William James's Naturalism Within the Common Project of Pragmatist Philosophy

Author/s Rosa M. Calcaterra
Publishing Year 2017 Issue 2017/3 Language English
Pages 17 P. 475-491 File size 20022 KB
DOI 10.3280/SF2017-003007
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The paper focuses on James’s naturalism as a paradigmatic indicator of the common project of the pragmatist movement that, in contrast with prevailing interpretations, is presented as consisting of differentiated yet complementary ways to perform philosophical activity. The author reconstructs James’s main epistemological, ethical and metaphysical arguments aiming at showing how his philosophy is embedded to Darwin’s biology in such a way that represents the theoretical signposts of pragmatism, especially the shared attentiveness to continuism and fallibilism. The article particularly underlines James’s disapproval of both ontological and methodological reductionisms as well as his denunciation of the various forms of dogmatism generated from philosophical or scientific craving for "absolutes". Such an attitude merges James’s contingentism that is in fact coherent with his criticism of the interpretation of the Darwinian principle of "natural selection" in an absolutist key as well as with his appreciation of Darwin’s suggestion of ambiguity as the most authentic cipher of physical and human reality.

Keywords: William James, continuism, non-reductive naturalism, radical humanism, radical empirism.

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  • Two Neglected Arguments for a Pragmatist Metaphysics: Peirce and James on Individuals and Generals Michela Bella, Maria Regina Brioschi, in RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA 3/2022 pp.511
    DOI: 10.3280/SF2022-003010

Rosa M. Calcaterra, William James's Naturalism Within the Common Project of Pragmatist Philosophy in "RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA" 3/2017, pp 475-491, DOI: 10.3280/SF2017-003007