In this Book

The Drama of Possibility
summary
This book traces the trajectory of John J. McDermott's philosophical career through a selection of his essays. Many were originally occasional pieces and address specific issues in American thought and culture. Together they constitute a mosaic of McDermott's philosophy, showing its roots in an American conception of experience. Though he draws heavily on the thought of William James and the pragmatists, McDermott has his own unique perspective on philosophy and American life. He presents this to the reader in exquisitely crafted prose. Drawing inspiration from American history, from existentialist themes, and from personal experiences, he offers a dramatic consideration of our culture's failures and successes.McDermott crosses disciplinary boundaries to draw on whatever works to help make sense of theissues with which he is dealing-issues rooted in medical practice, political events, pedagogical habits, and the worlds of the arts. His work thus resists simple categorization. It is precisely this that makes his vibrant prose appealing to so many both inside and outside the world of American philosophy.

Table of Contents

  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. iii-iv
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. v-vii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. ix
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  1. Introduction: Reading McDermott
  2. pp. 1-4
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  1. Prelude: Remarks Upon Receiving the 2004 Presidential Teaching Award
  2. pp. 5-7
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  1. Prescript
  2. pp. 9-12
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  1. Part 1: An American Angle of Vision
  2. p. 13
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  1. 1. Threadbare Crape: Reflections on the American Strand
  2. pp. 23-36
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  1. 2. An American Angle of Vision, Part 1
  2. pp. 37-59
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  1. 3. An American Angle of Vision, Part 2
  2. pp. 60-88
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  1. 4. Spires of Influence: The Importance of Emerson for Classical American Philosophy
  2. pp. 89-105
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  1. 5. Josiah Royce's Philosophy of the Community: Danger of the Detached Individual
  2. pp. 106-130
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  1. 6. Possibility or Else!: The Philosophy of William James
  2. pp. 131-139
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  1. Part 2: Environing
  2. p. 141
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  1. 7. A Relational World: The Significance of the Thought of William James and John Dewey for Global Culture
  2. pp. 145-166
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  1. 8. Nature and Nostalgia and the City: An American Dilemma
  2. pp. 167-184
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  1. 9. Space, Time, and Touch: Philosophical Dimensions of Urban Consciousness
  2. pp. 185-203
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  1. 10. Glass Without Feet: Dimensions of Urban Aesthetics
  2. pp. 204-218
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  1. Part 3: Turning
  2. p. 219
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  1. 11. Why Bother: Is Life Worth Living? Experience as Pedagogical
  2. pp. 223-235
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  1. 12. Ill-At-Ease: The Natural Travail of Ontological Disconnectedness
  2. pp. 236-261
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  1. 13. "Turning" Backward: The Erosion of Moral Sensibility
  2. pp. 262-277
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  1. 14. The Inevitability of our Own Death: The Celebration of Time as a Prelude to Disaster
  2. pp. 278-290
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  1. 15. Isolation as Starvation: John Dewey and a Philosophy of the Handicapped
  2. pp. 291-304
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  1. Part 4: Bequeathing
  2. p. 305
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  1. 16. Hast Any Philosophy in Thee, Shepherd?
  2. pp. 309-317
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  1. 17. The Cultural Immortality of Philosophy as Human Drama
  2. pp. 318-344
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  1. 18. To be Human is to Humanize: A Radically Empirical Aesthetic
  2. pp. 345-371
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  1. 19. Experience Grows by its Edges: A Phenomenology of Relations in an American Philosophical Vein
  2. pp. 372-389
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  1. 20. The Aesthetic Drama of the Ordinary
  2. pp. 390-402
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  1. Part 5: Teaching
  2. p. 403
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  1. 21. The Gamble for Excellence: John Dewey’s Pedagogy of Experience
  2. pp. 407-426
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  1. 22. Liberty and Order in the Educational Anthropology of Maria Montessori
  2. pp. 427-448
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  1. 23. The Erosion of Face-To-Face Pedagogy: A Jeremiad
  2. pp. 449-457
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  1. 24. Cultural Literacy: A Time for a New Curriculum
  2. pp. 458-475
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  1. 25. Trumping Cynicism with Imagination
  2. pp. 476-491
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  1. Finis
  2. p. 493
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 495-555
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 557-564
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  1. American Philosophy Series: Douglas R. Anderson and Jude Jones, series editors
  2. pp. 565-566
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