Publication Year: 2012
John Lachs, one of American philosophy's most distinguished interpreters, turns to William James, Josiah Royce, Charles S. Peirce, John Dewey, and George Santayana to elaborate stoic pragmatism, or a way to live life within reasonable limits. Stoic pragmatism makes sense of our moral obligations in a world driven by perfectionist human ambition and unreachable standards of achievement. Lachs proposes a corrective to pragmatist amelioration and stoic acquiescence by being satisfied with what is good enough. This personal, yet modest, philosophy offers penetrating insights into the American way of life and our human character.
Published by: Indiana University Press
Series: American Philosophy
Title Page, Copyright
Age clarifies. In the course of a life of reflection, one’s attitude to the weightiest questions emerges only slowly. Given the demands of the academic world, professional philosophers are likely to start their careers writing about technical problems. The...
1 WHAT CAN PHILOSOPHY DO TO MAKE LIFE BETTER?
Aristotle was right when he said that philosophy begins in wonder. To primitive cave dwellers, everything was in need of explanation and humans had very little of life in their control. The world must have seemed a magical and frightening place...
2 STOIC PRAGMATISM
It is unseemly to question one’s heritage. What prior generations gave us is best accepted with gratitude or at least accommodated within the compass of who we are. Whether we find a use for what went before or quarantine it in a private closet of...
3 INFINITE OBLIGATIONS
In writing about a certain blindness,1 William James proves himself less than sharp-sighted about the variety of human intellectual-ocular impediments. He thinks he has identified a single disability when in fact he is focused on a broad..
4 AN ONTOLOGYFOR STOIC PRAGMATISM
George Santayana is a major American philosopher who has been sadly neglected. In his The Life of Reason (five volumes), he undertook to describe the phases of human progress and, though resisting the label, he showed himself in clear sympathy...
EPILOGUE THE PERSONAL VALUE AND SOCIAL USEFULNESS OF PHILOSOPHY
I was born on July 17, 1934, in Budapest, Hungary. There was little in my family background to suggest a future in philosophy. My father was a lumberman and my mother, though a cultured woman, occupied herself primarily with taking care of our...