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American Philosophy

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American Philosophy

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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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Pragmatic Fashions

Pluralism, Democracy, Relativism, and the Absurd

John J. Stuhr

John J. Stuhr, a leading voice in American philosophy, sets forth a view of pragmatism as a personal work of art or fashion. Stuhr develops his pragmatism by putting pluralism forward, setting aside absolutism and nihilism, opening new perspectives on democracy, and focusing on love. He creates a space for a philosophy that is liable to failure and that is experimental, pluralist, relativist, radically empirical, radically democratic, and absurd. Full color illustrations enhance this lyrical commitment to a new version of pragmatism.

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Pragmatism, Nation, and Race

Community in the Age of Empire

Edited by Chad Kautzer and Eduardo Mendieta

Pragmatism has been called "the chief glory of our country's intellectual tradition" by its supporters and "a dog's dinner" by its detractors. While acknowledging pragmatism's direct ties to American imperialism and expansionism, Chad Kautzer, Eduardo Mendieta, and the contributors to this volume consider the role pragmatism plays, for better or worse, in current discussions of nationalism, war, race, and community. What can pragmatism contribute to understandings of a diverse nation? How can we reconcile pragmatism's history with recent changes in the country's racial and ethnic makeup? How does pragmatism help to explain American values and institutions and fit them into new national and multinational settings? The answers to these questions reveal pragmatism's role in helping to nourish the fundamental ideas, politics, and culture of contemporary America.

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Revealing Whiteness

The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege

Shannon Sullivan

"[A] lucid discussion of race that does not sell out the black experience." -- Tommy Lott, author of The Invention of Race

Revealing Whiteness explores how white privilege operates as an unseen, invisible, and unquestioned norm in society today. In this personal and selfsearching book, Shannon Sullivan interrogates her own whiteness and how being white has affected her. By looking closely at the subtleties of white domination, she issues a call for other white people to own up to their unspoken privilege and confront environments that condone or perpetuate it. Sullivan's theorizing about race and privilege draws on American pragmatism, psychology, race theory, and feminist thought. As it articulates a way to live beyond the barriers that white privilege has created, this book offers readers a clear and honest confrontation with a trenchant and vexing concern.

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Stoic Pragmatism

John Lachs

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.

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Susanne Langer in Focus

The Symbolic Mind

Robert E. Innis

Susanne Langer (1895 -- 1985) was one of American philosophy's most distinctive thinkers. Her philosophy was a deep exploration of human life as a continuous process of meaning-making through symbolic forms. Here, Robert E. Innis brings readers closer to Langer's precise and nuanced account of the symbolic mind. Innis shows how Langer's thought spans the sciences, aesthetics, psychology, religion, education, and music, and where it touches on concerns that were brought forward by American pragmatists such as John Dewey and William James. Innis reveals Langer's intense focus on making meaning clear as he covers her entire philosophical career. Highlighting what is of permanent value to American philosophy in Langer's work, he determines exactly what her positions were and why she proposed them. Readers will find a keen appreciation for and critical appraisal of Langer's unique philosophical vision.

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Toppling the Melting Pot

Immigration and Multiculturalism in American Pragmatism

José-Antonio Orosco

The catalyst for much of classical pragmatist political thought was the great waves of migration to the United States in the early twentieth century. José-Antonio Orosco examines the work of several pragmatist social thinkers, including John Dewey, W. E. B. Du Bois, Josiah Royce, and Jane Addams, regarding the challenges large-scale immigration brings to American democracy. Orosco argues that the ideas of the classical pragmatists can help us understand the ways in which immigrants might strengthen the cultural foundations of the United States in order to achieve a more deliberative and participatory democracy. Like earlier pragmatists, Orosco begins with a critique of the melting pot in favor of finding new ways to imagine the civic role of our immigrant population. He concludes that by applying the insights of American pragmatism, we can find guidance through controversial contemporary issues such as undocumented immigration, multicultural education, and racialized conceptions of citizenship.

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William James in Focus

Willing to Believe

William J. Gavin

William James (1842-1910) is a canonical figure of American pragmatism. Trained as a medical doctor, James was more engaged by psychology and philosophy and wrote a foundational text, Pragmatism, for this characteristically American way of thinking. Distilling the main currents of James's thought, William J. Gavin focuses on "latent" and "manifest" ideas in James to disclose the notion of "will to believe," which courses through his work. For students who may be approaching James for the first time and for specialists who may not know James as deeply as they wish, Gavin provides a clear path to understanding James's philosophy even as he embraces James's complications and hesitations.

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William James, Pragmatism, and American Culture

Deborah Whitehead

William James, Pragmatism, and American Culture focuses on the work of William James and the relationship between the development of pragmatism and its historical, cultural, and political roots in 19th-century America. Deborah Whitehead reads pragmatism through the intersecting themes of narrative, gender, nation, politics, and religion. As she considers how pragmatism helps to explain the United States to itself, Whitehead articulates a contemporary pragmatism and shows how it has become a powerful and influential discourse in American intellectual and popular culture.

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