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Science, Community, and the Transformation of American Philosophy, 1860-1930

In the first book-length study of American philosophy at the turn of the century, Daniel J. Wilson traces the formation of philosophy as an academic discipline. Wilson shows how the rise of the natural and physical sciences at the end of the nineteenth century precipitated a "crisis of confidence" among philosophers as to the role of their discipline. Deftly tracing the ways in which philosophers sought to incorporate scientific values and methods into their outlook and to redefine philosophy itself, Wilson moves between close analysis of philosophical texts and consideration of professional careers of illustrative philosophers, such as Charles Sanders Peirce, John Dewey, and Josiah Royce.

The author situates the emergence of professional philosophy in the context of the professionalization of American higher education and articulates, in the case of philosophy, the structures and values of a professional discipline. One of the most important consequences of this transformation was a new emphasis on communal theories of truth. Peirce, Dewey, and Royce all developed sophisticated and important theories of community as they were engaged in reshaping and redefining the limits of philosophy. This book will be of great importance for those interested in the history of philosophy, the rise of professions, and American intellectual and educational history, and to all those seeking to understand the contemporary revival of pragmatic thought and theories of community.

238 pages | 6.00 x 9.00 | © 1990

Culture Studies

History: American History, History of Ideas

Philosophy: American Philosophy

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. The Scientist as Philosopher: Wright, Peirce, and James
3. The Appearance of the Professional Academic Philosopher: Hall, Royce, and Dewey
4. Philosophy and the Challenge of Science at the End of the Nineteenth Century
5. Treating Psychology as a Science: Toward the Separation of Psychology and Philosophy
6. From Colonial Outpost to Academic Rival: Psychology and Philosophy at the Turn of the Century
7. Science and the Crisis of Confidence in American Philosophy
8. The Triumph of Professional Philosophy
9. Conclusion

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