978-0-02-847140-2 / 9780028471402

Essays in Pragmatism (Hafner Library of Classics)


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Essays in Pragmatism By WILLIAM JAMES. nContents include: INTRODUCTION THE HUMANISM OF WILLIAM JAMES . . vii CHRONOLOGY xv SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY xvi THE SENTIMENT OF RATIONALITY 3 THE DILEMMA OF DETERMINISM 37 THE MORAL PHILOSOPHER AND THE MORAL LIFE ... 65 THE WILL TO BELIEVE 88 CONCLUSIONS ON VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE . . 110 WHAT PRAGMATISM MEANS 141 PRAGMATISMS CONCEPTION OF TRUTH 159. INTROBUCTION: THE HUMANISM OF WILLIAM JAMES I THE SEVEN PAPERS brought together in this volume provide an introduction to the philosophy of William James. The first and sixth are in philosophy in them James deals with questions of method, asks what philosophy is and how it should go about its job. The remaining-five are in philosophy in them James deals with free will, morals, science and religion, his own views in reli gion, and the nature of truth. It would be difficult to suggest more persistent problems in philosophy. These papers introduce a reader to William James. They do more than that. Few authors are better able to communicate the spirit of humane philosophizing. These papers therefore provide a valuable introduction to American philosophy and, indeed, to philosophy itself. To the extent that there is a perennial philosophy, concerning itself with man as a rational animal, William James, like Plato among the Greeks, provides a genial and colorful introduction to many of its problems and arguments. These papers were written between 1879 and 1907. Darwinism was twenty years in the air when James wrote The Sentiment of Rationality, and the first world war was just seven years around the corner when Pragmatism was published. These papers, it may with some justice be said, express the interests of an alert and sensi tive mind during one of the most critical quarter centuries in modern history. Darwin and Spencer, Newman and Huxley, Arnold and Pater, Tolstoy and Dostoievsky, Ibsen and Zola, Marx and Nietzsche formed the climate of opinion within which Jamess ideas took shape. They were the elder statesmen. Jamess 1879 paper has the character of a manifesto addressed by a younger man to the world of their making. During the quarter century which followed new intellectual leaders arrived, James himself among them. They included Bergson and Poincarg, Butler and Shaw, Bradley and Royce, Wells and Chesterton, Santayana and Croce, Dewey and Schiller, Belloc and Babbitt, Kipling and Anatole France. These were his contemporaries. Jamess 1907 volume, Pragmatism, has the character of a testament addressed to them by way of challenge or confirmation. James was born in 1842 and died in 1910. The story of his life gives the impression that he was unusually alive and interested in his world student, traveler, university lecturer on anatomy, physiology, and philosophy, public lecturer in England and America, Harvard professor, pbre de famille and voluminous correspondent. The record of these years, in diaries, letters, articles, lectures, books, is the record of a man intensely preoccupied with la condition humaine the aspirations and frustrations of rational animals in their compli cated modern world. In all of this William James was emphatically on the side of humanity against the small but strident army of those whom Nietzsche called the preachers of death...

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