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James attacks the transcendental, rationalist tradition in philosophy and tries to clear the ground for the doctrine he called radical empiricism.
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Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking

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James attacks the transcendental, rationalist tradition in philosophy and tries to clear the ground for the doctrine he called radical empiricism.
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Editorial Reviews

Charles Frankel
The meanings--twenty? thirty?--of "pragmatism" continue to be a central question in American philosophy and intellectual history. A chance to see the development and working of James's own mind from the inside, as it were, should do much to help us understand where he himself stood and what he himself meant...In brief, scholars, students, and the general reading public should all display an interest in a critical edition of James's works.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780915145041
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/1/1980
  • Series: Hpc Classics Series
  • Pages: 152
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

William James (1842 -1910) was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism. He was the brother of novelist Henry James and of diarist Alice James. William James was born at the Astor House in New York City. He was the son of Henry James Sr., an independently wealthy and notoriously eccentric Swedenborgian theologian well acquainted with the literary and intellectual elites of his day. The intellectual brilliance of the James family milieu and the remarkable epistolary talents of several of its members have made them a subject of continuing interest to historians, biographers, and critics. James interacted with a wide array of writers and scholars throughout his life, including his godfather Ralph Waldo Emerson, his godson William James Sidis, as well as Charles Sanders Peirce, Bertrand Russell, Josiah Royce, Ernst Mach, John Dewey, Walter Lippmann, Mark Twain, Horatio Alger, Jr., Henri Bergson and Sigmund Freud.
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Table of Contents

LECTURE I The Present Dilemma in Philosophy
  Chesterton quoted.
  Everyone has a philosophy.
  Temperament is a factor in all philosophizing.
  Rationalists and empiricists.
  The tender-minded and the tough-minded.
  Most men wish both facts and religion.
  Empiricism gives facts without religion.
  Rationalism gives religion without facts.
  The layman's dilemma.
  The unreality in rationalistic systems.
  "Leibnitz on the damned, as an example."
  M.I. Swift on the optimism of idealists.
  Pragmatism as a mediating system.
  An objection.
  "Reply: philosophies have characters like men, and are liable to as summary judgments."
  Spencer as an example.
LECTURE II What Pragmatism Means
  The squirrel.
  Pragmatism as a method.
  History of the method.
  Its character and affinities.
  How it contrasts with rationalism and intellectualism.
  A 'corridor theory.'
  "Pragmatism as a theory of truth, equivalent to 'humanism.'"
  "Earlier views of mathematical, logical, and natural truth."
  More recent views.
  Schiller's and Dewey's 'instrumental' view.
  The formation of new beliefs.
  Older truth always has to be kept account of.
  Older truth arose similarly.
  The 'humanistic' doctrine.
  Rationalistic criticisms of it.
  Pragmatism as mediator between empiricism and religion.
  Barrenness of transcendental idealism.
  How far the concept of Absolute must be called true.
  The true is the good in the way of belief.
  The clash of truths.
  Pragmatism unstiffens discussion.
LECTURE III Some Metaphysical Problems Pragmatically Considered
  The problem of substance.
  The Eucharist.
  Berkely's pragmatic treatment of material substance.
  Locke's of personal identity.
  The problem of materialism.
  Rationalistic treatment of it.
  Pragmatic treatment.
  "God' is no better than 'Matter' as a principle, unless he promise more."
  Pragmatic comparison of the two principles.
  The problem of design.
  Design' per se is barren.
  The question is what design.
  The problem of 'free-will.'
  Its relations to 'accountability.'
  Free-will a cosmological theory.
  The pragmatic issue at stake in all these problems is what do the alternatives promise.
LECTURE IV The One and Many
  Total reflection.
  "Philosophy seeks not only unity, but totality."
  Rationalistic feeling about unity.
  "Pragmatically considered, the world is one in many ways."
  One time and space.
  One subject of discourse.
  Its parts interact.
  Its oneness and manyness are co-ordinate.
  Question of one origin.
  Generic oneness.
  One purpose.
  One story.
  One knower.
  Value of pragmatic method.
  Absolute monism.
  Various types of union discussed.
  Conclusions: We must oppose monistic dogmatism and follow empirical findings.
LECTURE V Pragmatism and Common Sense
  Noetic pluralism.
  How our knowledge grows.
  Earlier ways of thinking remain.
  Prehistoric ancestors discovered the common sense concepts.
  List of them.
  They came gradually into use.
  Space and time.
  Cause' and 'law.'
  "Common sense one stage in mental evolution, due to geniuses."
  "The 'critical' stages: 1) scientific and 2) philosophic, compared with common sense."
  Impossible to say which is the more 'true.'
LECTURE VI Pragmatism's Conception of Truth
  The polemic situation.
  What does agreement with reality mean?
  It means verifiability.
  Verifiability means ability to guide us propserously through experience.
  Completed verfications seldom needful.
  Eternal' truths.
  "Consistency, with language, with previous truths."
  Rationalist objections.
  "Truth is a good, like, health, wealth, etc."
  It is expedient thinking.
  The past.
  Truth grows.
  Rationalist objections.
  Reply to them.
LECTURE VII Pragmatism and Humanism
  The notion of Truth.
  Schiller on 'Humanism.'
  Three sorts of reality of which any new truth must take account.
  To 'take account' is ambiguous.
  Absolutely independent reality is hard to find.
  The human contribution is ubiquitous and builds out the given.
  Essence of pragmatism's contrast with rationalism.
  Rationalism affirms a transempirical world.
  Motives for this.
  Tough-mindedness rejects them.
  A genuine alternative.
  Pragmatism mediates.
LECTURE VIII Pragmatism and Religion
  Utility of the Absolute.
  Whitman's poem 'To You.'
  Two ways of taking it.
  My friend's letter.
  Necessities versus possibilities.
  Possibility' defined.
  Three views of the world's salvation.
  Pragmatism is melioristic.
  We may create reality.
  Why should anything be?
  Supposed choice before creation.
  The healthy and the morbid reply.
  The 'tender' and the 'tough' types of religion.
  Pragmatism mediates.
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2004

    Common Sense phylosopher

    My overall impression of the book was that it was worth a read. Personally I'm not a fan of those who glorify their own phylosophies only through contrast to others' works. Some parts were just regurgitating and some were plain obvious to read about.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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