James Beattie was appointed professor of moral philosophy and logic at Marischal College, Aberdeen, Scotland at the age of twenty-five. Though more fond of poetry than philosophy, he became part of the Scottish 'Common Sense' school of philosophy that included Thomas Reid and George Campbell. In 1770 Beattie published the work for which he is best known, An Essay on Truth, an abrasive attack on 'modern scepticism' in general, and on David Hume in particular, subsequently and despite Beattie's attack, (...) Scotland's most famous philosopher. The Essay was a great success, earning its author an honorary degree from Oxford and an audience with George III. Samuel Johnson declared in 1772 that 'We all love Beattie'. Hume, on the other hand, described the Essay as 'a horrible large lie in octavo', and dismissed its author as a 'bigotted silly Fellow'. Although Beattie is no match for Hume as a philosopher, the success of the Essay suggests that, unlike Hume, Beattie voices the characteristic assumptions, and anxieties, of his age. The first part of this selection—the first ever made from Beattie's prose writings—includes several key chapters from the Essay on Truth, along with extracts from all of Beattie's other works on moral philosophy. The topics treated include memory, the existence of God, the nature of virtue, and slavery. The second part of the selection is devoted to Beattie's contributions to literary criticism and aesthetics. Beattie's studies of poetry, music, taste, and the sublime are vital to the understanding of the literary culture out of which developed the early Romanticism of Wordsworth and Coleridge. (shrink)
James Tully: To Think and Act Differently collects classic, contemporary, and previously unpublished examples of public philosophy in action from across James Tully's four decades of scholarship. The book provides readers with a perspicuous representation of public philosophy as an ongoing experiment with reconstructing the practice of political theory as a democratizing and diversifying dialogue between scholars and citizens. This volume offers an overview of this participatory mode of political philosophy and political change by reconstructing the arc of (...) Tully's intellectual trajectory in contexts, illuminating moments of clarification and transformation, and the ways it continues to shed new insights into the challenges of citizenship in the present. Topics discussed include approaches to the history of political though, constitutionalism, democratic theory, comparative political theory, intercultural dialogue and translation; Indigenous political thought; settler colonialism and empire; climate change and sustainability; modernity; nonviolence; and mutual aid. It will be of interest to scholars of political philosophy, political theory, constitutional law, Indigenous studies, intellectual history, and ecological humanities. It will be of interest to scholars of political philosophy, political theory, constitutional law, Indigenous studies, intellectual history, and ecological humanities. (shrink)
It is testimony to both the incompleteness and suggestiveness of James's philosophy that commentators have argued that the "true" James is consummated in, say, Dewey, or in phenomenology, or Whitehead. Although Ford obviously thinks James's philosophy has a complete identity in its own right, he argues for the Whiteheadian interpretation. He asserts not only that this is the correct interpretation of James, but the correct philosophy simpliciter. The central theses in this argument are that James (...) is both a process philosopher and a panpsychist. (shrink)
This is a study of all the recent literature on william james written from a phenomenological perspective with the purpose of showing that william james made fundamental contributions to the phenomenological theory of the intentionality of consciousness, To the phenomenological theory of self-Identity, And to the phenomenological conception of noetic freedom as the basic concept of ethical theory.
This is a big book, conceived on a grand scale. Sprigge does not fight shy of addressing the large central issues. He takes James and Bradley head on and expounds their philosophy without compromise and without assuming that the only way we can appreciate them is by making them more palatable to the modern mind by watering down what they wrote. While he relates their thought to modern philosophical concerns he does not presuppose that modern philosophical concerns as such (...) should act as the arbiter of what counts as philosophical good sense. In other words, we can learn from Bradley and James, whether or not they could also learn from us. (shrink)
In 1896 William James published an essay entitled The Will to Believe, in which he defended the legitimacy of religious faith against the attacks of such champions of scientific method as W.K. Clifford and Thomas Huxley. James's work quickly became one of the most important writings in the philosophy of religious belief. James Wernham analyses James's arguments, discusses his relation to Pascal and Renouvier, and considers the interpretations, and misinterpretations, of James's major critics. Wernham shows (...) convincingly that James was unaware of many destructive ambiguitities in his own doctrines and arguments, although clear and consistent in his view that our obligation to believe in theism is not a moral but a prudential obligation -- a foolish-not-to-believe doctrine, rather than a not-immoral-to-believe one. Wernham also shows that the doctrine is best read as affirming the wisdom of gambling that God exists, a notion which James failed to distinguish from believing and which, among other things, he explicitly identified with faith. James's pragmatism, a theory concerning the meaning of truth, is shown to be quite distinct from the doctrine of The Will to Believe. In concentrating on a careful analysis of this doctrine of the will-to-believe, Wernham not only makes a major contribution to understanding James's philosophy, but also clarifies issues in the philosophy of religion and in the analysis of belief and faith. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Central to both James’s earlier psychology and his later philosophical views was a recurring distinction between percepts and concepts. The distinction evolved and remained fundamental to his thinking throughout his career as he sought to come to grips with its fundamental nature and significance. In this chapter, I focus initially on James’s early attempt to articulate the distinction in his 1885 article “The Function of Cognition.” This will highlight a key problem to which James continued to (...) return throughout his later philosophical work on the nature of our cognition, including in his famous “radical empiricist” metaphysics of “pure experience” around the turn of the century. We shall find that James grappled insightfully but ambivalently with the perceptual and conceptual dimensions of the “knowledge relation” or the “cognitive relation,” as he called it—or what, following Franz Brentano, philosophers would later call our object-directed thought or intentionality more generally. Some philosophers have once again returned to James’s work for crucial insights on this pivotal topic, while others continue to find certain aspects of his account to be problematic. What is beyond dispute is that James’s inquiries in this domain were both innovative and of lasting significance. (shrink)
This new critical edition is an examination of William James's Essays in Radical Empiricism in light of the scientific naturalism prominent in James's Principles of Psychology (1890) and the subsequent development of Darwinian, functional psychology and functionalism in psychology, the philosophy psychology and the philosophy of mind.
James Bond 007 strode into the human imagination in the novel Casino Royale in 1953 and hit the movie screens with Dr. No in 1962. He has become one of the best-known personalities, real or imagined, in global history. One out of every four people in the entire world has now seen a Bond movie, and every month thousands of new readers become addicted to Ian Fleming’s original Bond stories. In James Bond and Philosophy, seventeen scholars examine hidden (...) philosophical issues in the hazardous, deceptive, glamorous world of Double-0 Seven. Is Bond a Nietzschean hero who graduates "beyond good and evil"? Does Bond paradoxically break the law in order, ultimately, to uphold it like any "stupid policeman"? What can Bond’s razor-sharp reasoning powers tell us about the scientific pursuit of truth? Does 007’s license to kill help us understand the ethics of counterterrorism? What motivates all those despicable Bond villains—could it be a Hegelian quest for recognition? (shrink)
The identity and diversity of individual objects may be grounded or ungrounded, and intrinsic or contextual. Intrinsic individuation can be grounded in haecceities, or absolute discernibility. Contextual individuation can be grounded in relations, but this is compatible with absolute, relative or weak discernibility. Contextual individuation is compatible with the denial of haecceitism, and this is more harmonious with science. Structuralism implies contextual individuation. In mathematics contextual individuation is in general primitive. In physics contextual individuation may be grounded in relations via (...) weak discernibility. (shrink)
William James indicated a “middle path” according to which religious experience yields something like knowledge for the mystic, but not a kind that others, who do not share his experience, are compelled to accept. Such a middle way is initially appealing, but how is it to be developed? Here I suggest three leading ideas—the epistemic analogue of “agent-relative permissions,” the complementary relationship between the Jamesian virtues of bold exploration and sober caution, and the kind of special access the lover (...) may claim with respect to knowledge of his beloved—with an eye to such development. Each is found helpful, but in ascending order of importance. (shrink)