Essays in Radical Empiricism

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Courier Dover Publications, Sep 18, 2003 - Mathematics - 149 pages
2 Reviews
These 12 pieces display the influential philosopher's preoccupation with ultimate reality and his turn toward a metaphysical system. Originally published in journals between 1904 and 1906, these essays argue in favor of a pluralistic universe. James denies that experience can be defined in terms of an absolute force determining the relationships between things and events.
  

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Review: Essays in Radical Empiricism

User Review  - Vladimir - Goodreads

Somewhat more difficult to read than Pragmatism or Principles of Psychology. (Note to publishers: do not hesitate to translate all the Latin and German quotes.) Most of what he talks about here has ... Read full review

Review: Essays in Radical Empiricism

User Review  - Marcus Lira - Goodreads

I like the first chapter quite a lot, in which he presents consciousness as a function, and not as an entity. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Does Consciousness Exist?
1
A World of Pure Experience
21
The Thing and Its Relations
48
How Two Minds Can Know One Thing
65
The Place of Affectional Facts in a World of Pure Experience
72
The Experience of Activity
81
The Essence of Humanism
100
The Notion of Consciousness
109
Is Radical Empiricism Solipsistic?
123
Mr Pitkins Refutation of Radical Empiricism
127
Humanism and Truth Once More
129
Absolutism and Empiricism
140
Index
147
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About the author (2003)

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.

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