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The Correspondence of William James (volume8)

by William James

  • ISBN: 9780813919263
  • ISBN10: 0813919266

The Correspondence of William James (volume8)

by William James

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Virginia Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780813919263
  • ISBN10: 0813919266
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Description: During this period, James struggles against various temptations, never completely successfully, to devote all of his attention to philosophy, the first and great love of his life. To this end, he published The Will to Believe with a promise to set out more formally his system of radical empiricism. The volume helps document the reception of the book and the controversy to which the title essay gave rise, a controversy the main issues of which have once again returned to the forefront of philosophical discussion, placing James in the middle of postmodernist discussion. His 1898 tour of California, where he delivered his lecture "Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results", the start of the pragmatism controversy, also belongs to the period of the present volume. Among the distractions from philosophy are his 1896 Lowell Institute lectures on exceptional mental states and the Gifford Lectures on varieties of religious experience, on which he began work in the late 1890s. His new philosophical correspondents are the Polish nationalist and messianist Wincenty Lutoslawski and Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller, the future strategist of the pragmatism controversy.

James becomes a public philosopher whose views were sought on the problems of the day. To James's great dismay, the United States was becoming an imperial power: the Venezuela crisis and the Spanish-American War elicit his outrage. France was being torn apart by the Dreyfus Affair and James expresses strong sympathies for Dreyfus and the intellectuals. The race question was coming to the forefront, and Booker T. Washington enters the list of correspondents.

His family continued to take up much of his attention. As hischildren grew older, they became the recipients of numerous didactic, affectionate, and playful letters from a father often at a distance.

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