Remaking the Modern Mind: William James’s Reconstruction of Rationality

Southwest Philosophy Review 14 (2):65-82 (1998)
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[Abstract drawn from the development of these ideas in John Dewey and Moral Imagination (2003, ch. 3): To present the pragmatic turn from transcendental reason to engaged intelligence in a way that emphasizes the magnitude of their break from the philosophic tradition while correcting standing prejudices, it is helpful to turn the spotlight on James. This essay sketches several interrelated claims about James's notions of reason and truth: Reason is embodied, evolving, and practical, and as such it is subject to physical, conceptual, and historical constraints. Further, reasoning is contingent upon perspectives and is characterized by an educated aesthetic response that can emerge from trust in a situation's potentialities.



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Steven Fesmire
Radford University

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