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  1. Was James Psychologistic?Alexander Klein - 2016 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 4 (5).
    As Thomas Uebel has recently argued, some early logical positivists saw American pragmatism as a kindred form of scientific philosophy. They associated pragmatism with William James, whom they rightly saw as allied with Ernst Mach. But what apparently blocked sympathetic positivists from pursuing commonalities with American pragmatism was the concern that James advocated some form of psychologism, a view they thought could not do justice to the a priori. This paper argues that positivists were wrong to read James as offering (...)
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  • In Defense of Wishful Thinking: James, Quine, Emotions, and the Web of Belief.Alexander Klein - 2018 - In Maria Baghramian & Sarin Marchetti (eds.), Pragmatism and the European Traditions: Encounters with Analytic Philosophy and Phenomenology Before the Great Divide. London: Routledge. pp. 228-250.
    What is W. V. O. Quine’s relationship to classical pragmatism? Although he resists the comparison to William James in particular, commentators have seen an affinity between his “web of belief” model of theory confirmation and James’s claim that our beliefs form a “stock” that faces new experience as a corporate body. I argue that the similarity is only superficial. James thinks our web of beliefs should be responsive not just to perceptual but also to emotional experiences in some cases; Quine (...)
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  • The Curious Case of the Decapitated Frog: On Experiment and Philosophy.Alexander Klein - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (5):890-917.
    ABSTRACTPhysiologists have long known that some vertebrates can survive for months without a brain. This phenomenon attracted limited attention until the nineteenth century when a series of experiments on living, decapitated frogs ignited a controversy about consciousness. Pflüger demonstrated that such creatures do not just exhibit reflexes; they also perform purposive behaviours. Suppose one thinks, along with Pflüger's ally Lewes, that purposive behaviour is a mark of consciousness. Then one must count a decapitated frog as conscious. If one rejects this (...)
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  • Idealism, Pragmatism, and the Will to Believe: Charles Renouvier and William James.Jeremy Dunham - 2015 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (4):1-23.
    This article investigates the history of the relation between idealism and pragmatism by examining the importance of the French idealist Charles Renouvier for the development of William James's ‘Will to Believe’. By focusing on French idealism, we obtain a broader understanding of the kinds of idealism on offer in the nineteenth century. First, I show that Renouvier's unique methodological idealism led to distinctively pragmatist doctrines and that his theory of certitude and its connection to freedom is worthy of reconsideration. Second, (...)
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