Apr 29, 2015

Wed Review (William James - Pragamatism)

This became a pretty tedious read after the first couple chapters. He seems to keep repeating the same basic ideas and applying them to a variety of subjects.

He states at one point how a theory goes through a few different stages in it's introduction and adoption. Eventually a theory becomes so commonplace that it's taken as obvious and trivial. I think that's what's happened to Pragmatism over the last 100+ years, since it was first formally stated.

It's still a powerful idea and one that's useful. I'm not entirely sure I understand the full force of it's implications, and I want to now read James's essay on truth for a more thorough discussion on that.

I would have preferred a more concise presentation of his ideas than this book. I prefer the secondary literature I've read on the topic.

The book is actually a text taken from a series of lectures James did. I read it on Gutenberg - so I'm not sure this applies to the print versions - but a lot of the important points are presented in all capitals, and I imagine James screaming at the audience to emphasis these. I started to hate James by the end of the book, his constant repetitions and dull prose, so this helped me picture him as an asshole.

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