William James on Human Nature and Evolution

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William James on Human Nature and Evolution

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dc.contributor.advisor De Groot, Jean en_US
dc.contributor.author Shaw, Elizabeth Carmen en_US
dc.contributor.other Dougherty, Jude P en_US
dc.contributor.other McCarthy, John C en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2012-09-11T17:08:25Z
dc.date.available 2012-09-11T17:08:25Z
dc.date.created 2010 en_US
dc.date.issued 2012-09-11
dc.identifier.other Shaw_cua_0043A_10039 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1961/11512
dc.description Degree awarded: Ph.D. Philosophy. The Catholic University of America en_US
dc.description.abstract An active-passive dualism is present in the writings of William James, insofar as his earlier works tend to emphasize individual freedom and self-determination through personal choice and action, while his later works manifest a commitment to self-fulfillment through receptive openness to the wider, spiritual aspects of reality. The terms "promethean pragmatist" and "antipromethean mystic" have been coined to designate, respectively, these contrasting emphases. Scholars disagree about how to explain or otherwise resolve the tension generated by this dualism. This dissertation argues that James's thought on the question of the evolution of man contributes to a resolution of this tension. While it may be fair to say that James himself was not a mystic, it is quite evident that he was a thoroughgoing pragmatist. Precisely as a pragmatist, James both affirms the immaterial, spiritual dimensions of human nature associated with the mystic, and develops his thought on evolution in a manner that carefully respects and integrates these elements. Chapter 1 considers Jamesian pragmatism and the notion of truth possible within it. Chapter 2 surveys his understanding of human nature, and with chapter 1 serves as grounding for understanding how the development of his thought on the evolution of man is an application of his pragmatism. Chapters 3 details James's thought on the evolution of man, and chapter 4 completes the discussion by considering his thought on the "pluralistic" nature of the universe, itself the setting for evolution. Chapter 4 also considers the thought of Henri Bergson as an important source for James's pluralism. Drawing together seemingly disparate areas of his thought, this treatment provides a comprehensive view of texts from the full span of James's career. Throughout, the pragmatist and the mystic are represented but never truly at odds. In consequence, we understand James's thought to be coherent and unified. en_US
dc.format.extent 262 p. en_US
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en_US
dc.language eng en_US
dc.publisher The Catholic University of America en_US
dc.subject Philosophy en_US
dc.subject.other American philosophy en_US
dc.subject.other evolution en_US
dc.subject.other Henri Bergson en_US
dc.subject.other human nature en_US
dc.subject.other pragmatism en_US
dc.subject.other William James en_US
dc.title William James on Human Nature and Evolution en_US
dc.type Text en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US

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