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American Philosophy


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Pragmatism, Old And New: Selected Writings edited by Susan Haack, Robert Lane (Prometheus Books) Morris R. Cohen once described Pragmatism as "a philosophy for people who cannot think"; and Bertrand Russell feared that Pragmatism would lead philosophy into "cosmic impiety." Nothing could be further from the truth. Pragmatism was one of the most fruitful philosophical movements of the late nineteenth century, and has continued to be a significant influence on some of the major figures in philosophy—F. P. Ramsey, W. V. Quine, Sidney Hook, Nelson Goodman, Hilary Putnam, and many others.

Today some even speak of a remarkable renaissance of Pragmatism. Very often, though, what they have in mind is not the rich heritage of the classical Pragmatist tradition, but a radical self-styled neo-Pragmatism that has of late transmuted the reformist aspirations of classical Pragmatism into a kind of revolutionary anti-intellectualism—a radical neo-Pragmatism that seems to confirm Russell’s worst fears.

Asking what we can learn from the older Pragmatist tradition, and what we can salvage from the intellectual shipwreck of the new, Susan Haack, with the assistance of Robert Lane, has put together a wide-ranging anthology that tells the story of the evolution of Pragmatism from its origins in C. S. Peirce’s hopes of making philosophy more scientific and William James’s of "unstiffening our theories," to the radical literary-political neo-Pragmatism recently popularized by Richard Rorty. Opening with a history of Pragmatism from its inception to the present day, and closing with Haack’s famous "interview" with Peirce and Rorty, the book presents a broad and diverse selection of Pragmatist writings—classical and contemporary, reformist and revolutionary—on logic, metaphysics, theory of inquiry, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, aesthetics, philosophy of education, and moral, social, and political philosophy.

Excerpt: Though some key themes are already discernible in the remarkable series of anti-Cartesian papers that Charles Sanders Peirce published in the late 1860s, the roots of prag­matism are usually traced to Peirce's discussions with William James at the Metaphysical Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the early 1870s. This "classical" pragmatist tradition, the only school of philosophy native to the United States, continued to flourish in the work of John Dewey and George Herbert Mead, and its influence eventually extended well beyond the United States: through Ludwig Wittgenstein's reading of James, Frank Ramsey's of Peirce, and F. C. S. Schiller's relativistic "Humanism," to Britain; mainly through James's influence, elsewhere in Europe; and, through Dewey's work, to China.

Both Peirce and James conceived of pragmatism less as a body of doctrine than as a method: the pragmatic maxim of meaning, which they hoped could bring interminable but meaningless disputes to a halt and provide a way of tackling legitimate philosophical prob­lems. (But though, in its focus on a criterion of meaning, pragmatism was somewhat like the later Logical Positivism, unlike Logical Pos­itivism classical pragmatism was anti-metaphysical neither in intent nor in effect.) So as you might expect, far from being a monolithic philosophy, classical pragmatism was flexible and various in its manifestations—various, moreover, in two significantly different ways. For one thing, the different pragmatist philosophers had very divergent backgrounds and interests: Peirce, a chemist by training, conceived of himself as first and foremost a logician, and was thor­oughly steeped in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant; James, once aspiring to be an artist but trained, at his father's insistence, as a physician, was preoccupied with religion and psychology, and described himself as a follower of John Stuart Mill; Dewey, who as a young man was a follower of G. W. F. Hegel, had a profound con­cern with both political philosophy and philosophy of education, and saw philosophy, education, and democracy as intimately intercon­nected; Mead's focus was to develop a new approach to psychology at once profoundly Darwinian and profoundly social. This kind of variousness is well expressed in a famous analogy of Giovanni Papini, likening pragmatism to "a corridor in a hotel. Innumerable chambers open out of it. In one you may find a man writing an aes­thetic volume; in the next someone on his knees praying for faith; in a third a chemist investigating a body's properties. . . . They all own the corridor, and all must pass through it."

But pragmatism was also various in another, and perhaps less benign, way. Peirce and James had rather different understandings of the pragmatic maxim: According to Peirce's statement of the maxim, meaning consists in the pragmatische, i.e., experiential, consequences of a concept's applying; according to James's, it con­sists in the pragmatic, i.e., the practical, consequences of belief. And from the beginning there were more and less radical strains within pragmatism: from Peirce's aspiration to a reformed, scien­tific philosophy, and his insistence that "Truth is SO, whether you or I or anyone believes it is so or not"; through James's hope of making room for religious belief and his characterizations of truth as "verifiability," "successful leading," "the expedient in the way of belief'; to Dewey's reconstructed epistemology, in which knowing constitutes or alters its objects; not to mention Schiller's overtly Protagorean relativism—the "butt-end foremost" style of pragmatism, as James put it.

Peirce, who didn't use "pragmatism" in print until after James had made it famous, later wrote that he had always feared that readers might not understand that he used the word, not in its ordinary sense (presumably, its then-ordinary sense: officious meddlesomeness), but in a technical philosophical sense. By 1903, evidently feeling that his worst fears had been realized, he introduced a new word, to distinguish his philosophy not only from James's and the others' vari­ants of pragmatism, but more especially to distance himself from the vulgarizations "pragmatism" had suffered in the literary journals: "pragmaticism," which he hoped would be "ugly enough to be safe from kidnappers."

In recent and contemporary philosophy, the influence of classical pragmatism has continued in the work of (among many others) C. I. Lewis, Sidney Hook, W. V. Quine, Morton G. White, and Hilary Putnam in the United States, and Umberto Eco, Jurgen Habermas, and Karl-Otto Apel in Europe. And then there is the radical style of neo-pragmatism ushered in by Richard Rorty's announcements of a revolutionary, "post-philosophical" era in which truth is conceived, not as faithful representation, but as conversational agreement; in which traditional epistemological and metaphysical questions are abandoned; and in which philos­ophy gives up its aspirations to emulate the natural sciences and is remade as a genre of literature, "just a kind of writing." Under­standably, this radical neo-pragmatism has not generally been warmly welcomed in mainstream philosophy; but it has had considerable influence elsewhere: in the humanities, especially in departments of literature; in the social sciences; and among those who find Rorty's political message of "social hope" appealing.

No anthology could do full justice to a school of philosophy as rich, as complex, and as replete with competing and even contradictory ideas as pragmatism. But I have included something of Peirce's notable contributions to logic, metaphysics, and theory of inquiry; of James's to philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and ethics; of Dewey's to political philosophy, philosophy of education, epistemology, and philosophy of art; and of Mead's to the foundations of social psychology—enough, I hope, to convey the extraordinary range and richness of classical pragmatism. And I have made a point of including, among my selections from recent and contemporary sympathizers with pragmatism, work representative both of the more conservative, reformist wing and of the more radical, revolutionary wing. My introduction traces the history of pragma­tism, old and new, and my epilogue—an imaginary conversation between Peirce and Rorty, compiled from their own words—illus­trates the radical disagreements, on virtually every important philo­sophical topic, between one of the founders of the old pragmatism and one of the most influential contemporary proponents of the new.

The Cambridge School of Pragmatism, 4 volumes edited by Andre De Tienne, John R. Shook (The Foundations of Pragmatism in American Thought Series: Thoemmes Continuum) Volume 1: Preface by John R. Shook Introduction by Andre De Tienne The Pragmaticism of Charles S. Peirce Volume 2: Introduction by John R. Shook The Pragmatism of William James Volume 3: Introduction by Randall E. Auxier, The Pragmatic Idealisms of Josiah Royce and John E. Boodin Volume 4: Introduction by John R. Shook, The Pragmatic Naturalisms of George Santayana and Clarence I. Lewis 

Excerpt: The Cambridge School of Pragmatism consisted of the founders of pragmatism, Charles S. Peirce and William James, along with Josiah Royce and the next generation of their pragmatic-minded doctoral students at Harvard University from the 1880s to 1910. The most prominent of these students, included in this four-volume set, were George Santayana, John Elof Boodin, and Clarence Irving Lewis. The members of the Cambridge School of Pragmatism all lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a portion of their careers and had a relationship with Harvard University. Peirce, a graduate of Harvard, first formulated the principle of pragmatism during meetings of the Metaphysical Club in private homes around Cambridge during the early 1870s. Peirce later gave lectures in Cambridge elaborating upon his views, which he had come to label "pragmaticism." The foremost promoter of pragmatism to both the academic and public realms was Peirce's close friend William James, also a Harvard graduate and a member of the Metaphysical Club, who taught as a professor of psychology and philosophy at Harvard for many years.

These two giants of American philosophy, whose key writings on pragmatism are contained in the set's first two volumes, in turn deeply influenced several other prominent Cambridge philosophers who incorporated pragmatism into their systems of thought. The philosophies of Josiah Royce and John Elof Boodin, represented in the third volume, were the most important pragmatic varieties of American idealism during the first half of the twentieth century. The philosophies of George Santayana and C. I. Lewis, represented in the fourth volume, were the most significance varieties of pragmatic naturalism in American philosophy during that same era.

The Cambridge School of Pragmatism brings together in one collection the most significant and influential writings about pragmatism by these major American philosophers. Each volume also contains a select number of critical responses to their views, by other pragmatists as well as non-pragmatists. By bringing together this assembly of key writings, scholars and students will be able to focus on the pragmatic thought of each of these thinkers, and then also critically compare their positions to appreciate these convergent and divergent views on pragmatism. Together with the companion set, The Chicago School of Pragmatism (2001), scholars can access a complete collection of the central writings by the founders and early participants in the pragmatism movement in American philosophy from the 1870s to the 1930s. Spanning roughly fifty years, the 110 pieces of The Cambridge School of Pragmatism are brought together from several dozens of now obscure and increasingly rare books, journals, and archival sources. Editorial modifications are limited to spelling, punctuation, and footnote corrections, to keep as close to the original as possible. This collection will be indispensable for the study of American intellectual history, and especially the evolution of American philosophy. - John R. Shook


Volume 1: Introduction by Andre De Tienne, The Pragmaticism of Charles S. Peirce Contents:

Preface, John R. Shook

Introduction, Andre De Tienne

Section One: Writings by Charles S. Peirce

"The Fixation of Belief." Popular Science Monthly 12.11 (November 1877): 1-15.

"How to Make Our Ideas Clear." Popular Science Monthly 12.1 (January 1878): 286-302.

"The Law of Mind." The Monist 2.3 (July 1892): 533-559.

"Pragmatism." Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, ed. James Mark Baldwin (New York: Macmillan, 1902), vol. 2, pp. 321, 322.

"The Maxim of Pragmatism." R 301, Harvard Lecture 1, 26 March 1903.

"Pragmatism as the Logic of Abduction." R 315, Harvard Lecture 7, 14 May 1903.

"What Pragmatism Is." The Monist 15.2 (April 1905): 161-181. "Pragmaticism." R 291, summer 1905.

"Issues of Pragmaticism." The Monist 15.4 (October 1905): 481-499.

"The Basis of Pragmaticism." R 283, January 1906. "Pragmatism." R 318, Spring 1907.

Section Two: Memorials and Remembrances of Peirce

Francis C. Russell. "In Memoriam Charles S. Peirce." The Monist 24.3 (July 1914): 469-472.

Ellery W. Davis. "Charles Peirce at Johns Hopkins." Mid-West Quarterly 2.1 (October 1914): 48-56.

Josiah Royce and Fergus Kernan. "Charles Sanders Peirce." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 13.26 (21 December 1916): 701-709.

John Dewey. "The Pragmatism of Peirce." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 13.26

(21 December 1916): 709-715.

Christine Ladd-Franklin. "Charles S. Peirce at the Johns Hopkins." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific

Methods 13.26 (21 December 1916): 715-722.

Joseph Jastrow. "Charles S. Peirce as a Teacher." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 13.26 (21 December 1916): 723-726.

Morris R. Cohen. From "Charles S. Peirce and a Tentative Bibliography of His Published Writings." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 13.26 (21 December 1916): 726-733.

Section Three: Evaluations of Peirce's Pragmatism, 1920-1941

Ogden, C. K. and I. A. Richards. "C. S. Peirce." The Meaning of Meaning (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1923), Appendix D, Section 6, pp. 279-290.

John Henry Muirhead. "Peirce's Place in American Philosophy."
Philosophical Review 37.5 (September 1928): 460-481.

Charles Hartshorne. "Continuity, the Form of Forms, in Charles Peirce." The Monist 39.4 (October 1929): 521-534.

Ernest Nagel. "Charles Peirce's Guesses at the Riddle." Journal of Philosophy 30.14 (6 July 1933): 365-386, 31.7 (29 March 1934): 188-190, 31.21 (11 October 1934): 582-583, 33.4 (13 February 1936): 107-109.

John Dewey. "Peirce's Theory of Quality." Journal of Philosophy 32.26 (19 December 1935): 701-708.

Justus Buchler. "The Pragmatism of Charles Sanders Peirce." Psyche 17 (1937): 92-131.

Ernest Nagel. "Charles S. Peirce, Pioneer of Modern Empiricism." Philosophy of Science 7.1 (January 1940): 69-80.

Paul Weiss. "The Essence of Peirce's System." Journal of Philosophy 37.10 (9 May 1940): 253-264.

Justus Buchler. "The Accidents of Peirce's System." Journal of Philosophy 37.10 (9 May 1940): 264-269.


Excerpt: Charles S. Peirce's turn toward pragmatism began as early as his first reading of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in the mid to late 1850s. Some say that it began even earlier, when the young Charles was given a chemistry kit to play with and set out to initiate himself to the art of scientific observation and inference. Indeed, it was not long afterward, as rudiments of logic began to seep in his brain at age twelve, that he started to wonder about the art behind the art, the ars artis of the logic of reasoning and discovery.

A voracious reader, young Peirce had become well acquainted with the entire scope of the western history of philosophy by the time he reached his mid-twenties. He had studied the ancients, the scholastics, the moderns, and his own contemporaries, always with a burning desire to understand not so much their representations of man, nature, the universe, or the deity, as their theories of theory, their explanations of the activity of thinking, of concep­tualizing, of finding truth, and of the fundamental nature of the reality that allowed such activity to take place. Peirce (1839-1914) was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at a time when Harvard University was the center of the American intellectual universe, the dew point at once of the literary, the humanistic, and the scientific atmospheres. Peirce witnessed the fast-paced evolution of an academic institution attuned to the latest advances of thought. The optimism that prevailed in all departments of inquiry was infectious and contributed to Peirce's early conviction that devoting his life to studying the inner mechanisms of sound reasoning would help philosophers and scientists overcome the age-old anxiety of wondering, always, whether one could ever trust in reason's capacity to grasp a reality that constantly seems to elude just as new explanations get formulated.


Volume 2: Introduction by John R. Shook, The Pragmatism of William James Index


Introduction, John R. Shook

Section One: Writings by William James

"Remarks on Spencer's Definition of Mind as Correspondence." Journal of Speculative Philosophy 12.1 (January 1878): 1-18.

"The Sentiment of Rationality." Mind o.s. 4.3 (July 1879): 317-346.

"On the Function of Cognition." Mind o.s. 10.1 (January 1885): 27-44.

"The Perception of Reality." The Principles of Psychology

(New York: Henry Holt, 1890), vol. 2, chap. 21, pp. 283-322.

"The Will to Believe." The Will to Believe and Other Essays in

Popular Philosophy (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1897), chap. 1, pp. 1-31.

"Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results." The University (of California) Chronicle 1 (September 1898): 287-310.

"Pragmatism." Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology,

ed. James Mark Baldwin (New York: Macmillan, 1902), vol. 2, pp. 321.

"What Pragmatism Means." Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1907), chap. 2, pp. 43-81.

"Pragmatism's Conception of Truth." Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1907), chap. 6, pp. 197-236.

"Humanism and Truth." The Meaning of Truth (New York:
Longmans, Green and Co., 1909), chap. 3, pp. 51-101.

"The Pragmatist Account of Truth and its Misunderstanders."

The Meaning of Truth (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1909), chap. 8, pp. 180-216.

"The Meaning of the Word Truth." The Meaning of Truth (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1909), chap. 9, pp. 217-220.

Section Two: Memorials and Remembrances of James

Horace M. Kallen. "William James." The Nation 91.10 (8 September 1910): 210-211.

Giovanni Papini. "William James." La`Voce 2 (8 September 1910): 391.

John Dewey. "William James." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology
and Scientific Methods 7.19 (15 September 1910): 505-508.

Eric S. Waterhouse. "Professor William James." London Quarterly Review 114.2 (October 1910): 317-320.

Wilhelm Jerusalem. "William James." Die Zukunft 73.6 (5 November 1910): 186-190.

Walter Lippmann. "An Open Mind: William James." Everybody's Magazine 23.12 (December 1910): 800-801.

James R. Angell. "William James." Psychological Review 18.1 (January 1911): 78-82.

Emile Boutroux. "William James: Life and Personality." William James, trans. Archibald Henderson and Barbara Henderson (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1912), pp. 10-18.

Section Three: Evaluations of James's Pragmatism, 1910-1940

Bertrand Russell. "William James's Conception of Truth." Philosophical Essays (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1910), chap. 5, pp. 127-149.

Josiah Royce. "James as a Philosopher." Science n.s. 34.863 (14 July 1911): 33-45.

George Santayana. "William James." Character and Opinion in the United States (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920), chap. 3, pp. 64-96.

Horace M. Kallen. "America and the Life of Reason. II." Journal of Philosophy 18.21 (13 October 1921): 568-575.

Jacques Maritain. "William James and His Impetuous Philosophy." Living Age 311.4036 (12 November 1921): 392-396.

Henri Bergson. "Preface." William James: Extraits de sa correspondance, ed. Floris Delattre and Maurice Le Breton (Paris: Payot, 1924), pp. 7-12.

F. C. S. Schiller. "William James and the Making of Pragmatism." The Personalist 8.2 (April 1927): 81-93.

Ralph B. Perry. "The Place of William James in the History of Empiricism." Proceedings of the Seventh International Congress of Philosophy, ed. Gilbert Ryle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1931), pp. 480-486.

John Dewey. "The Philosophy of William James." Southern Review 2.3 (Winter 1937): 447-461.

John Dewey. "The Vanishing Subject in the Psychology of James."
Journal of Philosophy 37.22 (24 October 1940): 589-599.




Excerpt: William James was born in New York City on 11 January 1842. His father, Henry James Sr., was a wealthy and religious intellectual who had close relationships to many prominent literary figures, including the transcenden­talist Ralph Waldo Emerson. The origin and justification of faith in personal religious experience, a central principle for Protestantism and transcenden­talism, became James's own philosophical view. James's father provided his children with an unusual education while the family lived in a variety of cities across America and Europe. His younger brother, Henry James, became one of America's most important novelists whose writings display a deep affection for European culture. William's own preference was for America and its peoples' love of adventure and invention.

After abandoning painting, James studied biology, quickly accepting Darwin's theory of evolution. He pursued a medical degree at Harvard University and graduated with the M.D. in 1869. In 1872 James began teaching physiology at Harvard, but his primary interest was psychology, especially the physiological and experimental psychology that he had seen during earlier travels to Europe. James was permitted to teach this psychology at Harvard starting in 1875, and he founded the first psychological laboratory in America. Since psychology theorized about the mind's operations, it was then considered as a part of philosophy, and James became a professor of both psychology and philosophy. Through the 1880s he wrote about consciousness and the functions of the mind, and published The Principles of Psychology in 1890.

The Principles of Psychology is still the most important and provocative psychological text ever written by an American. John Dewey's philosophy was deeply influenced by this work. Some of the writings of his friend Charles Peirce closely supported James's views on belief and truth. James announced in 1898 that he also was a pragmatist, and defended his version of empirical pragmatism against the other two dominant philosophies of that time, realism and idealism. His entire career was devoted to teaching at Harvard University. His most famous book, Pragmatism, was published in 1907. Until James's death in Chocoura, New Hampshire on 26 August 1910, he wrote about experience and mental concepts, applications of the pragmatic theory of truth to morality, religion, and science, and his vision of a pluralistic metaphysics.


Volume 3: Introduction by Randall E. Auxier, The Pragmatic Idealisms of Josiah Royce and John E. Boodin Index


Introduction, Randall E. Auxier

Section One: Writings by Josiah Royce

"The Eternal and the Practical." Philosophical Review 13.2 (March 1904): 113-142.

"Loyalty, Truth, and Reality." The Philosophy of Loyalty (New York: Macmillan, 1908), chap. 7, pp. 301-348.

"The Problem of Truth in the Light of Recent Discussion." William James and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Life (New York: Macmillan, 1911), chap. 4, pp. 187-254.

"Error and Truth." Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics,

ed. James Hastings (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1912), vol. 5, pp. 366-373.

"The World and the Will." Sources of Religious Insight (Edinburgh: T.&T. Clark, 1912), chap. 4, sections IV—VII, pp. 135-161.

"The Will to Interpret." The Problem of Christianity

(New York: Macmillan, 1913), vol. 2, chap. 12, pp. 167-221.

"The Doctrine of Signs." The Problem of Christianity

(New York: Macmillan, 1913), vol. 2, chap, 14, pp. 279-325.

"Some Psychological Problems Emphasized by Pragmatism." Popular Science Monthly 83.10 (October 1913): 394-411.

"On Absolute Pragmatism." Selection from "The Principles of Logic" in Logic, vol. 1 of Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences, ed. Arnold Ruge and Henry Jones (London: Macmillan, 1913), pp. 120-123.

"The Social Character of Scientific Inquiry." Lecture Three of "The 1914 Berkeley Conferences" in Josiah Royce's Late Writings: A Collection of Unpublished and Scattered Works,

ed. Frank M. Oppenheim (Bristol, UK: Thoemmes Press, 2001), vol. 2, pp. 20-39.

Section Two: Evaluations of Royce on Pragmatism

Charles S. Peirce. "Review of Royce, The World and the Individual, Second Series." The Nation 75 (31 July 1902): 94-96.

John Dewey. "A Reply to Professor Royce's Critique of Instrumentalism." Philosophical Review 21.1 (January 1912): 69-81.

Douglas C. Macintosh. "Royce and Boodin." Selection from The Problem of Knowledge (New York: Macmillan, 1915), chap. 17, pp. 384-390, 395-396.

John Dewey. "Voluntarism in the Roycean Philosophy."
Philosophical Review 25.3 (May 1916): 245-254.

George Dykhuizen. "The Early Pragmatism of Josiah Royce." The Personalist 18.2 (April 1937): 126-133.

Section Three: Writings by John Elof Boodin

"The Ought and Reality." International Journal of Ethics 17.4 (July 1907): 454-474.

"The Postulates of Truth." Truth and Reality: An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge (New York: Macmillan, 1911), chap. 7, pp. 123-145.

"What Pragmatism Is and Is Not." Truth and Reality:
An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge

(New York: Macmillan, 1911), chap. 10, pp. 186-199.

"Pragmatic Realism." Truth and Reality: An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge (New York: Macmillan, 1911), chap. 14, pp. 251-258.

"Pragmatic Energism." A Realistic Universe: An Introduction to Metaphysics (New York: Macmillan, 1916), chap. 3, pp. 33-61.

"Biographical." Contemporary American Philosophy: Personal Statements, ed. George P. Adams and William P. Montague (New York: Macmillan, 1930), vol. 1, pp. 136-142.

"Nature and Reason." Contemporary American Philosophy: Personal Statements, ed. George P. Adams and

William P. Montague (New York: Macmillan, 1930), vol. 1, pp. 143-166.

"Functional Realism." Philosophical Review 43.2 (March 1934): 147-178.

Section Four: Evaluations of Boodin on Pragmatism

Charles B. Vibbert. "Review of John Elof Boodin, Truth and Reality: An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 12.2 (21 January 1915): 48-53.

F. C. S. Schiller. "Review of John Elof Boodin, A Realistic Universe." Mind 28.3 (July 1919): 362-365.




Excerpt: Royce's Pragmatism
This is not the place for a full scale assessment of the extent to which Royce might be called a "pragmatist,' although a tremendous amount of work has been done on this topic already by, among others, Frank M. Oppenheim. (Oppenheim's numerous writings on Royce would not be easy to list, but concerning this question of his relationship to pragmatism, they culminate in his colossal study, Reverence for the Relations of Life: Re-imagining Pragmatism via Josiah Royce's Interactions with Peirce, James and Dewey (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004). So thorough is this study that it leaves one little to say by way of addition.) What is wanted here is a summary of Royce's commitment to pragmatism and a sense of what he took it to be. Pragmatism can be summarized as involving the following key ideas:

  1. a commitment to the primacy of experience as the source and the final test of the value of philosophical reflection;
  2. that philosophical reflection is a kind of critical problem-solving activity that needs to take its impetus from genuine (as opposed to hyper­bolic) doubt;
  3. that truth is understood in light of the way it addresses problems and genuine doubt in practice;
  4. that practice and practical consequences are the measure of the value of philosophy, not vice-versa.

This is admittedly over-simplified, but it is enough to help us grasp Royce's pragmatism. Regarding the first of these, consider the following from Royce's 1895 address "The Conception of God":

All that we know or can know ... must first be indicated to us through our experience. Without experience, without the element of brute fact thrust upon us in immediate feeling, there is no knowledge.... I absolutely accept this view. This is true and there is no escape from the fact. Apart from – that is, in divorce from – experience, there is no knowledge. And we come to know only what experience has first indicated to us. I willingly insist that philosophy and life must join hands in asserting this truth.2

The primacy of experience does not, for Royce mean simply, as with Kant, that we cannot philosophize in the absence of experience in general. Royce insists rather that particular experience is the source of all knowing, and that what is known is never without its contextual dependence upon particular experience. There is no "experience in general," but only the further clarifi­cation of practical experiences that accumulate as the history of the individual grows. Royce means by "experience" approximately what Dewey and James mean by it, and all of them are in some way or another beholden to Peirce's articulation of the question…

Boodin's Pragmatism

In to this very breach between the radical-empirical pragmatism and the ideal­istic pragmatism stepped John Elof Boodin (1869-1950). Boodin was at Harvard from 1897 to 1900, and was influenced about equally by James and Royce. He was extra-ordinarily sensitive to both the similarities of their views and the differences, and in many ways his life's work can be read as an effort to reconcile what each had right. Boodin is certainly not the only Harvard product who attempted this synthesis – William Ernest Hocking and George Herbert Mead come immediately to mind as other distinguished synthesizers. But Boodin was probably the most balanced and indeed, in my judgment, the best at balancing the competing claims without sacrificing anything true. Boodin had a talent for metaphysics that Dewey and James lacked, and while he was not the logician that Peirce or Royce was, he was far more adept with it than James or Dewey. Boodin also had tremendous patience with the inter­pretation of empirical data, surpassing the patience of Royce, if not quite equaling the patience of James. Of course, Peirce was enormously patient with nature, but less so with people. Boodin was a better writer than any of the four major pragmatists, including James, and this makes Boodin's work pleasant to encounter. In what follows I will restrict myself to discussion of those aspects of Boodin's thought most relevant to pragmatism.


Boodin's work encompasses a number of books, and because it is practi­cally unknown today, I will make an effort to summarize the whole gist of his thinking in the remainder of this introduction so that readers can better contextualize the excerpts presented here. Most of these excerpts come from Boodin's 1911 book Truth and Reality, and this is indeed a programmatic statement of the books that were to follow as Boodin built his system of thought. Let me therefore speak of "truth" and "reality," in reverse order.

Reality. Boodin articulates an original version of Royce's "Fourth Conception of Being." Royce had argued in The World and the Individual that there were really four historical conceptions of Being in philosophy, four general senses in which philosophers say "it is": realism (to be is to be independent); mysticism (independence is mere appearance, belying a deeper immediate unity of all that is); critical rationalism (to say that something is means to have an objectively valid idea of it); and Royce's own view that to be is to be uniquely related to a totality or a whole. In this adeptly dialectical survey, Royce reduces each of the first three conceptions to absurdity and contradiction, and their susceptibility to such reduction is the main justifi­cation for embracing the Fourth Conception. Without necessarily accepting Royce's criticisms of realism, mysticism and critical rationalism, Boodin embraces the Fourth Conception and actually employs it to restore to realism, mysticism and critical rationalism a share of the truth by placing them in perspective and context. Hence, Boodin's metaphysics is constructive where Royce's is more critical.

To realists Boodin concedes that discreteness is a genuine feature of the universe, especially the discreteness of individual selves, but he defines the relation not as pure independence, but as "reference to an object existing beyond the apperceptive unity of momentary individual consciousness." (TR 251) Here we see how the Fourth Conception of Being may be brought to bear on the reality of discrete individuals, and Boodin is an ardent advocate of realism in this sense. This is a kind of metaphysical (in the Kantian sense of "scientific metaphysics") contextualism. To the mystics (the view he favors the least) Boodin concedes that from each and every perspective there is a felt sense of the encompassing whole, but he will not grant to this felt sense any truth claim, only a feeling claim.5 To the critical rationalists Boodin grants that wherever there is a truth about things, it is a species of meanings, and as meanings truth and validity have real existence. Indeed, "the meaning which moulds itself on the constitution of reality; which leads to the intended conse­quences, is precisely the valid meaning." (TR 202) But against the critical rationalists Boodin will not allow that any given instance of such real validity is final, permanent or a priori. Hence, determinate judgments of the under­standing, in the Kantian sense of those terms, are objective only in their aim to refer to objects of actual or possible experience. These judgments are, however, revisable in light of the way that experience grows and changes, as it reconstitutes its objects and judgments in each new durational span. In placing meaning above truth in this way, Boodin anticipates Dewey, the phenomenological movement, and the existentialists. Boodin, then, grants more of a share of the truth about being to the first three conceptions than Royce had, and Boodin is less concerned with criticizing them and more eager to draw from them for his use their portion of the truth. Although Royce, after reducing each of the first three conceptions to absurdity, a priori, often later invoked genuine insights from them and employed versions of them from the point of view of the Fourth Conception, one wonders how such invocation is appropriate after Royce's critique has been so ruthless and total.

For Boodin as for Royce, then, "to be is to be uniquely related to a whole." Boodin calls his version of the Fourth Conception of Being "pragmatic energism." The notion of "energy" was already quite important for Boodin as early as 1907, two years after Einstein had demonstrated its relation to mass and the speed of light, but it is important to point out that James had made a theme of this idea before Einstein, especially in The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902).6 In Truth and Reality Boodin identifies three types of energy – mechanical (involving mass), electrical (including light and magnetism and any other area where mass is not the source of the changes observed – we would today add quantum electrodynamics, for example7), and "conative energies or the differences that our minds can make to each other and to things." (TR 303) While Boodin is unwilling to reduce these three types of energy to two or one, since empirical warrant was and is lacking, pragmat­ically speaking, he nevertheless offers a practical version of the Fourth Conception of Being in defining "relation to" as "making a (predictable) difference to," and this means to possess energy. That is, nothing is real which makes no difference to other things, and energy simply is "ability to make a predictable difference." (TR 303) This sense of the word energy "serves as a convenient name, however thin, for the whole world of process." (TR 303) Here we find epitomized both Boodin's speculative and his pragmatic leanings. He has sufficient pragmatic sagacity to suggest that "energies" are energies because they always make a difference, and then he has the intel­lectual audacity to make an end-run around the mind-body problem by pointing out that mental energies make a difference in the world as surely as do mechanical and electrical energies. Whether mental energies, electrical energies, and mechanical energies are all energies in just the same sense Boodin will not say – because he has no decisive evidence. Yet, he is willing upon this basis to adopt the term "energy" as a "convenient name" for the "whole world of process," and to name his view "energism."


Volume 4: Introduction by John R. Shook, The Pragmatic Naturalisms of George Santayana and Clarence I. Lewis Index


Introduction, John R. Shook

Section One: Writings by George Santayana

"How Thought is Practical." The Life of Reason, vol. 1:

Reason in Common Sense (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1905), chap. 9, pp. 205-235.

"How Religion May Be an Embodiment of Reason."

The Life of Reason, vol. 3: Reason in Religion (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1905), chap. 1, pp. 3-14.

"Psychology." The Life of Reason, vol. 5: Reason in Science (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1906), chap. 5, pp. 126-166.

"The Validity of Science." The Life of Reason, vol. 5: Reason in Science (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1906), chap. 11, pp. 301-320.

"The Efficacy of Thought." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology
and`Scientific Methods 3.15 (19 July 1906): 410-412.

"Russell's Philosophical Essays. II. The Critique of Pragmatism." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 8.5

(2 March 1911): 113-124.

"Belief in Experience." Scepticism and Animal Faith`(New York:
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1923), chap. 15, pp. 134-144.

"Dewey's Naturalistic Metaphysics." Journal of Philosophy 22.25

(3 December 1925): 673-688.

"Adventitious Aspects of Essence." The Realm of Essence

(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927), chap. 3, pp. 26-44.

"Psychological Approaches to Truth." The Realm of Truth

(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1938), chap. 4, pp. 31-38.

Section Two: Evaluations of Santayana on Pragmatism

Addison W. Moore. "Review of George Santayana, The Life of Reason, vols. 1-4." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 3.8 (12 April 1906): 211-221.

John Dewey. "Review of George Santayana, Scepticism and Animal Faith." The New Republic 35 (8 August 1923): 294-296.

John Dewey. "Half-Hearted Naturalism." Journal of Philosophy 24.3 (3 February 1927): 57-64.

Section Three: Writings by C. I. Lewis

"Idea and Object." The Place of Intuition in Knowledge (Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1910), chap. 6, pp. 121-144.

"Professor Santayana and Idealism." University of California Chronicle 14.8 (1912): 192-211.

"Realism and Subjectivism." Journal of Philosophy, Psychology
and Scientific Methods 10.2 (16 January 1913): 43-49.

"A Pragmatic Conception of the A Priori." Journal of Philosophy 20.7 (29 March 1923): 169-177.

"The Nature of the A Priori, and the Pragmatic Element in Knowledge." Mind and the World-Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929), chap. 8, pp. 230-273.

"Experience and Order." Mind and the World-Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929), chap. 11, pp. 345-391.

"Pragmatism and Current Thought." Journal of Philosophy 27.10 (24 April 1930): 238-246.

"Logic and Pragmatism." Contemporary American Philosophy: Personal Statements, ed. George P. Adams and

William P. Montague (New York: Macmillan, 1930), pp. 31-51.

"Experience and Meaning." Philosophical Review 43.2 (March 1934): 125-146.

"Meaning and Action." Journal of Philosophy 36.21 (12 October 1939): 572-576.

"Santayana at Harvard." Journal of Philosophy 51.2 (21 January 1954): 29-31.

"Realism or Phenomenalism?" Philosophical Review 64.2 (April 1955): 233-247.

Section Four: Evaluations of Lewis on Pragmatism

George Boas. "Mr. Lewis's Theory of Meaning." Journal of Philosophy 28.12 (4 June 1931): 314-325.

Arthur E. Murphy. "Mr. Lewis and the A Priori." Journal of Philosophy 29.7 (31 March 1932): 169-181.

James B. Pratt. "Logical Positivism and Professor Lewis." Journal of Philosophy 31.26 (20 December 1934): 701-710.

Acknowledgements Index


Excerpt: George Santayana (1863-1952) and Clarence Irving Lewis (1883-1964) were educated at Harvard University, studied primarily under William James and Josiah Royce, and became professors of philosophy at Harvard. The philosophies of Santayana and Lewis were in large part reactions to, and developments of, the views of empiricist James and idealist Royce as they contended for philosophy's soul during their years as colleagues from 1882 to 1907. Caught in the crossfire of these two giants, many Harvard graduates from that "Golden Age" of Harvard, including John Elof Boodin, Ralph Barton Perry, Wilmon Henry Sheldon, Horace Meyer Kallen, William Pepperell Montague, Jr., and Arthur Oncken Lovejoy, were similarly inspired to search for creative philosophies of adjudication and compromise.

Santayana himself added to this extraordinary atmosphere while teaching at Harvard from 1889 to 1912. Lewis took a course on Plato with Santayana, but Santayana's own philosophy apparently had little influence on Lewis's early commitment to idealism. Two years after receiving his Ph.D. in 1910, Lewis published a sharp rejection of naturalism, taking Santayana as his primary target and using Roycean principles as grounds for criticism ("Professor Santayana and Idealism," in this volume). However, Lewis did not accept absolute idealism's vision of a supreme mind whose perfect knowledge continually sustains all reality. By instead adopting a fallibilistic epistemology of empirical knowledge, Lewis gradually approached the pragmatist position of James and Charles Sanders Peirce by 1920. During those years Santayana had accepted some aspects of pragmatism as well, attached to an uncompromising critical realism.

Santayana and Lewis arrived at distinct pragmatic naturalisms by the 1930s, offering alte natives to rival systems destined to compete for dominance in Anglo-American philosophy during the remainder of the twentieth century. T primary alternatives included John Dewey's pragmatic naturalism, Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy, the logical empiricism of the Henna Circle, and Harvard philosopher W. V. Quine's reductive materialism. Santayana founded no school, but his non-reductive materialism lived on in the form of epiphenomenalism which has to the present day stubbornly resisted reductive materialism. Lewis's variety of pragmatism influenced Quine, who took the Edgar Pierce Professorship at Harvard after Lewis retired, and it also influenced others who looked to

empirical science as the sole source of knowledge. Intriguingly, Quine's ontology of materialism echoed Santayana's own convictions, even as Quine sought to eliminate the realms of spirit and essence that Santayana defended. Also significant is the way that Quine strengthened Lewis's fallibilistic empiricism by repudiating the analytic/synthetic distinction vital for Lewis's own epistemology.

The chasm between Lewis and Santayana on the one hand and Quine on the other opened even further concerning the status of "meanings" and "the given" in experience. It became fashionable in mid-century Anglo-American philosophy to deny the analytic/synthetic distinction and challenge logical positivism's reliance on knowable phenomenal experience. As a consequence, it became convenient to cast scorn upon the notion of "the given." When philosophers then spoke of the given, they were usually referring to an allegedly infallible type of perceptual knowledge. Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" questioned whether the foundationalist reduction of discourse to sense-datum language is possible, and declared that the very notion of the given was bound up with the spurious analytic/synthetic distinction. When Quine concluded by recommending that philosophy abandon the idea that there is a "linguistic component and a factual component in the truth of any individual statement" he was understood to be attacking not only logical positivism but also his colleague Lewis. Wilfrid Sellars, who had taken a course titled "Theory of Knowledge" with Lewis in the late 1930s, later announced his own renunciation of "the myth of the given." In "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" (1956), Sellars was similarly understood as directly challenging Lewis. Sellars actually ended up fairly close to the classical pragmatists in his later years, and arrived even closer to Santayana by synop­tically coordinating perception, intentionality, and rationality with scientific realism. Quine, however, was intent upon behavioristically and physicalisti­cally eliminating concepts, meanings, and experience from reality. Only the lingering pragmatism of his fallibilistic yet realistic philosophy of science still linked Quine with his Harvard predecessors.

Did Quine and Sellars really have a target in Lewis? Lewis did hold the Kantian view that the mind approaches new experiences with a framework of meanings, and openly allied his epistemology with much of Rudolf Carnap's logical positivism in the 1930s. With Santayana, Lewis believed that there is a portion of experience for which the mind is not responsible. However, neither philosopher believed that this portion presented itself as indubitable knowledge. Both Santayana and Lewis, like fellow pragmatists Peirce, James, and Dewey, accepted the realm of empirical experience as having legitimate reality, even as reason carried belief beyond present experience. Scornful of solipsism and positivism, each of these pragmatist philosophers philosophized about the nature of the integration of human experience with wider realities. They all agreed that this integration did notrequire the supreme mind of absolute idealism, and they were similarly agreed that crude materialism was inadequate. In Santayana's terms, while the realm of matter is the sole power and agency, the intuition of meaningful essences that occurs in the realm of spirit is no less real. In Lewis's terms, the organization of experience is only partially under the control of the mind's concepts. Both Santayana and Lewis find that when the mind experiences such partial of control of experiences, the mind automatically believes that these given are experiences of mind-independent existences. They also hold that the remaining task of knowledge is to discover where these existences can be coherently related with the rest of experience. Even a hallucination can be a real hallucination and explained by relating it with certain other realities. However, for Santayana and Lewis (again agreeing with earlier pragma­tists), no "given" is automatically granted epistemic status as "known" and certainly not granted infallible certainty independent of the context of inquiry.

The disagreements between Santayana, Lewis, and Quine can be helpfully surveyed without too much distortion by noticing that they all start from some pragmatic approach to knowledge, then endorse some type of naturalism which each believes best harmonizes with their type of pragmatism. Santayana pragmatically endorses materialism as common-sensically accepted by ordinary practical living, and then infers from materialism that knowledge occurs in the separate realm of spirit where consciousness tracks but does not influence the processes of nature. Lewis's pragmatic epistemology endorses a scientific realism of natural things that are continuous with human experience, but requires that this scientific realism cannot replace the very lived experience that science is supposed to assist. Quine holds that to know reality is to pragmati­cally accept one or another scientific theory about reality, and supposes that science's realities must therefore be exclusively real. Each philosopher's naturalism determines the final shape of their epistemology: Santayana's materialism ensures that knowledge impotently watches the signs of unfolding reality; Lewis's scientific realism is forbidden from calling into question the consciousness that grounds scientific inquiry; while Quine's scientism demands that cognitive and behavioral psychology eliminate consciousness and take over from epistemology the task of discovering how nervous systems transform sensory stimulations into intelligent representations of reality.

This introduction to Santayana and Lewis proceeds to discuss some selected details of their pragmatic naturalisms, as illustrated by the selections of writings presented in this volume. Of necessity, only those aspects of their philosophies that directly involve pragmatism are mentioned here. For fuller expositions of their philosophies, readers may consult the concluding bibli­ography. Of particular value for understanding their naturalistic pragmatisms, five books have special place. On Santayana: Henry Samuel Levinson's Santayana, Pragmatism, and the Spiritual Life, Timothy L. S. Sprigge's Santayana, and the Library of Living Philosophers volume on The Philosophy

of George Santayana, edited by Paul A. Schilpp. On Lewis: the Library of Living Philosophers volume on The Philosophy of C. I. Lewis, edited by Paul A. Schilpp, and also Murray G. Murphey's C. I. Lewis: The Last Great Pragmatist. For convenience, most references to Santayana's writings are to the one-volume edition of Realms of Being.


The Chicago School of Pragmatism, 4 volume set edited by John R. Shook, Frank X. Ryan (Thoemmes Continuum) The Chicago school of pragmatism was one of the most controversial and prominent intellectual movements of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Spanning the ferment of academic and social thought that erupted in those turbulent times in America, the Chicago pragmatists earned widespread attention and respect for many decades. They were a central force in philosophy, contesting realism and idealism for supremacy in metaphysics, epistemology and value theory. Their functionalist views formed the Chicago school of religion, which sparked intense scrutiny into the real meaning of theism, religious experience and the role of religious values in society. Their social standpoint on psychology generated the Chicago school of sociology, social psychology and symbolic interactionism that dominated the social sciences until the 1960s. Their educational philosophy was a major component of progressivism, aiming to make schools more responsive to the democratic and industrial character of the country. In economics, labour issues, civil rights and liberal politics, the Chicago school was also impossible to ignore

This four-volume set focuses on the cornerstones of the thought grounding such intellectual activism: their philosophies of human nature, intelligence, values and social purpose. While other collections of the writings of the most prominent Chicago pragmatists (John Dewey, George Mead and James Tufts) offer some of their own individual work, no other collection captures the entire breadth and depth of the movement as a whole. Key writings of these major philosophers are set in their proper context of important writings of James Angell, Edward Ames, Addison Moore, and of many of their graduates who had significant careers, including Ella Flagg Young, H. Heath Bawden, Arthur Rogers, Irving King, Kate Gordon, Douglas Macintosh, William Wright, Clarence Ayres and Charles Morris. Also included are their debates with many critics, such as James Mark Baldwin, George Santayana, William Montague, Roy Wood Sellars and William Hocking. Spanning roughly fifty years, the 130 pieces are brought together from several dozens of now obscure and increasingly rare books, journals and archival sources. This collection will be indispensable for the study of American intellectual history, and especially the evolution of American philosophy, psychology, sociology, religion, education and politics.

*      130 articles gathered into an indispensable collection covering the entire Chicago pragmatism movement

*      all materials are reset, annotated, indexed and enhanced by new editorial introductions

*      includes a wealth of obscure, rare and hard-to-find original materials

*      indispensable for the study of American intellectual history, and especially the evolution of American philosophy, psychology, sociology, religion, education and politics

The Chicago School of Functionalism, 3 volume set edited by John R. Shook and Andrew Backe (Foundations of Pragmatism in American Thought: Thoemmes Continuum) The Chicago School of Functionalism was a major revolutionary force in psychology and philosophy. Its stunningly original use of evolutionary biology and experimental psychology created a novel pragmatic approach to the explanation of human behavior and intelligence. John Dewey, James Angell, and their students defended the astounding claim that a theory of reasoning and knowledge could be erected on empirical investigations into the natural functionings of the human nervous system.

Volume 1 contains central documents of the functionalist tradition, displaying its foundations and growth. Dewey's early psychological papers are followed by many key research papers published from the Psychological Laboratory of the University of Chicago. This volume also documents functionalism's competition with its primary rivals for the future of psychology: James Mark Baldwin's genetic psychology and E. B. Titchener's structuralism.

Volume 2 presents the founding manifesto of the Chicago instrumentalism, Studies in Logical Theory, which offers a theory of knowledge grounded in the principles of functional psychology. Dewey and his graduate students announced to the world a new contribution to pragmatism, which was met with both exuberant cries of triumph (especially William James's), to suspicious and critical assessments from other schools of thought.

Volume 3 reprints the only psychology textbook of Chicago functionalism ever published, by its acknowledged leader, James R. Angell. This volume also contains several reviews and Angell's autobiographical essay portraying the formative influence of other pragmatists on his psychology.

The Chicago School of Functionalism offers an unparalleled opportunity to study in detail the growth of a major school of American thought that transformed both psychology and philosophy. Its three volumes gather together scarce materials that have been long out of print and buried in journals and archives. This collection will be indispensable for the study of American intellectual history.


*      major school of American thought that transformed both psychology and philosophy

*      facsimile and reset materials, annotated, indexed and enhanced by new editorial introductions

*      includes a wealth of obscure, rare and hard-to-find original materials

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