Kuklick traces the history of philosophic thought in the United States "as typified and dominated by Harvard" from 1860 to 1930. He provides an analysis both of the thought of this period and of the development of Harvard University and its philosophy department. These two types of analyses are interwoven throughout the book, for Kuklick finds that the second type provides an important key to the interpretation that unfolds within the first type. Among the philosophers included are Francis Bowen, Chauncey (...) Wright, John Fiske, F. E. Abbot, C. S. Peirce, William James, Josiah Royce, Hugo Munsterberg, George Palmer, George Santayana, Ralph B. Perry, E. B. Holt, Ernest Hocking, Alfred N. Whitehead, and C. I. Lewis. Royce and James receive the most lengthy examination, and while there is a surprisingly unappreciative discussion of Whitehead’s position, it is followed by an unusually enthusiastic analysis of the philosophy of C. I. Lewis, whom Kuklick considers to be, "with the exception of Peirce... the most capable philosopher in the school we have studied." Though such a counterbalance to the more common tendency to slight the enduring achievements of Lewis’s philosophical insights is refreshing, even his most avid supporters might well hesitate to affirm such a view. Kuklick’s attitude toward Lewis, as well as his focus of attention on James and Royce, may be guided by a dominant theme of the book in general. One of the major philosophic threads which Kuklick uses to weave a unifying bond among many of the philosophers of this period is idealism, while the realistic strains of the philosophers involved are at best slighted, at worst distorted. James as well, of course, as Royce, is interpreted within the framework of idealism. Lewis, as heir to the debate between neo-realism and idealism as carried on by Perry and Royce, is seen by Kuklick as unsuccessfully attempting to repudiate the idealism bequeathed to him by Royce, thus representing the ultimate triumph of idealism over realism. (shrink)
Smith examines, in six chapters, the doctrines of Peirce, James, and Dewey as they relate to each of six general topics: basic conceptions of meaning, belief and action; basic conceptions of a theory of truth; the new conception of experience; inquiry, science, and control; metaphysics; and religion. The fourth chapter presents a minor exception, for the topic of "inquiry, science, and control" is discussed virtually exclusively in relation to Peirce and Dewey. Generally, the positions of the three pragmatists are examined (...) separately in relation to various issues, but there are usually interesting and illuminating comparisons among them. (shrink)
This book presents an historical and interpretive study of the metaphysics of Charles Peirce, developing an objective idealism through an examination of Peirce's thought as found in his continuous development of his theory of categories. The objective idealism developed is not one which lies in opposition to other parts of Peirce's philosophy but rather is the encompassing framework within which all other aspects of his thought find their place and through which they are understood.
This examination of C. I. Lewis’s theory of meaning and theory of value argues that while Lewis’s own statement of the connection between them is inadequate, a way can be shown which allows for a connection between the two. The amount of space devoted to this endeavor is even briefer than the length of the book indicates, for the last nineteen pages consist of an appendix on Quine’s theory of meaning, and there are numbered but blank pages between chapters. The (...) remaining pages are devoted to lengthy expositions of Lewis’s key concepts, interspersed with discussions of the issues and problems involved. Washington neither shows that Lewis’s connection between meaning and value is inadequate nor establishes an adequate connection of his own. This shortcoming, however, is secondary to a much more fundamental problem with the book: his understanding of Lewis’s key concepts. For example, Washington holds that terminating judgments are those made in ordinary discourse in which knowledge is partial because always contingent upon further corroboration. That this is not a philosophical slip of the tongue is evinced in his numerous examples, all expressed in the objective language of nonterminating judgments, such as the following: "If I send Sue a bouquet of roses she will marry me." When he examines nonterminating judgments, he contrasts them with empirical propositions and describes them as tantamount to the type of assertions made by scientists and historians—claims about events not directly associated with one’s immediate experience or one’s way of acting, morally or otherwise. (shrink)