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JAMES, William.

Pragmatism....

A new name for some old ways of thinking.

Availability: In stock

Published: New York Longmans, Green, and Co., 1907

Stock Code: 131453

£3,750
OR On display in 43 Dover Street

Notes

First edition, first printing, of the author's most important work. Presentation copy for review, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper "James R. Angell from William James July 1907" above a pasted printed slip reading "from the author" with the manuscript addition "reviewed for the International Journal of Ethics, January 1908", and with Angell's pencilled annotations to the text. James Rowland Angell (1869-1949) had studied under James as a graduate student at Harvard in 1891 at the recommendation of William Dewey; his review of James's Pragmatism was favourable, highlighting its "courageous and lucid defense of a doctrine notoriously unpopular in many professional circles" and placing pragmatism as a form of "enlightened empiricism" which can easily appeal to the man on the street (see Angell's review in the International Journal of Ethics, 18.2, 1908, pp. 226-235).
"Like many of his other texts, James's Pragmatism (...) contains both a manifest and a latent image. On the surface level, it is a 'method only'. James describes it as a corridor with various topics leading to different rooms by our asking 'What difference does it make?' if a given theory is true. It is a way of resolving issues rather than dissolving them. James's pragmatism differed from that of his colleague Charles Sanders Peirce who saw pragmatism as a way of dissolving issues, that is, explaining them away. In suggesting that 'an idea is true if it makes a difference', James offered a theory of truth fundamentally different from the paradigm offered by René Descartes, for whom knowledge was equated with certainty" (William J. Gavin, William James in Focus, 2013, p. 36).

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Description

Octavo. Original beige quarter cloth, paper label printed in black to spine, brown cloth sides, top edge gilt.

Condition

Spine lightly darkened and rolled with minor wear at ends, light rubbing to tips, front hinge a little tender, rear endpaper a little cockled, pp. 62-64 crudely opened. A very good copy.

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