Philosophy in America from the Puritans to James

Philosophy in America from the Puritans to James

Philosophy in America from the Puritans to James

Philosophy in America from the Puritans to James

Excerpt

History of development of civilization in the United States has received in recent years increasing attention in the educational programs of our colleges and universities. To an extent this increasing attention has been due to a desire to place American culture in a more just relation to other vital and more traditional studies. It has not, I think, been a mark of parochialism or of preference for the more immediate and more local aspects of human affairs. It has not meant any diminution in recognition of the wide and deep indebtedness of American culture to its classical and European sources. Rather it has occurred conjointly with a realization of the present involvement of Americain the intricate course of' events across the entire world. Understanding of the physical and intellectual forces that have made American civilization in the past is part and parcel of the effort to orient American life wisely and effectively in a world to which determination of American policy can not but be of crucial and universal concern.

The present book is a contribution to the needed materials for a proper grasp of the history of ideas in the United States. Many of the early documents which exhibit phases of this history have long been unavailable except in research centers and to limited numbers of students. Some of these documents are here offered to all who wish to read them. The selection of these documents has been made, I think, with care and discrimination of their importance. But the book is more than a group of selections. It is also a history of the development of philosophy in the United States. In the introductions to the successive selections are given accounts of the intellectual trends which the selections illustrate, of the various waves of European influence which came one after another to our American shores, of the situations in our own land to which the American thinkers were directing their attention, and of the impact of ideas upon future developments to which they contributed. One problem which the authors of the present book had to solve was of course that of elimination. Much more was worthy of inclusion than limitations of space permitted. Enough has been included, however, to give a clear story of the main currents of American thought in its philosophical expressions. Emphasis has been . . .

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