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By Joan Richardson

Joan Richardson presents a desirable and compelling account of the emergence of the fundamental American philosophy: pragmatism. She demonstrates pragmatism's engagement with numerous branches of the typical sciences and strains the advance of Jamesian pragmatism from the past due 19th century via modernism, following its pointings into the current. Richardson combines strands from America's spiritual event with medical details to supply interpretations that holiday new floor in literary and cultural heritage. This e-book exemplifies the price of interdisciplinary ways to generating literary feedback. In a chain of hugely unique readings of Edwards, Emerson, William and Henry James, Stevens, and Stein, A usual historical past of Pragmatism tracks the interaction of non secular purpose, clinical hypothesis, and literature in shaping an American aesthetic. Wide-ranging and ambitious, this groundbreaking e-book could be crucial interpreting for all scholars and students of yank literature.

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Extra info for A Natural History of Pragmatism: The Fact of Feeling from Jonathan Edwards to Gertrude Stein

Sample text

We know from Darwinian theory the significance of the integral, incremental steps provided by individual change to speciation. In the cases of William and Henry James, the effects of their individual variations continue to be traceable in their relational affinities, as, of course, is true also of Darwin, of Emerson, of Edwards, for the purposes of the conversations opened here, or of Newton, Milton, Augustine, Plato, among many others, for the more ancient conversations prompting these later ones.

Within the seemingly stable grammatical structures, semantic equivocations, not apparent at first, create storms of decision: either a sentence is read attending to its structure or attending to structure is suspended to allow semantic resonance and ambiguity. Readers sensitized to these permutations are, in consequence, called on to perform the paradigmatic Pragmatist act, to choose a way of reading that will make “truth happen” to the shimmering ideas offered, to reach at least temporary closure.

Before going on to measure the imaginative dimensions of the room of the idea that Newton’s descriptions of light and its behavior helped In Jonathan Edwards’s room of the idea 27 Edwards construct, two preliminary observations will give a sense necessary to realizing Edwards’s particular sensitivity to language and habit of mind. One concerns his relation to texts and the other a distinctive feature of his style. Repetition and variation of different kinds are central to both these aspects. First, it is important to keep in mind the practice of typological reading and thinking in the training of Puritan ministers.

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