Doctrine and Experience: Essays in American Philosophy

Doctrine and Experience: Essays in American Philosophy

Doctrine and Experience: Essays in American Philosophy

Doctrine and Experience: Essays in American Philosophy


This collection of thirteen essays, when viewed together, offers a unique perspective on the history of American philosophy. It illuminates for the first time in book form, how thirteen major American philosophical thinkers viewed a problem of special interest in the American philosophical tradition: the relationship between experience and reflection. Written by well-known authorities on the figure about which he or she writes, the essays are arranged chronologically to highlight the changes and developments in thought from Puritanism to Pragmatism to Process Philosophy. While Doctrine and Experience will be of particular interest to specialists in American Philosophy, there is also much to offer anyone interested in the intellectual and cultural history of the United States. In order of appearance, the essays are: "Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening" by John E. Smith "Heart and Head: The Mind of Thomas Jefferson" by Andrew J. Reck "Emerson and the American Future" by Robert C. Pollock "Chauncey Wright and the Pragmatists" by Edward Madden "Charles S. Peirce: Action Through Thought ¿ The Ethics of Experience" by Vincent G. Potter "Life Is in the Transitions¿: Radical Empiricism and Contemporary Concerns" by John J. McDermott "John Dewey and the Metaphysics of American Democracy" by Ralph W. Sleeper "Individualization and Unification in Sartre and Dewey" by Thelma Z. Levine "Josiah Royce: Anticipator of European Existentialism and Phenomenology" by Jacqueline Ann K. Kegley "The Transcendence of Materialism and Idealism in American Thought" by John Lachs "C. I. Lewis and the Pragmatic Tradition in American Philosophy" by Sandra Rosenthal "The Social Philosophy of George Herbert Mead" by David Miller "Existence as Transaction: A Whiteheadian Study of Causality" by Elizabeth Kraus.


The publication of these essays is the outcome of a decade of collaboration and of two United States bicentennial celebrations. Their original preparation was occasioned by the bicentennial of American Independence in celebration of which Fordham University's philosophy department planned to run a special series of public lectures on American Philosophy during the Fall semester of 1976. Professor John McDermott, then at Queens College of The City Universityof New York, agreed to organize and coordinate the lectures, one of which he himself was to give. In conjunction with this public lecture series the department offered two graduate seminars, one on the Master's level (which I directed) and one on the Doctoral level (directed by Professor McDermott). One of the attractive features of this arrangement was that the lecturers held a session with each seminar at which they discussed the lecture topic and answered questions.

The credit for this wonderful format goes to Professor McDermott to whom the department and the participating students owe a debt of gratitude for bringing together from all over the United States such a distinguished company of experts in American Philosophy. I wish to take this opportunity to express my personal appreciation for his generous help in making the seminars and the lecture series such a success.

A second bicentennial has now been celebrated. During the intervening years Professor McDermott and I had hoped to get that series of lectures published. Finally, having overcome various obstacles (monetary and editorial), we are pleased to present these essays as the fruit of that lecture series. We think they form a splendid collection and we hope that the reader will find them both informative and entertaining.

We consider the timing fortunate. Just as the drafting of the United States Constitution in 1787 was the fruit of what had been sown in 1776, so the completion of these essays in 1987 is the fruit of what had been sown in 1976. We trust that this volume will be . . .

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