The Spirit of American Philosophy

By John Smith

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780873956512, 272 pages, June 1983
Hardcover : 9780873956505, 272 pages, June 1983

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Table of contents

I   Charles S. Peirce: Meaning, Belief, and Love in an Evolving Universe

II  William James: Purpose, Effort, and the Will to Believe

III  Josiah Royce: The Eternal, the Practical, and the Beloved Community

IV  John Dewey: Experience, Experiment, and the Method of Intelligence

V Alfred North Whitehead: Speculative Thinking, Science, and Education

VI  Retrospect and Prospect

VII The New Need for a Recovery of Philosophy

Bibliographical Note



This revised edition of John E. Smith's classic details the phenomenal growth in American philosophy in the years since the book first appeared. Through the addition of a new chapter and the readdressing of earlier material, Smith advances his reflections on the present decade. The book also considers the impact of British linguistic philosophy and other currents of thought abroad on classical American philosophy.

John E. Smith is Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. He is the author of Purpose and Thought, The Meaning of Pragmatism; Experience and God; The Analogy of Experience; Themes in American Philosophy; Reason and God; Religion and Empiricism; and Royce's Social Finite. He is also the editor of Contemporary American Philosophy (Second Series).


"Smith is the leading figure in the 'reconstruction' of American philosophy and his work is always informed, clear, forthright and philosophically sound. The Spirit of American Philosophy should be in the hands of every philosophy student. The essays are crisp and intelligent. The themes are crucial to contemporary philosophy of whatever persuasion. " — John J. McDermott, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Texas A & M University

"A timely, important book, in the tradition of Royce's The Spirit of Modern Philosophy and Professor Herbert Schneider's History of American Philosophy, written with a zest and facility of expression that is rare. " — E. S.C. Northrup

"Professor Smith centers his thought on the philosophies of Peirce, James, Royce, Dewey and Whitehead; the latter, of course, is English rather than American but did most of his significant work here. What makes this study so significant is that it emphasizes the problem of meaning with which all these thinkers deal and most of them relate modern science to the ultimate religious problem.

"The book deserves wide reading not only by academics but by the general public. " — Reinhold Niebuhr