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Nietzsche's Influence on Pragmatic Humanism GEORGE J. STACK Who can rememberthe disciplesof... Nietzsche and the developmentstheyeffected? F. C. S. Schiller,Our Human Truths THE RELATIONSHIPbetween central aspects of Nietzsche's thought and the pragmatic movement in philosophy has often been a source of curiosity or controversy. Some interpreters of Nietzsche have been struck by the similarity between his emphasis upon the practical value of knowledge and the spirit, if not the letter, of Anglo-American pragmatism. However, any claim that there is a direct relationship between Nietzsche's inchoate theory of knowledge and pragmatism has been strenuously denied. Even though it has been said that one finds in Nietzsche's writings on epistemology an expression of "the thoughts which have grown into a system as Pragmatism in America, as Humanism in England,"' no one has suggested that Nietzsche's philosophy had any direct influence on either pragmatism or humanism. It is my intention here to show that there is considerable evidence that many basic themes, insights, and conceptions in Nietzsche's reflections were incorporated into humanistic pragmatism by way of the sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant, appropriation of key elements in his thought by a philosopher who was the spokesman for pragmatic humanism in England until he rapidly fell into eclipse: F. C. S. Schiller. Although it is not my intention to show that each and every principle, concept, interpretation, or insight found in Schiller's corpus is derived from the writings of Nietzsche, I will try to demonstrate that a substantial number of themes, motifs, and, in some instances, quite specific arguments and analyses put forward by Schiller are taken from the works of Nietzsche and only slightly modified and adapted to Schiller's specifications. ' R. Mfdler-Frienfels,Archivfiir Geschichte der Philosophie lo (April 19a3):339-58, [369] 37 ~ HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY ECCE HOMO Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller was born in Schleswig-H61stein in 1864. He was educated in England at Rugby and Balliol College, Oxford. After teaching German at Eton, he returned to Oxford for his M.A. In 1893 Schiller went to Cornell University as a graduate student and as an instructor . At Cornell he submitted a book he had published in 1891 (under the pseudonym "a Troglodyte"), Riddles of the Sphinx, as his doctoral dissertation. For some unknown reason, Schiller was not awarded a Ph.D. by the University . In 1897 he returned to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he became a senior tutor and fellow. From ~9~6 to i935 he taught, in alternate years, at the University of Southern California. In 1935 Schiller moved to California and taught at the University. In the same year, he married for the first time, at the age of seventy one. From 1935 until his death in 1937, Schiller lived in California. He presented a number of popular lectures and published some essays in the Personalist. Many of these lectures and articles were brought together in Our Human Truths. While at Oxford, Schiller engaged in internecine battles with the reigning thinker there at thefin de sibcle, F. H. Bradley. His vitriolic attacks on Bradley , as well as his undiplomatic manner and attitude, made him an object of dislike at Oxford. Before the pragmatic movement gave sanction to his thought, and before he became part of it, Schiller was not taken too seriously and was considered as a clever literary gadfly. However, his flair for philosophical polemic earned him a reputation as an enfant terrible. Bertrand Russell characterized him as the "literary" exponent of pragmatism. Schiller first launched his public attack on Bradley's theory of the Absolute in Mind and began experimenting with his own brand of Protagorean "humanism ." He had prepared the way for his attack on absolutism and his defense of humanism in Riddles of the Sphinx. The first edition of this remarkable first book was published in 1891 and reprinted in 19ol. A second, revised edition was brought out in ~91o. It was this work that first brought Schiller to the attention of the American pragmatists, specifically C. S. Peirce. One of the first issues Schiller had to contend with was whether his form of pragmatism ("humanism") had been influenced by Peirce and James or...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 369-406
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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