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American Philosophy

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American Philosophy

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100 Years of Pragmatism

William James's Revolutionary Philosophy

Edited by John J. Stuhr

William James claimed that his Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking would prove triumphant and epoch-making. Today, after more than 100 years, how is pragmatism to be understood? What has been its cultural and philosophical impact? Is it a crucial resource for current problems and for life and thought in the future? John J. Stuhr and the distinguished contributors to this multidisciplinary volume address these questions, situating them in personal, philosophical, political, American, and global contexts. Engaging James in original ways, these 11 essays probe and extend the significance of pragmatism as they focus on four major, overlapping themes: pragmatism and American culture; pragmatism as a method of thinking and settling disagreements; pragmatism as theory of truth; and pragmatism as a mood, attitude, or temperament.

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C. I. Lewis in Focus

The Pulse of Pragmatism

Sandra B. Rosenthal

C. I. Lewis (1883--1964) was one of the most important thinkers of his generation. In this book, Sandra B. Rosenthal explores Lewis's philosophical vision, and links his thought to the traditions of classical American pragmatism. Tracing Lewis's influences, she explains the central concepts informing his thinking and how he developed a unique and practical vision of the human experience. She shows how Lewis contributed to the enrichment and expansion of pragmatism, opening new paths of constructive dialogue with other traditions. This book will become a standard reference for readers who want to know more about one of American philosophy's most distinguished minds.

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Emerson and Self-Culture

John T. Lysaker

How do I live a good life, one that is deeply personal and sensitive to others? John T. Lysaker suggests that those who take this question seriously need to reexamine the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson. In philosophical reflections on topics such as genius, divinity, friendship, and reform, Lysaker explores "self-culture" or the attempt to remain true to one's deepest commitments. He argues that being true to ourselves requires recognition of our thoroughly dependent and relational nature. Lysaker guides readers from simple self-absorption toward a more fulfilling and responsive engagement with the world.

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The Essential Santayana

Selected Writings

Edited by the Santayana Edition. Compiled and with an introduction by Martin A. Coleman

Although he was born in Spain, George Santayana (1863--1952) became a uniquely American philosopher, critic, poet, and best-selling novelist. Along with his Harvard colleagues William James and Josiah Royce, he is best known as one of the founders of American pragmatism and recognized for his insights into the theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and moral philosophy. The Essential Santayana presents a selection of Santayana's most important and influential literary and philosophical work. Martin A. Coleman's critical introduction sets Santayana into the American philosophical tradition and provides context for contemporary readers, many of whom may be approaching Santayana's writings for the first time. This landmark collection reveals the intellectual and literary diversity of one of American philosophy's most lively minds.

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Genealogy as Critique

Foucault and the Problems of Modernity

Colin Koopman

Viewing Foucault in the light of work by Continental and American philosophers, most notably Nietzsche, Habermas, Deleuze, Richard Rorty, Bernard Williams, and Ian Hacking, Genealogy as Critique shows that philosophical genealogy involves not only the critique of modernity but also its transformation. Colin Koopman engages genealogy as a philosophical tradition and a method for understanding the complex histories of our present social and cultural conditions. He explains how our understanding of Foucault can benefit from productive dialogue with philosophical allies to push Foucaultian genealogy a step further and elaborate a means of addressing our most intractable contemporary problems.

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Habits of Whiteness

A Pragmatist Reconstruction

Terrance MacMullan

Habits of Whiteness offers a new way to talk about race and racism by focusing on racial habits and how to change them. According to Terrance MacMullan, the concept of racial whiteness has undermined attempts to create a truly democratic society in the United States. By getting to the core of the racism that lives on in unrecognized habits, MacMullan argues clearly and charitably for white folk to recognize the distance between their color-blind ideals and their actual behavior. Revitalizing the work of W. E. B. Du Bois and John Dewey, MacMullan shows how it is possible to reconstruct racial habits and close the gap between people. This forthright and persuasive analysis of the impulses of whiteness ultimately reorganizes them into something more compatible with our country's increasingly multicultural heritage.

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Irony in the Age of Empire

Comic Perspectives on Democracy and Freedom

Cynthia Willett

Comedy, from social ridicule to the unruly laughter of the carnival, provides effective tools for reinforcing social patterns of domination as well as weapons for emancipation. In Irony in the Age of Empire, Cynthia Willett asks: What could embody liberation better than laughter? Why do the oppressed laugh? What vision does the comic world prescribe? For Willett, the comic trumps standard liberal accounts of freedom by drawing attention to bodies, affects, and intimate relationships, topics which are usually neglected by political philosophy. Willett's philosophical reflection on comedy issues a powerful challenge to standard conceptions of freedom by proposing a new kind of freedom that is unapologetically feminist, queer, and multiracial. This book provides a wide-ranging, original, thoughtful, and expansive discussion of citizenship, social manners, and political freedom in our world today.

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John Dewey's Ethics

Democracy as Experience

Gregory Fernando Pappas

John Dewey, widely known as "America's philosopher," provided important insights into education and political philosophy, but surprisingly never set down a complete moral or ethical philosophy. Gregory Fernando Pappas presents the first systematic and comprehensive treatment of Dewey's ethics. By providing a pluralistic account of moral life that is both unified and coherent, Pappas considers ethics to be key to an understanding of Dewey's other philosophical insights, especially his views on democracy. Pappas unfolds Dewey's ethical vision by looking carefully at the virtues and values of ideal character and community. Showing that Dewey's ethics are compatible with the rest of his philosophy, Pappas corrects the reputation of American pragmatism as a philosophy committed to skepticism and relativism. Readers will find a robust and boldly detailed view of Dewey's ethics in this groundbreaking book.

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Josiah Royce in Focus

Jacquelyn Ann K. Kegley

This new approach to Josiah Royce shows one of American philosophy's brightest minds in action for today's readers. Although Royce was one of the towering figures of American pragmatism, his thought is often considered in the wake of his more famous peers. Jacquelyn Ann K. Kegley brings fresh perspective to Royce's ideas and clarifies his individual philosophical vision. Kegley foregrounds Royce's concern with contemporary public issues and ethics, focusing in particular on how he addresses long-standing problems such as race, religion, community, the dangers of mass media, mass culture, and blatant individualistic capitalism. She offers a deep and fruitful philosophical exploration of Royce's ideas on conflict resolution, memory, self-identity, and self-development. Kegley's keen understanding and appreciation of Royce reintroduces him to a new generation of scholars and students.

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Legal Pragmatism

Community, Rights, and Democracy

Michael Sullivan

In Legal Pragmatism, Michael Sullivan looks closely at the place of the individual and community in democratic society. After mapping out a brief history of American legal thinking regarding rights, from communitarianism to liberalism, Sullivan gives a rich and nuanced account of how pragmatism worked to resolve conflicts of self-interest and community well-being. Sullivan's view of pragmatism provides a comprehensive framework for understanding democracy, as well as issues such as health care, education, gay marriage, and illegal immigration that will determine its character in the future. Legal Pragmatism is a bold, carefully argued book that presents a unique understanding of contemporary society, law, and politics.

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