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Race Questions, Provincialism, and Other American Problems

Expanded Edition

Josiah Royce

Publication Year: 2009

In 1908, American philosopher Josiah Royce foresaw the future. Race questions and prejudices, he said, promise to become, in the near future, still more important than they have ever been before.Like his student W. E. B. Du Bois in Souls of Black Folk (1903), Royce recognized that the problem of the next century would be, as Du Bois put it, the problem of the color line.The twentieth century saw vast changes in race relations, but even after the election of the first African-American U.S. president, questions of race and the nature of community persist. Though left out of the mainstream of academic philosophy, Royce's conception of community nevertheless influenced generations of leaders who sought to end racial, religious, and national prejudice. Royce's work provided the conceptual starting place for the Cultural Pluralism movement of the 1920s and 1930s, and his notion of the Beloved Community influenced the work and vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement. Communities, whether they are understood as racial or geographic, religious or scientific, Royce argued, are formed by the commitments of individuals to causes or shared ideals. This starting point-the philosophy of loyalty-provides a means to understand the nature of communities, their conflicts, and their potential for growth and coexistence. Just as this work had relevance in the twentieth century in the face of anti-Black and anti-immigrant prejudice, Royce's philosophy of loyalty and conception of community has new relevance in the twenty-first century. This new edition of Royce's Race Questions, Provincialism, and Other American Questions includes a new introduction to Royce's philosophy of loyalty and the essays included in the volume, and a second introduction connecting Royce's work with contemporary discussions of race. The volume also includes six supplementary essays by Royce (unavailable since their initial publication before 1916) that provide background for the original essays, raise questions about his views, and show the potential of those views to inform other discussions about religious pluralism, the philosophy of science, the role of history, and the future of the American community.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v

Editors’ Note

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pp. vii

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Introduction to Race Questions, Provincialism, and Other American Problems

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pp. 1-19

In May 1915, a German submarine sank the passenger liner Lusitania. More than 1,100 passengers and crew died, among them 123 Americans. The respected Harvard philosopher Josiah Royce had remained publicly neutral...

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Royce’s "Race Questions and Prejudices"

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pp. 20-34

One of the most striking features of Race Questions, Provincialism, and Other American Problems is that Josiah Royce wrote ‘‘Race Questions and Prejudices’’ as early as 1905 and then chose to make it the lead piece...

Part One: Race Questions, Provincialism, and Other American Problems

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pp. 35-172

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pp. 37-39

The five essays which make up the present volume were all, at some time, read, before various audiences, as addresses. Each one contains indications of the special occasion for the sake of which it was first prepared...


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pp. 41-43

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I. Race Questions and Prejudices

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pp. 45-68

The numerous questions and prejudices which are aroused by the contact of the various races of men have always been important factors in human history. They promise, however, to become, in the near future, still more...

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II. Provincialism

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pp. 69-92

I propose, in this address, to define certain issues which, as I think, the present state of the world’s civilization, and of our own national life, make both prominent and critical...

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III. On Certain Limitations of the Thoughtful Public in America

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pp. 93-117

No one who is engaged in any part of the work of the higher education in this country can doubt that, at the present time, our thoughtful public,—the great company of those who read, reflect, and aspire...

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IV. The Pacific Coast: A Psychological Study of the Relations of Climate and Civilization

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pp. 118-144

I have been asked to describe some of the principal physical aspects of California, and to indicate the way in which they have been related to the life and civilization of the region. The task is at once, in its main outlines...

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V. Some Relations of Physical Training to the Present Problems of Moral Education in America

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pp. 145-172

In asking me to address this Society, your Secretary was well aware that I have no right and no desire to pass judgment upon any of the more technical problems which are peculiar to the profession of physical education...

Part Two: Additional Essays

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What Should be the Attitude of Teachers of Philosophy Toward Religion?

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pp. 175-181

The proper attitude of the teacher of philosophy towards Religion depends, I think, for its justification, as for its definition, upon two or three very simple principles. The first principle is that Religion, in its higher sense, constitutes...

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The Problem of Natural Religion: The Present Position

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pp. 182-209

The term natural religion admits of a somewhat varied usage. Any treatment of the problems of religion which confines itself to an appeal to the unaided ‘‘light of nature,’’—any effort to show that, apart from...

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Football and Ideals

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pp. 210-222

Not long ago I printed an address that I had read before a society of teachers of physical training. This address dealt with some of the relations between physical training and the present problems of moral education...

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Some Characteristic Tendencies of American Civilization

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pp. 223-248

At a moment when the thoughts of serious people in this country are fixed, not only upon the exciting events of the day, but upon the future problems and the new responsibilities which, for you and for the whole British Empire...

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Provincialism: Based Upon a Study of Early Conditions in California

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pp. 249-263

I am a native of California, and the first ten years of my life were passed in a mining town in the Sierra Nevada—a town which was six years older than myself, having been founded in 1849. My earliest recollections, therefore...

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An American Thinker on the War: Professor Royce

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pp. 264-269

In my last letter I believe that I laid some stress to you upon the necessity, both patriotic and academic, of my trying to preserve a formally strict neutrality of expression, not merely because the community of mankind...


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pp. 271-276


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pp. 277-281

Further Reading

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pp. 283-284

E-ISBN-13: 9780823247202
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823231324
Print-ISBN-10: 0823231321

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2009