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American Philosophic Naturalism in the Twentieth Century Hardcover – July 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 566 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; 1st edition (July 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879758945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879758943
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 14, 2007
Naturalism and realism, even more so than pragmatism constitutes a distinctively 'American' tradition in philosophy. This anthology includes many important thinkers, long unjustly neglected and passed over, whose work is out of print and unavailable. I would argue that much of this material holds up very well in comparison to contemporaneous work in England and Germany. Kudos to the editor for finding and putting all this valuable stuff together and making it available for a modern philosophical audience. Students of early twentieth century philosophy will definitely want to reference this.

In regards to the comments by the previous reviewer I would suggest that his criticisms are unfounded. First Peirce was primarily an author of the 19th, not the 20th century. Peirce has also been well treated elsewhere, in the many anthologies and volumes covering pragmatism and the development of modern logic and semiotics. Also it is true that twentieth century debates debates on the relation between language and meaning will often sound either ridiculous or abstract and incomprehensible to those unversed in the often stringent technicality of these debates. But you have to judge them on their technical merits, not how it sounds to the layman.
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This anthology provides great value for the reader who wants to get a rich and detailed understanding of 20th century American Pragmatic Naturalism. It accomplishes this task by (i) exploring the topic from multiple conceptual perspectives, and (ii) through the eyes of a large variety of authors. Additionally, each part and section of this work is benefitted by informative introductions by the editor John Ryder, which provide the reader with useful biographical and historical information that ties everything together in a way that we can see the grand tapestry of how these ideas emerged and developed over time. After reading this, the reader will have a very clear idea, philosophically, historically, and biographically, on how pragmatic naturalism progressed in America in the 20th century. Highly recommended.

Here is a detailed breakdown of the table of contents:

Introduction
Part I - Conceptions of Nature
Section 1 - Nature Discerned
1. The Discovery of Natural Objects (George Santayana)
2. Nature Unified and Mind Discerned (George Santayana)
3. Knowledge of Nature (F.J.E. Woodbridge)
Section 2 - The Nature of Nature: Materialism and Pluralism
1. Reformed Materialism and Intrinsic Endurance (Roy Wood Sellars)
2. Are Naturalists Materialists? (John Dewey, Sidney Hook, and Ernest NAgel)
3. Empirical Pluralism and Unifications of Nature (John Herman Randall Jr.)
4. Probing the Idea of Nature (Justus Buchler)

Part II - Nature, Experience, and Method
Section 3 - Experience
1. Experience and Philosophic Method (John Dewey)
2. In Dispraise of Life, Experience, and Reality (Morris R. Cohen)
3. Naturalistc and Pure Reflection (Marvin Farber)
4.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bernard M. Patten on June 29, 2002
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The headline is not exactly accurate. Peirce is mentioned once on page 514. Otherwise the greatest contributor to American Philosophy (one of the greatest anyway) is omitted.
I trudged through this book and am better for having done so. But I can't say I would recommend it to a friend. I might recommend it to my insomniac patients because it has profound sleep inducing properties and might help those patients hit the hay. The book is a collection of 29 essays by multiple authors including four essays by John Dewey and three by George Santayana. Dewey is OK and, when at his best, makes sense. Santayana is obscure, exasperating, and irksome making little sense and raising my suspicions that he has a thought disorder. Others in this volume are just poor writers. One has a feeling that some of them might have something worthwhile to say, but they just couldn't get their ideas down right. They just couldn't communicate properly. Most of these authors would have vastly benefited from the kindly ministrations of a good editor. Perhaps the problem is that they are so used to lecturing to students who are immature and too inexperienced with life to question the bunkum. The best essay by far is by Paul Kurtz on Libertarianism: The Philosophy of Moral Freedom. Paul has something to say and he says it well. Thanks Paul for a breath of fresh air. The worse essay, in my opinion, is that by Peter Manicas. His Nature and Culture is mainly opaque nonsense. Here's an example: "Creatures which lack language nevertheless gesture. Thus the perception by a dog that another is ready to attack becomes a stimulus to change his position or his own attitude. He has no sooner done this that the change of attitude causes the first dog to change his attitude. "We have here," Mead notes, "a conversation of gestures.
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