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Neil W. Williams
University of Roehampton
  1. Practical grounds for freedom: Kant and James on freedom, experience and an open future.Joe Saunders & Neil W. Williams - 2023 - In Freedom After Kant: From German Idealism to Ethics and the Self. Blackwell's. pp. 155-171.
    In this chapter, we compare Kant and James’ accounts of freedom. Despite both thinkers’ rejecting compatibilism for the sake of practical reason, there are two striking differences in their stances. The first concerns whether or not freedom requires the possibility of an open future. James holds that morality hinges on the real possibility that the future can be affected by our actions. Kant, on the other hand, seems to maintain that we can still be free in the crucial sense, even (...)
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    Practical grounds for belief: Kant and James on religion.Neil W. Williams & Joe Saunders - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):1269-1282.
    Both Kant and James claim to limit the role of knowledge in order to make room for faith. In this paper, we argue that despite some similarities, their attempts to do this come apart. Our main claim is that, although both Kant and James justify our adopting religious beliefs on practical grounds, James believes that we can—and should—subsequently assess such beliefs on the basis of evidence. We offer our own account of this evidence and discuss what this difference means for (...)
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    Kidnapping an ugly child: is William James a pragmaticist?Neil W. Williams - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (1):154-175.
    Since the term ‘pragmatism’ was first coined, there have been debates about who is or is not a ‘real’ pragmatist, and what that might mean. The division most often drawn in contemporary pragmatist scholarship is between William James and Charles Peirce. Peirce is said to present a version of pragmatism which is scientific, logical and objective about truth, whereas James presents a version which is nominalistic, subjectivistic and leads to relativism. The first person to set out this division was in (...)
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  4. Against Atomic Individualism in Plural Subject Theory.Neil W. Williams - 2012 - Phenomenology and Mind 3:65-81.
    Within much contemporary social ontology there is a particular methodology at work. This methodology takes as a starting point two or more asocial or atomic individuals. These individuals are taken to be perfectly functional agents, though outside of all social relations. Following this, combinations of these individuals are considered, to deduce what constitutes a social group. Here I will argue that theories which rely on this methodology are always circular, so long as they purport to describe the formation of all (...)
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    Absolutism, Relativism and Anarchy: Alain Locke and William James on Value Pluralism.Neil W. Williams - 2017 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 53 (3):400.
    It would not be an exaggeration to say that pluralism was central to the philosophical thought of William James. Repeatedly, James claimed that the difference between monism and pluralism was the "most pregnant" in philosophy.1 Radical empiricism, James's distinctive metaphysical vision, was first introduced as the view that pluralism was a plausible hypothesis about the permanent state of the world, and this pluralism continued to be a central feature of his philosophy in later years.2The assertion that pluralism was a valid (...)
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    The Role of Temperament in Philosophical Inquiry: A Pragmatic Approach.Neil W. Williams - 2023 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 61 (2):297-323.
    Abstractabstract:In his Pragmatism lectures, William James argued that philosophers' temperaments partially determine the theories that they find satisfying, and that their influence explains persistent disagreement within the history of philosophy. Crucially, James was not only making a descriptive claim, but also a normative one: temperaments, he thought, could play a legitimate epistemic role in our philosophical inquiries. This paper aims to evaluate and defend this normative claim.There are three problems for James's view: (1) that allowing temperaments to play a role (...)
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    Animals: a history: edited by Peter Adamson and G. Fay Edwards, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018, pp. xiv + 454, £22.99 (pb), ISBN: 978-0-199-37597-4.Neil W. Williams - 2020 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 28 (1):209-212.
    Volume 28, Issue 1, January 2020, Page 209-212.
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    Pragmatism and justice.Neil W. Williams - 2019 - Contemporary Political Theory 18 (4):236-239.
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    Pragmatism and Justice: Review. [REVIEW]Neil W. Williams - 2018 - Contemporary Political Theory 2018:1-4.
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    Animals: a history: edited by Peter Adamson and G. Fay Edwards, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018, pp. xiv + 454, £22.99 (pb), ISBN: 978-0-199-37597-4. [REVIEW]Neil W. Williams - 2020 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 28 (1):209-212.
    Volume 28, Issue 1, January 2020, Page 209-212.
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    Pragmatism and justice. [REVIEW]Neil W. Williams - 2019 - Contemporary Political Theory 18 (4):236-239.