of either absolute monism or religious humanism and that radical empiricism not only embraces a significant number of nonmoral religious experiences but also leaves open the possibility of belief in the particular historical God of traditional Christianity. (shrink)
"Space," William James confessed, "is [both] a direfully difficult subject [and the] driest of subjects.'" Nonetheless, convinced that most previous accounts of space were either incoherent or mythological, he set out to describe space as it is actually experienced. His first effort, "The Spatial Quale," appeared in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy in 1879. 2 This article is historically important; as Ralph Barton Perry notes, "his peculiar view of the amplitude and eonnectedness of experience seems to have begun with (...) the application to space. ''3 But, despite this fact, it is seldom read today. It was not reprinted in James's Collected Essays and Reviews because the editor found "no important difference" between the content of this article and that of the chapter in The Principles of Psychology dealing with the same topic. 4 And it has not been included in more recent anthologies of James's writings. James would undoubtedly have concurred with the reasoning behind these editorial decisions. In the preface to the Psychology he wrote: Chapter 20, on Space-perception, is a terrible thing, which, unless written with all that detail, could not be fairly treated at all. An abridgment of it, called The Spatial Quale' ... may be found by some persons a useful substitute for the entire chapter? In fact, however, there is a significant philosophical difference between... (shrink)
William James’ declared intention is to oppose Clifford’s claim that it “is wrong always, everywhere, and for every one, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence”. But I argue that he is confused about his doxastic prescriptions. He isn’t primarily concerned, as he thinks he is, with the legitimacy of belief in the absence of sufficient evidence. The most important contribution of his essay is a suggestion - a highly insightful and contentious one - as to what it is to (...) believe in accordance with the evidence. (shrink)
This response offers an interpretation of James Gustafson's “Participation: A Religious Worldview,” which thinks with Gustafson on the theme of “participation,” while highlighting points where my own thoughts diverge from his. The essay begins by drawing the reader's attention to Gustafson's style, arguing that the simple elegance of his writing constitutes part of his larger claim about the need to remove ourselves from the center of our thought. Next, the essay analyzes Gustafson's use of “participation” by putting it in (...) context and connecting it with his broader methodology. Finally, I draw the reader's attention to important loci in the text in order to show how Gustafson's essay helps address various extant misinterpretations of his thought but also to point to ways in which my “thinking with” Gustafson leads me to think otherwise than he does. (shrink)
El artículo constituye una breve investigación histórica y teórica en torno a los principales nexos entre el pensamiento temprano de William James y el trabajo desplegado por Edmund Husserl en las Investigaciones lógicas. A través de un examen preliminar de las relaciones personales entre ambos autores, pasaremos a un estudio sobre el aparato conceptual desarrollado por James, sobre todo en Principios de psicología, con el objetivo de contrastarlo con el planteado por Husserl, mostrando cómo el primer autor esbozó, (...) entre otros, los conceptos fenomenológicos de intencionalidad y objetividad ideal. (shrink)
Conclusion: "For Bergson, it will be remembered, there is a conclusion,...The conquest of death is implied metaphysically, not to be verified experimentally. Man is born at home in the world, a microcosm essentially at one with it. For James the difference of man from the world is the fundamental thing. He is not born at home in it, he makes a home of it.
William James and the early Jean-Paul Sartre share strikingly similar similar views on ethics, despite their radically divergent approaches and styles. The strengths and weaknesses of their ethical relativism and/or subjectivism are examined in an attempt to show that these positions are problematic, and tenable only with careful qualifications. This evaluation is a result of a critical, yet constructive assessment of their ethical views. ;Specifically, I question whether Sartre's phenomenological ontology in Being and Nothingness can imply an ethics, and (...) the extent to which his ontological terminology is itself meaningful or useful for developing his ontology, and for accepting his ethics. Sartre's major concepts of freedom, bad faith, consciousness, and relations with the Other are critically evaluated in order to show their ethical implications. I argue that his earlier views are a moral subjectivism, despite the possibility that freedom can be understood as an objective value. Sartre's descriptive ethics as existential psychoanalysis is discussed in such works as Anti-Semite and Jew. ;William James's ethical position is best presented in his essays, primarily "The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life" and the Principles of Psychology. In that work, his strong empiricism serves as the foundation for his theory of consciousness and ethics, which has a subjectivist-relativist perspective. These views are examined through his positions on the free-will, social-political liberalism, theory of the stream of consciousness, pragmatism, and theory of universals. ;I contend that a meaningful and significant rapproachement can exist between these two philosophers because of their common ethical views and perspectives. This can have implications for future discourse between mainstream analytic philosophers and philosophers sympathetic to phenomenology. (shrink)