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Original Essays | September 18, 2014

Lin Enger: IMG Knowing vs. Knowing



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Other titles in the American Political Thought series:

Democratic Temperament: The Legacy of William James (American Political Thought)

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Democratic Temperament: The Legacy of William James (American Political Thought) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Nineteenth-century psychologist and pragmatist philosopher William James is rarely considered a political theorist. Renowned as the author of The Principles of Psychology and The Varieties of Religious Experience, James is often viewed as a radical individualist with no interest in politics; yet he was a critic of imperialism and absolutism and an advocate of tolerance, and his writing includes a penetrating analysis of political psychology.

This first book by a political theorist devoted exclusively to James's theory argues that political concerns were in fact central to his intellectual work. Joshua Miller links James to the contemporary public dialogue by treating him as a theorist of action and exploring the complexities of that theory. He also relates the philosopher's thought to his own political experiences and observations and-by explicating, criticizing, and meditating on James-develops provocative new ideas about issues facing democracy today.

At the heart of the book is James's description of the "democratic temperament," which comprises a willingness to act, the placing of public good ahead of private comfort, generosity toward one's opponents, and mutual respect among citizens of different viewpoints, races, genders, classes, and religions. Miller sees this temperament as a healthy corrective to the mean-spiritedness that characterizes so much current political discourse, which is precisely what makes James's insights so relevant to today's political environment. By revealing how James speaks to the paradoxical condition of modern political existence-withdrawal from public life combined with fanatical action-Miller shows how James's views apply to the possibility and problems of reviving participatory democracy in our era.

Scholars who have never considered the political aspects of James's work will find in this study a new way of approaching him and of reconsidering radical democracy, while readers unfamiliar with James will find it a highly accessible introduction to a significant aspect of his thought. Democratic Temperament clearly shows that James deserves to be read not only for his recognized genius but also for his fresh and unexpected insights into the possibilities and paradoxes of American democratic political consciousness.

Book News Annotation:

American psychologist and pragmatist philosopher James (1842- 1910) is generally considered too individualistic to have had any interest in politics, but Miller argues that political concerns were in fact central to his intellectual work. He finds in James a theorist of action, explores the complexities of his theory, and related his thought to Miller's own experience as a political activist and scholar.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 121-162) and index.

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Sheldon Wolin

Preface

Introduction

1. Models of Action

2. James and Gender

3. Sources of Respect

4. Faith and Doubt: Action's Wellsprings

5. Democratic Teaching

Conclusion

Notes

Suggested Reading

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780700608317
Other:
Miller, Joshua I.
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Author:
Miller, Joshua I.
Location:
Lawrence, Kan. :
Subject:
History & Theory
Subject:
Democracy
Subject:
James, William
Subject:
Democracia
Subject:
History & Theory - General
Subject:
Political and social views
Subject:
James, William - Political and social views
Subject:
Politics - General
Series:
American Political Thought
Series Volume:
82-659
Publication Date:
19970531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
9.32x6.30x.86 in. 1.17 lbs.

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General

Democratic Temperament: The Legacy of William James (American Political Thought) New Hardcover
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