The Unity of William James's Thought

The Unity of William James's Thought

by Wesley Cooper


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Wesley Cooper opposes the traditional view of William Jamesís philosophy which dismissed it as fragmented or merely popular, arguing instead that there is a systematic philosophy to be found in James's writings. His doctrine of pure experience is the binding thread that links his earlier psychological theorizing to his later epistemological, religious, and pragmatic concerns.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826513878
Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
Publication date: 06/03/2002
Series: Vanderbilt Library of American Philosophy Series
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Wesley Cooper is professor of philosophy at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. In addition to his interest in James, he is working on a neo-pragmatic theory of rational belief and rational choice. The philosophy of computing and cyberculture is his philosophical hobby.

Table of Contents

1Introduction: James's Philosophical System1
James's Beans1
Seven Obstacles11
A Brief Biography28
Methodological Considerations33
2Consciousness I: The Two-Levels View36
Four Interpretations36
Protomental and Essentially Mental40
Neutral Monism63
The Case for Panpsychism64
Empirical and Metaphysical Reality67
3Consciousness II: Mental Causation74
Simultaneous Nomic Equivalents76
4Consciousness III: Mind Dust97
Mind Dust99
The Connection Principle100
The Taylor-Wozniak Interpretation102
Esse Est Sentiri106
5The Self: Its Freedom and Unity111
Self, God, and Mysticism111
Myers's Mystery111
The Two-Levels Analysis of the Self114
The Self in The Principles115
Scientific and Metaphysical Levels117
James's Shoehorn120
The Spiritual Self121
The Original Force123
Empirical and Metaphysical Thinkers126
Two Conceptions of Self-Synthesis127
Self-Definition and the Closest-Continuer Theory129
The Active Self132
James's Radical-Empiricist Mysticism133
6God: Imminent Purpose137
Slipping into Pure Experience137
God's Place in the Two-Levels View139
Purposive Structure140
Dogmatic versus Pragmatic Theology141
Pragmatic Toleration of Overbelief144
Analogizing to a Higher Purpose147
A Pantheistic Theism147
A Real God?149
7The Mystical: Its Role in the Two-Levels View152
Poohbahism Redux152
Self, Subjectivity, and Privacy154
Mysticism and Science157
Gale's Critique of Absolute Truth163
Pure Experience Revisited165
8Pragmatism I: Pragmatism and Radical Empiricism168
The Serpent's Trail168
Ramsifying Pure Experience171
The Tightly Wedged Mind173
Functionalism, Global Functionalism, and Ramsey Sentences175
Mentalistic and Nonmentalistic Phenomenalism177
Intermediary and Nonintermediary Phenomena178
Embracing a Reductio?182
James's Blues Dispelled185
9Pragmatism II: Meaning188
Pragmatic Meaning188
Meaning or Conception189
Shuttling Again192
10Pragmatism III: Belief195
The "Master Syllogism"195
Maximizing Desire Satisfaction198
One World or Many?201
11Pragmatism IV: Rationality and Truth204
Constraining Subjectivity206
Absolute Truth and Half-Truth208
Two Dimensions of Macroagency211
The Logic of Subjectivity in Belief215
Realism and Correspondence219
12Ethics I: Morality Made Flesh222
Consequentialism and Deontology226
Moral Intuition235
Relatively Objective Moral Judgments237
James's Tie-Maker238
13Ethics II: Jamesian Moral Constructivism240

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