This book was originally written for the French series, Philosophes de tous les temps. It follows the format of this series with an introductory essay and series of brief selections from James. Although Reck states that he "sought to see James as the French see him," he does not limit himself to a single perspective but presents a judicious, balanced interpretation of James. There is little exploitation of the recent "discovery" of James by phenomenologically oriented philosophers. (...) In his introductory essay, Reck has attempted to be comprehensive. The essay succeeds admirably in presenting a fine introduction to James.—R. J. B. (shrink)
James is being rediscovered. And we have needed a volume that presents the multifaceted thought of one of America's most original and vital thinkers. McDermott has done an exceedingly skillful and sensitive job in presenting sections that reveal the man, the educator, the psychologist, the cultural critic, and the philosopher. The entire edition of the Essays in Radical Empiricism and A Pluralistic Universe is included as well as the 1907 edition of Pragmatism. There are also selected letters and chapters (...) and essays from the Principles of Psychology, The Will to Believe, and The Varieties of Religious Experience. The editor's introduction vividly conveys a feeling for James, his cultural setting, and the major themes of his philosophy. A corrected version of Perry's Annotated Bibliography of the Writings of William James is included. For those who are ignorant of the richness and variety of James's thought, or for those who want to take another look at James, I can think of no better way than by reading this intelligently edited and reasonably priced volume.--R. J. B. (shrink)
A memorial collection of essays with a bibliography of Pratt's works, a biography by the editor, and some personal notes by W. E. Hocking. Of special interest are Myers' paper on the self and introspection, Kaufmann's provocative, if heated, criticism of theologians for defending their traditions, and R. W. Sellars' commentary on the history of American Realism.--R. C. N.
Published in two volumes, these books provide a student audience with an excellent scholarly edition of Malthus' Essay on Population. Written in 1798 as a polite attack on post-French revolutionary speculations on the theme of social and human perfectibility, it remains one of the most powerful statements of the limits to human hopes set by the tension between population growth and natural resources. Based on the authoritative variorum edition of the versions of the Essay published between 1803 and 1826, and (...) complete with full introduction and bibliographic apparatus, this edition is intended to show how Malthusianism impinges on the history of political thought, and how the author's reputation as a population theorist and political economist was established. (shrink)
This volume has four parts; in Part I, dealing with the philosophical tradition, Francis M. Parker examines various senses of insight and discusses its goodness as an activity. Henry B. Veatch questions Wild's acceptance of the life-world and asks for a critical, explicitly transcendental justification of it. Robert Jordan reviews Anselm's ontological argument and its place in other proofs for God's existence, and in religious experience. John M. Anderson examines "Art and Philosophy" with the help of Plato and Hegel. Part (...) II examines the life-world; Robert R. Ehman writes on the phenomenon of world, and Calvin O. Schrag situates Husserl's notion of life-world within the tradition of Hegel, Dilthey and Heidegger as a theme in the problem of history. Enzo Paci has an essay relating the life-world to the Husserlian analysis of the body as a locus of mobility, life, sensation, and, ultimately thought. C. A. van Peursen's contribution examines the nature of structure in the life-world. Part III deals with the individual and society and includes a picturesque, sensitive and profound essay by Erwin Straus on "The Miser." George Schrader writes on "Monetary Value and Personal Value," W. L. McBride on "Individualisms," and Wilfrid Desan on "Sartre the Individualist." Part IV, "Subjectivity and Objectivity," includes Paul Ric£ur distinguishing three types of philosophical discourse about the will, and claiming that a hermeneutic of symbols must supplement both discourse which is phenomenological and that which proposes meaningful action. Mikel Dufrenne writes on "Structuralism and Humanism," Nathaniel Lawrence on "The Illusion of Monolinear Time," and Samuel J. Todes and Hubert L. Dreyfus on "The Existentialist Critique of Objectivity." James Edie has an important essay on Husserl's notion of "the grammatical" and the a priori in grammar; he relates it to Chomsky's theory of grammatical structures. The volume ends with a bibliography of Wild's works, reviews of them, and essays devoted to his thought.--R. S. (shrink)
The author interprets those facets of major American thinkers which resemble, lead to, or complement the insights of Zen; and if a pedantic scholar might quarrel with some of his readings, his own intention and insights are refreshing and provocative. Beginning with Jefferson, and passing through Thoreau, James, Peirce, Santayana, Dewey, and others, he traces the Zen-like themes to their most complete expression in G. M. Mead. In - their regard for non-dualism, participation, responsibility, dynamism, openness, concern for the (...) "everyday," compassion, zest, and being-at-one with self, others, and nature, Ames finds that Zen and American thought meet, and suggests that their differences can be mutually fertilizing. This gentle book is a success in a field too often plagued by non-conformist and cultish postures. --R. C. D. (shrink)
This book makes two principal claims: that Mead is misinterpreted by being aligned with Dewey, and that Mead's influence upon sociology has been exaggerated and misinterpreted. The latter claim is argued for on the basis of student reminiscences and citation counts, and seems plausible. The former rests upon a recategorization of Mead and Peirce as "realistic" pragmatists, and of James and Dewey as "nominalistic" ones, and also upon the claim that Dewey's thought was "biologistic" rather than "social." Both of (...) these premises are rather dubious. Lewis and Smith accept Peirce's account of the nature and significance of scholastic realism quite uncritically, and then use the Peircian notion of "the reality of thirdness" as a bridge of Mead's notion of symbol systems. The similarities between Mead and Dewey are downplayed wherever possible--e.g., by interpreting the Meadlike passages in Experience and Nature as unconscious plagiarism from Mead. The tone of the book is suggested by the following passage: "... the problem was a deep-rooted incommensurability between the James-Darwin biologistic philosophy and the social realism of Peirce and Mead. Perhaps it was due to his Hegelian heritage that Dewey had a tolerance for asserting essentially incompatible ideas". Those who see Dewey as offering a plausible synthesis of the biological and the social will find Lewis and Smith's treatment of Dewey cavalier. However, those who see Peirce's discussion of signs as the high point of pragmatism may find their treatment of American philosophy sympathetic.--R.R. (shrink)
We frequently think of American pragmatism as consisting of the philosophies of Peirce, James, and Dewey. But this picture of pragmatism distorts the actual historical development of this loosely associated movement. As Rucker notes and convincingly shows, it was at the University of Chicago that a truly co-operative movement among pragmatically inclined thinkers evolved. It is the story of this movement that he tells in this book. It is a movement very much involved in the history of the University (...) of Chicago, especially during the period when it was lead William Rainey Harper. Rucker describes for us how the various individuals that make up the Chicago School--including Dewey, Mead, Tufts, Angell--came to Chicago, what were their distinctive contributions, and how they exerted an enormous intellectual influence both on their students and their colleagues, especially those in the social sciences. Rucker not only presents us with a fine intellectual history of the Chicago School from 1895 until 1930, but portrays the school as a paradigm of the spirit of cooperative inquiry which was so central to the deepest convictions of the pragmatists.--R. J. B. (shrink)
This is an anthology with a thesis. For Mrs. Rorty is not only concerned to present us with selections from the "classical" American pragmatists, but to show us how pragmatic themes pervade many aspects of contemporary philosophy. Part One contains ample selections from Peirce, James and Dewey. Part Two consists of some of the criticisms of pragmatism by Russell, Moore and Lovejoy. Part Three is the most interesting and original section. By judiciously selecting papers from a variety of contemporary (...) philosophers, many of whom would probably not think of themselves as pragmatists she shows us how alive pragmatic philosophy is today. There is an excellent bibliography and fine short introductions. Altogether the anthology presents an imaginative perspective on pragmatic philosophy.—R. J. B. (shrink)
Pragmatism is interpreted broadly to permit selections from Emerson, James, Peirce, Holmes, Dewey, Mead, Bridgman, Lewis, Kallen, and Hook. A short introduction and bibliography is supplied for each author.--R. J. B.
Discussions of American philosophy have too frequently fallen into two extreme categories: slavish and plodding exposition; and supercilious and superficial criticism. But what the "classic" American philosophers need is sympathetic but judicious criticism. This book is a model of such criticism. Basically, it consists of two relatively independent monographs--one dealing with Peirce and one with James. Ayer makes no claims to produce a work of historical scholarship. And scholars will find much to quarrel with in this book. But their (...) argument will be with an intelligent and lucid critic. What is especially satisfying is the way in which Ayer discusses some of the more obscure aspects of these philosophers such as Peirce's categories and his theory of signs, and the way in which he attempts to make sense of some of their more controversial claims such as those of James in the Will to Believe. Ayer pulls no punches in pointing out what he takes to be mistaken and untenable; throughout there is a critical dialogue. One can disagree on numerous points of interpretation, but one can only admire the high level of critique. This is the sort of intelligent criticism that these two seminal thinkers deserve.--R. J. B. (shrink)
John J. McDermott, who has already distinguished himself by publishing the best available selection of William James' writings, has now performed the same task for Josiah Royce. Although Josiah Royce is normally classified as one of the American "classical" philosophers, he is probably the least read of these philosophers. These skillfully edited volumes may go a long way to making Royce's comprehensive and complex thought available. There is a brief introduction in which McDermott nicely conveys a "feel" for the (...) man and his thought, especially as it manifests the spirit of American philosophy. The selections are grouped under a number of headings, each preceded with a short commentary. McDermott has deliberately aimed at comprehensiveness, and I suspect even those familiar with some of Royce's work may be surprised by the variety of his investigations. There is a sixty-page annoted bibliography prepared by Ignas K. Skrupsklelis which is the most complete bibliography of Royce's writings available. Although there are no selections from The Problem of Christianity, the University of Chicago Press has recently published this book with a new introduction by John E. Smith. The Letters of Josiah Royce is also being published by Chicago. Painstaking, intelligent editing of philosophic texts is all too rare in our time. McDermott is to be congratulated on a superb job, and the University of Chicago Press is to be praised for undertaking this extensive publication of Royce's work.--R. J. B. (shrink)
A collection of Lovejoy's essays written during the first quarter of the century dealing mainly with issues in James and Dewey--there is hardly any mention of Peirce. A charming sketch of James as a philosopher is included. Throughout Lovejoy writes with wit and urbanity. But the dominant impression is one of reading a period piece rather than participating in living philosophic inquiry.--R. J. B.
Representative selections from nine of the Scottish philosophers from Francis Hutcheson to James McCosh. Complete bibliographies and some biographical data are included in an introductory essay on the thought of each man, most of which are from Noah Porter's Philosophy in Great Britain and America.--R. G. M.
A companion volume to the one above in which the only deviation from the format of the previous volume is the inclusion of four school rather than individual-chronological headings. The school headings are "American Realism," "Logical Positivism," "Existentialism," and "Ordinary Language Analysis." The individual philosophers included are James, Bergson, Lenin, Husserl, Santayana, Dewey, Whitehead, Moore, and Russell. In all other respects Volume II is like Volume I.—E. A. R.
Eight articles written by members of the Tulane philosophy department. The contributions range from a discussion of classifications of supposition in medieval logic by Louise Nisbet Roberts and a comparatively lengthy consideration of the relationship between universals and individuals by James K. Feibleman to an attempt by Paul G. Morrison to clarify in a restricted system the expressions, 'invariance,' 'homogeneity,' and 'heterogeneity.'--R. P.
It is sometimes shocking to realize that despite the flood of monographs and books on minor figures in American intellectual history, no full-length biographies have been published of such major American philosophers as Peirce, Royce and Dewey. Of the three, we perhaps know least about Royce. Yet Royce who was born in California when it was still a frontier and became the leading idealist philosopher in America provides a fascinating chapter in American intellectual life during the latter part of the (...) nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. These letters which cover the period from 1875 until 1916 not only help tell the story of Royce's life but also of what American intellectual life was like during this creative period. Unlike James and Peirce who used their letters to expound and develop their philosophic ideas and to criticize the views of others, we learn much less about Royce's philosophy from these letters. They do help to create a vivid portrait of his many faceted personality. Clendenning's introduction helps to present the essentials of Royce's life and thereby places these letters in their historical context.--R. J. B. (shrink)
Bergson, Frazer, Freud, James, and Whitehead meet in this entertaining dialogue on metaphysics, religion, and love. Desire and fulfillment are the themes which bring the speakers and subjects together, and although differences among the men are glossed over, the similarities which are brought out sustain an interesting discussion. --R. F. T.
Treatises of this length and care are rarely written today and in the course of Cumming's explorations there is an enormous richness of insight, commentary, and analysis of the history of liberal thought. But at the same time, it is difficult to keep the main themes of this study in clear focus. One gets the impression that Cumming originally set out to understand liberal thought as expressed by John Stuart Mill and found himself digging into origins. Dig he does, taking (...) into account in his intellectual journey through Western Civilization: Polybius, Cicero, Augustine, Petrarch, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Bentham, James Mill and many others along the way. One can learn a great deal about this western political tradition by following Cumming's patient explications and critiques. In the foreground is always John Stuart Mill and at times Cumming fosters the misimpression that Mill culminates this entire tradition. Yet Cumming's attitude toward Mill is strangely ambivalent and toward the end of this study, Cumming seems to be more fascinated with the stages of Mill's development and his mental crisis rather than with the integrity and coherence of his political philosophy. Liberal political thought has recently come in for a severe polemical thrashing and Cumming's study might have been a detailed, eloquent defense of this tradition. But the study is deficient in attempting to show how liberal thought can directly meet the numerous criticisms that have been raised from many sides. In the preface, Cumming reports that the manuscript was on the way to the typesetters during the upheaval at Columbia when police arrived on campus. This episode symbolizes the strange feeling one has that the book is dated by the time it appeared. Despite its weaknesses as an apology for liberal thought, it excels in making us sensitive to its long and vital history.--R. J. B. (shrink)
The history of paediatrics and child health is increasingly recognised to be about children themselves and how they and their families cope and adapt to their medical condition rather than about medical practitioners and august institutions. This article considers two case studies, showing how two Georgian fathers cared for their children when sickness struck and their reactions when the children died. Davies (Giddy) Gilbert, FRS (1767–1840), was a member of Parliament first for Helston and later for Bodmin. (He married Ann (...) Mary Gilbert in 1808 and formally changed his name to Gilbert; the change received royal approbation in January 1817.) Gilbert recorded the birth and development of his son Charles (1810–1813), in one of the very earliest developmental chronicles. He regularly recorded his child’s progress, including height, weight, social interaction, communication skills and speech. Apparently in good health for most of his life, Charles developed an acute abdominal disorder and died unexpectedly. John Tremayne (1780–1851) was a member of Parliament for Cornwall. His son Harry (1814–1823) had increasing bilious attacks, headaches and a squint from the age of 6 years, and died despite the best medical advice available. Current medical opinion would presume an intracranial tumour. Tremayne graphically expressed his pain as he closely observed his son suffer, apparently as much from the treatments as from the disease itself. This study sheds light on clinical aspects of Georgian medical practice, the medical marketplace and the nature of relationships between these fathers and their children. (shrink)
The fact that a right is unlikely to be exercised by most members of a group does not mean it has lost its social and justice-defending utility. Current attitudes can be revealed by a questionnaire, but the value of a tradition must be assessed in the light of history. Historically, academic freedom and tenure are inseparable and mutually reinforcing. (Published Online February 8 2007).
Social policies are used to regulate how members of a society interact and share resources. If we expand our sense of community to include the ecosystem of which we are a part, we begin to develop an ethical obligation to this broader community. This ethic recognizes that the environment has intrinsic value, and each of us, as members of society, are ethically bound to preserve its sustainability. In assessing the environmental risks of new agricultural methods and technologies, society should not (...) freely trade economic gains for ecological damage, but rather seek practices that are compatible with ecosystem health. This approach is used to evaluate the environmental risks associated with genetically engineered insect-resistant trees. The use of insect-resistant trees is a biologically based pest control strategy that has several advantages over pesticide use. However, the use of genetically engineered trees presents particular ecological concerns because the trees are long lived and often are not highly domesticated. The main environmental concerns reviewed include: adaptation of pests to the trees, leading to a non-sustainable agricultural practice, transgenic trees producing environmental toxins, insect resistance enhancing the invasiveness of the tree, causing it to become weedy or invade wild habitats, and transfer of the transgene to wild or feral relatives of the tree, possibly increasing the invasiveness of weeds or wild plants. Some methods are available to offset these risks; however, the environmental risks associated with this technology have been poorly researched and need to be more clearly identified so that when we evaluate the risks, it is based on the best information obtainable. To fulfil an ethical obligation to the environment, public policies and government regulations are needed to preserve the sustainability of both the environment and the future of our production systems. A better understanding of both the ecological issues and of genetic engineering in general are needed on the part of citizens and policy makers alike to ensure that sound environmental decisions are made. Otherwise, the environmental benefits of this technology, mainly decreasing the use of more toxic pesticides in tree crops and forests, will either be lost or traded for other environmental hazards. (shrink)
I thank Professor Otteson for his review of Escape from Leviathan (EFL). His exposition of what I wrote is relatively accurate. I shall here do my best to correct any misunderstandings and reply to his welcome criticisms, ignoring our various points of agreement and his generous praise.
Originally published in 1991, The Laboratory of the Mind: Thought Experiments in the Natural Sciences, is the first monograph to identify and address some of the many interesting questions that pertain to thought experiments. While the putative aim of the book is to explore the nature of thought experimental evidence, it has another important purpose which concerns the crucial role thought experiments play in Brown’s Platonic master argument.In that argument, Brown argues against naturalism and empiricism (Brown 2012), for mathematical Platonism (...) (Brown 2008), and from the Platonist-friendly, abstract universals posited by the Dretske-Tooley-Armstrong (DTA) account of the laws of nature to a more general, physical Platonism. The Laboratory of the Mind is where he takes this final step. (shrink)
Since the late nineteenth century, studies of mysticism have presented us with two contrasting conclusions. The first is that mystics all over the world report basically the same experience, and the second is that there are great differences among the reports, and possibly among the experiences. On the positive side there are such works as Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy , with its claim that all mystics say that all beings are manifestations of a Divine Ground, that men learn of this (...) by direct intuition, that men have two natures, one phenomenal and one eternal, and that identification with his eternal nature is the purpose of man. Walter Stace supports this view, in a modified way, with his observation that, while each mystic seems to advance a peculiar explanation of his experience, their statements collectively exhibit strong similarities. Mystics commonly report a consciousness of unity, carrying with it feelings of objectivity, blessedness, and holiness. They describe their experience in paradoxical language, and say that ultimately it is ineffable. These twentieth-century observations are repetitions of those of William James, so that this basic point has become a cliché, and, as R. C. Zaehner says, ‘We have been told ad nauseum that mysticism is the highest expression of religion and that it appears in all ages and in all places in a more or less identical form, often in a religious milieu that would seem to be the reverse of propitious.’. (shrink)
Wilfred Sellars's deeply original and systematic thought continues to inspire into the twenty-first century. Part of the explanation must be that Sellars's struggle to integrate a Kantian-Wittgensteinian normative view of meaning and intentionality with a naturalistic outlook remains at the forefront of philosophical inquiry. To acknowledge the deep impact that Sellars has had on their work, a list of prominent, contemporary philosophers honor Sellars's legacy in a volume craftily edited by James R. O'Shea with a superb introduction. Like Sellars's (...) own work, the contributions are distributed across a wide range of topics from, roughly, philosophy of perception, philosophy of... (shrink)
Adam Smith raised a series of obstacles to effective large-scale social planning. In this paper, I draw these Smithian obstacles together to construct what I call the “Great Mind Fallacy,” or the belief that there exists some person or persons who can overcome the obstacles Smith raises. The putative scope of the Great Mind Fallacy is larger than one might initially suppose, which I demonstrate by reviewing several contemporary thinkers who would seem to commit it. I then address two ways (...) the fallacy might be overcome, finding both wanting. I close the paper by suggesting that Smith's Great Mind Fallacy sheds interesting light on his “impartial spectator” standard of morality, including with respect to the specific issues of property and ownership. (shrink)
Mystics have always claimed that a very significant kind of self-perception is possible, at the end of certain spiritual disciplines. The self that is then supposed to be known is a unity, identical from one experience to the next, and not to be identified with any particular experiences, such as impressions or ideas, which the self has. In short, mystical testimony supports something like a theory of the essential self as simple and unchanging.
This paper argues for the concept of a decolonial humanism at the heart of C.L.R. James’s theoretical and political engagements. In exploring the concept of decolonial humanism, the paper moves through three major sections dealing with some of the definitive epistemic and political aspects of James’s work: a critique of Enlightenment Humanism and European Marxism without disavowing the aspirations of universal human emancipation; James’s work with the Johnson-Forest Tendency, the Pan-Africanist movement, and his attempts at labor organizing (...) in Trinidad first alongside Eric Williams in the People’s National Movement and later in his own Workers and Farmer’s Party ; and the practicality of decolonial humanism in terms of its adoption by Tim Hector and the Antigua Caribbean Liberation Movement. (shrink)
Social conditions of race and class continue to combine in ways that raise systemic questions about the adequacy and legitimacy of liberal, capitalist democracy in America. More radical alternatives, however, are still generally held to be irrelevant in the American context. The following is an effort to correct this widespread misrepresentation of socialism’s relevance to America generally, and to matters of race in particular. I consider the work of C.L.R. James who, fifty years ago, developed a class-oriented, explicitly Marxist (...) theory in which the aspirations and struggles of African-Americans were given a central place, both analytically and politically. (shrink)