Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (Harvard Paperbacks) (The Works of William James)

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9780674697379: Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (Harvard Paperbacks) (The Works of William James)
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Pragmatism is the most famous single work of American philosophy. Its sequel, The Meaning of Truth, is its imperative and inevitable companion. The definitive texts of both works are here available for the first time in one volume, with an introduction by the distinguished contemporary philosopher A. J. Ayer. In Pragmatism James attacked the transcendental, rationalist tradition in philosophy and tried to clear the ground for the doctrine he called radical empiricism. When first published, the book caused an uproar. It was greeted with praise, hostility, ridicule. Determined to clarify his views, James collected nine essays he had written on this subject before he wrote Pragmatism and six written later in response to criticisms by Bertrand Russell and others. He published The Meaning of Truth in 1909, the year before his death. These two works show James at his best full of verve and good humor. Intent upon making difficult ideas clear, he is characteristically vigorous in his effort to make them prevail.

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About 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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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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