Philosophy 3387 American Philosophy Unit Two

William James

William James

Unit Two: Classical Pragmatism I (James and Peirce)

Dr. Cynthia Freeland

Section #10061, MW 1-2:30 p.m., 12 Agnes Arnold Hall

402 AH, 743-2993,

Course Schedule

Sept. 9 Peirce and Early Pragmatism

C.S. Peirce, "How to Make our Ideas Clear," in Thayer, pp. 79-100, or in Goodman, pp. 37-49.

Lecture Notes

Dewey (in Thayer), "The Development of American Pragmatism," pp. 23-40.

West, Chapter 2 on Peirce (pp. 42-54)

Recommended: Thayer M&A, pp. 68-132.

Sept. 11 James and West

James, "What Pragmatism Means," (in Thayer, pp. 209-226; in Goodman, pp. 53-65.

James, "Pragmatism and Humanism," in Goodman, pp. 65-75.

West, Chapter 2 on James (pp. 54-68)

Recommended: Thayer M&A, pp. 133-64.

Sept. 16 Putnam, James, Truth

Putnam, "The Permanence of William James," 5-26.

James, "Pragmatism's Conception of Truth," in Thayer, pp. 227-44

James, "The Meaning of the Word Truth," in Thayer, pp. 249-50.

Sept. 18 James

James, "The Will to Believe", in Thayer, pp. 186-208.


Short assignment

Assignment for Unit II (on William James)

Due in class Mon, September 16

Consider the following statement in "Pragmatism's Conception of Truth." "Truth is made, just as health, wealth, and strength are made, in the course of experience." (Thayer, p. 236) Briefly discuss this statement and what James says to clarify it and defend it. Dewey in "The Development of American Pragmatism" says that one criticism that reflects a misunderstanding of pragmatism is "that it subordinates thought and rational activity to particular ends of interest and profit" (Thayer, p. 25). Consider James' statement in light of this common criticism, and discuss whether it is a misunderstanding in fact, as Dewey thinks it is.

Take-home essay topic to be announced.

On-Line Course Resources

Off Campus

William James Writ Large

William James and the WWW (William James for Our Time)

Mind and Body, Descartes to James

C. S. Peirce

Pragmatism and Logical Positivism, Course Materials from VPI by Gary Hardcastle

On Campus

Lecture notes on Peirce
Notes on James, by Ki Hun Kim

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October 7, 1996 - 12:36 PM