William James's Springs of Delight: The Return to Life (The by Phil Oliver

By Phil Oliver

This enterprising ebook, written within the spirit of William James, urges our appreciation of the intensely own personality of non secular transcendence. Phil Oliver's paintings has very important implications for experts interested in the Jamesian suggestion of "pure experience," and it illuminates major interdisciplinary ties between philosophy, literature, and different highbrow domain names.

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Extra info for William James's Springs of Delight: The Return to Life (The Vanderbilt Library of American Philosophy)

Sample text

Action” can mean appreciative enjoyment that alters the landscape of what we care about and what we care to explain. Transcendence can be fully engaged, in this way, in a normally active life. What we enjoy affects what we care about, take an active interest in, and do. Beginning in the late twentieth century, we have come to care about the whole burgeoning culture of the computer, which has spawned a raft of exciting new work in the philosophy and psychology of mind. This new approach seeks for clues to the mystery of consciousness through the analogy of software and programs, in the chips and circuits and subroutines of the “thinking machines” in which we have invested so much energy and on which we have grown so dependent.

It is a rare bird that can in the same breath praise those who “throw the doors of their minds . . ”73 So James is happy to be a “mysterian,” a steadfast proponent of the idea that life is enhanced and dignified by the perception of permanent mystery at its core, flattened and misrepresented by excessive positivism, naive verificationism, and unimaginative naturalism. But he is also a kind of positivist and verificationist, and he is a naturalist, despite some current scholars’ claims to the contrary.

He described its physiological and emotional N 32 WILLIAM JAMES’S “SPRINGS OF DELIGHT” manifestations in a letter to his wife testifying eloquently to his preference for risk and challenge in life, and to his sense that such preferences are importantly related to our corporeal nature. The second is James’s personal account of the great San Francisco earthquake, an account that must be at least curious and possibly illuminating to anyone who has ever been visited with an earthquake experience of his own.

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