The Soul of Classical American Philosophy

The Ethical and Spiritual Insights of William James, Josiah Royce, and Charles Sanders Peirce

By Richard P. Mullin

Subjects: Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791471104, 188 pages, May 2007
Hardcover : 9780791471098, 188 pages, May 2007

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Table of contents

            Purpose of this Work
            Personal Note
List of Abbreviations
Part I. William James

1. Meaning and Truth
            Radical Empiricism
2. Body and Mind
            Materialism versus Dualism
            Neither Dualism nor Materialism
            A Radical Empiricist View of Mind and Body
3. Free Will
            Psychology and the Subjective Experience of Free Will
            Indeterminism and the Physical Possibility of Free Will
            A Late Twentieth-Century Adaptation of James’s Concept of Free Will       
4. William James and Moral Philosophy
            The Task of the Moral Philosopher
            James’s Moral Ideals
            The Adequacy of James’s Theory
5. Rationality and Religious Faith
            Faith in the Salvation of the World
            The Meaning of Rationality
            The Reasonableness of Theism
            William James’s Personal Faith
            Human Immortality
6. Human Nature and the Life of the Spirit
            Spirituality Defined and Placed in a Metaphysical Context
            Naturalism and Spirituality
            The How and Why of Spirituality
            A Worldview Compatible with Spirit 
Part II. Josiah Royce

7. The Idealism of Josiah Royce
            Ideas and Reality
            TheFirst and Second Conceptions of Being: Realism and Mysticism
            The Third Conception of Being: Critical Rationalism
            The Fourth Conception of Being: Royce’s Idealism
8. Josiah Royce’s Concept of the Self
            The Ambiguity of the Self
            The Self as an Ethical Category
            The Individual and the Whole
9. Josiah Royce’s Philosophy of Loyalty as the Basis for Ethics
             Royce’s Idea of Loyalty
            The American Problem
            The Contemporary Problem
            The Practicality of Roycean Loyalty
            Ethics and the Full-Breasted Richness of Life                                                   
10. The Religious Insights of Josiah Royce
            Individual Experience
            Social Experience
            Unity of the Spirit
            What James Missed
Part III. Charles Sanders Peirce
11. Peirce and the Origin of Pragmatism
            Peirce’s Pragmatism
            Peirce’s Critique of Nominalistic Pragmatism
12. Charles Sanders Peirce on the Human Person
            Peirce’s Critique of the Separated Self
            The Illusory Self and the Authentic Self
13. Ethics and the Purpose of Human Life
            Reasons for the Incompatibility of Practical Theoretical Ethics
            The Place of Ethics in Peirce’s Architectonic 
            Love and Evolution
            Deriving a Virtue Ethic from Peirce’s Theoretical Ethics
            Continuity of Practical and Theoretical Ethics                                               

Introduces the spiritual ideas of three major American philosophers.


The Soul of Classical American Philosophy is an introduction to the thought of William James, Josiah Royce, and Charles Sanders Peirce, particularly in terms of the ethical and the spiritual. Writing for the nonspecialist in a straightforward style, Richard P. Mullin brings together the central ideas of these three key figures of classical American Pragmatism and explores their engagement with issues of truth, the meaning of self, free will, moral values, community, scientific thinking, and the relationship with the transcendent. He also addresses the growing international interest in American philosophy and sheds light on a defining movement in its history.

Richard P. Mullin is Professor of Philosophy at Wheeling Jesuit University.