OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Damn Great Empires!: William James and the Politics of Pragmatism

ISBN : 9780190237158

Price(incl.tax): 
¥16,170
Author: 
Alexander Livingston
Pages
264 Pages
Format
Hardcover
Size
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Oct 2016
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Damn Great Empires! offers a new perspective on the works of William James by placing his encounter with American imperialism at the center of his philosophical vision. This book reconstructs James's overlooked political thought by treating his anti-imperialist Nachlass - his speeches, essays, notes, and correspondence on the United States' annexation of the Philippines - as the key to the political significance of his celebrated writings on psychology, religion, and philosophy. It shows how James located a craving for authority at the heart of empire as a way of life, a craving he diagnosed and unsettled through his insistence on a modern world without ultimate foundations. Livingston explores the persistence of political questions in James's major works, from his writings on the self in The Principles of Psychology to the method of Pragmatism, the study of faith and conversion in The Varieties of Religious Experience, and the metaphysical inquiries in A Pluralistic Universe. Against the common view of James as a thinker who remained silent on questions of politics, this book places him in dialogue with champions and critics of American imperialism, from Theodore Roosevelt to W. E. B. Du Bois, as well as a transatlantic critique of modernity, in order to excavate James's anarchistic political vision. Bringing the history of political thought into conversation with contemporary debates in political theory, Damn Great Empires! offers a fresh and original reexamination of the political consequences of pragmatism as a public philosophy.

Index: 

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction
Chapter 1: The Political Uses of William James
Chapter 2: Cravings and Consequences
Chapter 3: Taming the Strenuous Life
Chapter 4: Stuttering Conviction
Chapter 5: Tragedy, History and Democratic Faith
Conclusion
Notes
Works Cited
Index

About the author: 

Alexander Livingston is Assistant Professor of Government at Cornell University.

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