By Alexander Livingston
Damn nice Empires! offers a brand new point of view at the works of William James by means of putting his come across with American imperialism on the heart of his philosophical imaginative and prescient. This e-book reconstructs James's neglected political suggestion via treating his anti-imperialist Nachlass -- his speeches, essays, notes, and correspondence at the usa' annexation of the Philippines -- because the key to unlocking the political importance of his celebrated writings on psychology, faith, and philosophy. It exhibits how James situated a yearning for authority on the middle of empire as a lifestyle, a yearning he clinically determined and unsettled via his insistence on a contemporary global with out final foundations. Livingston explores the patience of political questions in James's significant works, from his writings at the self in The ideas of Psychology to the tactic of Pragmatism, the learn of religion and conversion in The types of spiritual Experience, and the metaphysical inquiries in A Pluralistic Universe.
Against the normal view of James as a philosopher who remained silent on questions of politics, this ebook locations him in discussion with a transatlantic critique of modernity, in addition to with champions and critics of yankee imperialism, from Theodore Roosevelt to W. E. B. Du Bois, in an effort to excavate James's anarchistic political imaginative and prescient. Bringing the background of political notion into dialog with modern debates in political thought, Damn nice Empires! offers a clean and unique reexamination of the political results of pragmatism as a public philosophy.
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Extra resources for Damn great empires! : William James and the politics of pragmatism
69 James’s public philosophy aims to facilitate just such a shift in his audience—from imagining themselves as entrapped in empire as a way of life to merely entangled in it, and thus capable of transforming it. As James explains in Pragmatism, we must always begin with “the older stock of truths” in the face of any novel problem. Intelligence does not lie in reasserting that truth, however. It is in the art of creating novel truths that elements of the old are drawn on and transformed into something Introduction | 17 18 new.
The presentation of James’s benign political sentiments in Thought and Character highlights five features of his ethical creed. It is intellectual, 32 | Damn Great Empires! 33 tolerant, individualistic, progressive, and, finally, American. James places his faith in the power of the educated intellect to guide political judgment in a calm and reflective manner. His creed tolerates human differences and celebrates diversity. It holds individuality to be a sacred good without disregarding the need for common goods and cooperation.
42 The historical and intellectual setting of James’s political interventions are more colonial than postcolonial, modernist than postmodernist, but his arguments resonate with Honig’s concerns about identity and authority because of their shared context of the destabilizing horizon of modernity itself. James sometimes presents these cravings for order and authority as timeless and universal, but they ought to be understood as reactions to the crisis of authority wrought by the dramatic social, economic, cultural, and political transformations that defined Gilded Age America.
Damn great empires! : William James and the politics of pragmatism by Alexander Livingston