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Pluralistic Universe

ISBN-10: 0803275919
ISBN-13: 9780803275911
Edition: 1996
List price: $21.95 Buy it from $9.68
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Description: In his famous lectures at Oxford University in 1908 and 1909, William James made a sustained and eloquent case against absolute idealism and intellectualism in philosophy. Ever since Socrates and Plato, the philosophy of the absolute had held  More...

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Book details

List price: $21.95
Copyright year: 1996
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publication date: 10/1/1996
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 405
Size: 5.40" wide x 8.00" long x 0.80" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

In his famous lectures at Oxford University in 1908 and 1909, William James made a sustained and eloquent case against absolute idealism and intellectualism in philosophy. Ever since Socrates and Plato, the philosophy of the absolute had held sway—the emphasis on essence at the expense of concrete appearance, the insistence on a coherent universe, abstract, timeless, finished, enclosed in its totality. James’s own thinking led him to renounce monistic idealism and the intellectualization of all “truth.” nbsp; Going against the grain of entrenched philosophy, James argues inA Pluralistic Universethat the world is not a uni-verse but a multi-verse. He honors the human experience of manyness and disconnection (and various kinds of unity) in the world of flux and sensation, a world that is discounted scornfully by the monists. “Pluralistic empiricism,” as James called it, permits intellectual freedom, while the artificial concepts of monism do not. It approaches the only reality that has any meaning, one that follows the pattern of daily experience.A Pluralistic Universe, likeSome Problems in PhilosophyandEssays in Radical Empiricism(also available as Bison Books), is basic to an understanding of James’s thought.

William James, oldest of five children (including Henry James and Alice James) in the extraordinary James family, was born in New York City on January 11, 1842. He has had a far-reaching influence on writers and thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Broadly educated by private tutors and through European travel, James initially studied painting. During the Civil War, however, he turned to medicine and physiology, attended Harvard medical school, and became interested in the workings of the mind. His text, The Principles of Psychology (1890), presents psychology as a science rather than a philosophy and emphasizes the connection between the mind and the body. James believed in free will and the power of the mind to affect events and determine the future. In The Will to Believe (1897) and The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), he explores metaphysical concepts and mystical experiences. He saw truth not as absolute but as relative, depending on the given situation and the forces at work in it. He believed that the universe was not static and orderly but ever-changing and chaotic. His most important work, Pragmatism (1907), examines the practical consequences of behavior and rejects the idealist philosophy of the transcendentalists. This philosophy seems to reinforce the tenets of social Darwinism and the idea of financial success as the justification of the means in a materialistic society; nevertheless, James strove to demonstrate the practical value of ethical behavior. Overall, James's lifelong concern with what he called the "stream of thought" or "stream of consciousness" changed the way writers conceptualize characters and present the relationship between humans, society, and the natural world. He died due to heart failure on August 26, 1910.

Introduction
The Types of Philosophic Thinking
Lecture I: The Types of Philosophic Thinking
Monistic Idealism
Lecture II
Hegel and His Method
Lecture III
Concerning Fechner
Lecture IV
The Compounding of Consciousness
Lecture V
Bergson and His Critique of Intellectualism
Lecture VI
The Continuity of Experience
Lecture VII
Conclusions
Lecture VIII
Notes
Appendices
Index

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