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Some Problems Of Philosophy Paperback – May 17, 2010

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Though not technically out of print, both of these titles are only available in hardcover editions selling for well over $100 apiece. These thrifty paperbacks make them much more accessible.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"Philosophy, beginning in wonder, as Plato and Aristotle said, is able to fancy everything different from what it is. It sees the familiar as if it were strange, and the strange as if it were familiar. It can take things up and lay them down again. Its mind is full of air that plays round every subject. It rouses us from our native dogmatic slumber and breaks up our caked prejudices. Historically it has always been a sort of fecundation of four different human interests, science, poetry, religion, and logic, by one another. It has sought by hard reasoning for results emotionally valuable. To have some contact with it, to catch its influence, is thus good for both literary and scientific students. By its poetry it appeals to literary minds; but its logic stiffens them up and remedies their softness. By its logic it appeals to the scientific; but softens them by its other aspects, and saves them from too dry a technicality. Both types of student ought to get from philosophy a livelier spirit, more air, more mental background."—William James, Some Problems of Philosophy
(William James) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Nabu Press (May 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1149540087
  • ISBN-13: 978-1149540084
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.5 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Format: Paperback
Throughout his life, William James had the ambition to write a book presenting his philosophy in systematic form. He alluded to this goal repeatedly in his published books of philosophy, particularly the "Varieties of Religious Experience." But, as was the "Varieties", James other philosophical works such as "Pragmatism" and "A Pluralistic Universe" consisted of lectures while "The Meaning of Truth" consisted of a collection of essays, most of which had earlier been published separately.

Late in his life, James tried to realize his project of giving an exposition of his philosophy in his final book, "Some Problems of Philosophy" which is aptly subtitled "A Beginning of an Introduction to Philosophy". James began writing this book in 1909, but illness slowed and ultimately stopped his work well before it could be completed. Before his death in 1911, James authorized the publication of what he had written with the note: "Say that I hoped by it to round out my system, which now is too much like an arch built only on one side."

The book James left is a mixture, with some sections that are suitable for a beginner in philosophy and with other sections that are highly technical. The book is of interest because James clearly wanted to integrate the two primary philosophical ideas developed in his earlier works: pragmatism and radical empiricism.

James introduces pragmatism in chapter IV of "Some Problems in Philosophy" in discussing the relationship between perceptual and conceptual knowledge, where he states that "the pragmatic rule is that the meaning of a concept may always be found, if not in some sensible particular which it directly designates, then in some particular difference in the course of human experience which its being true will make.
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Format: Paperback
William James (1842-1910) was an American philosopher (noted for his influence on Pragmatism) and psychologist (the first educator to offer a psychology course in the U.S.; see his Principles of Psychology); he was also the brother of the novelist Henry James. He wrote many other books, such as Pragmatism and The Meaning of Truth, The Will to Believe, Essays in Radical Empiricism, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Moral Equivalent of War and Other Essays, The Selected Letters of William James, etc.

He began working on this book in 1909, when he was in ill health, and it was first published posthumously, in an incomplete form.

He states in the first chapter, "The extraordinary progress of the last three hundred years is due to a rather sudden finding of the way in which a certain order of questions ought to be attacked, questions admitting of mathematical treatment.
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