American Thought: A Chart

THE history of philosophy and the history of civilization are distinct yet inseparable. Ideas do not arise in vacuo: they are often suggested by life itself; and contrariwise, ideas do not become buried in dusty treatises: in many instances, they influence various sciences and arts, or find their way into man's material environment.

In studying philosophy, we must beware, therefore, of regarding thinkers and their contributions to culture in isolation from events of the preceding and the succeeding ages. The student should not learn philosophy torn out as it were of the actual context of life.

We find it desirable, for these reasons, to begin our brief survey of the life and work of individual thinkers with a bird's-eye view of the three centuries of American thought up to the present day, in the form of a chart demonstrating complex but organic relations between philosonhv and history in general. The chart gives each thinker's date of birth and date of death, connected by a black vertical line. This line is placed toward the right or the left, to indicate the type of his philosophy on the scale of idealistic or naturalistic leanings. His name is printed higher or lower on his life line, depending on the approximate period of his most fruitful work.

Side by side with these data one can find references to facts of great cultural significance-printed in red-such as major wars, political events, founding of great universities, basic inventions, and the names of the most influential foreign scientists and philosophers.

It was most difficult, of course, to decide upon our list of American thinkers, twenty-five in all, to be included in the chart and the following text.

It seemed advisable, first of all, to abandon a purely professional standpoint and to select at least a few outstanding thinkers, not ordinarily called philosophers; among them are found William Penn, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, and Robert G. Ingersoll. On the other hand, men like Alexander B. Johnson ( 1786-1867),

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American Philosophy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Table of Contents vii
  • List of Contributors ix
  • Introduction - Orientation of Thought xi
  • Suggested Readings xviii
  • Part I - Fields and Problems of American Philosophy 1
  • The Philosophy of Science: The Problem of Factual Truth 3
  • Suggested Readings 19
  • Axiology: the Problem Of Human Values 21
  • Suggested Readings 33
  • Aesthetics: the Problem of Art And Beauty 34
  • Suggested Readings 47
  • Ethics: the Problem of Morality 49
  • Suggested Readings 63
  • Semantics: the Problem Of Meaning 64
  • Suggested Readings 82
  • Logic: the Problem of Reasoning 84
  • Suggested Readings 97
  • Metaphysics: the Problems Of Knowledge and Existence 98
  • Suggested Readings 113
  • Philosophy of Religion: The Problem of Faith 114
  • Suggested Readings 127
  • Part II - Sources and Choices of Philosophy 129
  • Transcendentalism 131
  • Suggested Readings 137
  • Idealism 138
  • Suggested Readings 146
  • Thomism 147
  • Suggested Readings 154
  • Personalism 155
  • Suggested Readings 161
  • Pragmatism 162
  • Suggested Readings 171
  • Humanism 172
  • Suggested Readings 182
  • Logical Positivism 183
  • Suggested Readings 191
  • Realism 193
  • Suggested Readings 202
  • Naturalism 203
  • Suggested Readings 210
  • Oriental Philosophy in America 211
  • Part III - American Thinkers 221
  • American Thought: A Chart 223
  • William Penn 227
  • Samuel Johnson 230
  • Jonathan Edwards 233
  • Benjamin Franklin 235
  • Thomas Paine 238
  • Thomas Jefferson 241
  • Benjamin Rush 244
  • William Ellery Channing 247
  • John Caldwell Calhoun 250
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson 253
  • Abraham Lincoln 256
  • Henry David Thoreau 259
  • Walt Whitman 262
  • Robert Green Ingersoll 265
  • Charles Sanders Peirce 268
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 271
  • John Fiske 274
  • William James 277
  • Ambrose Bierce 280
  • Borden Parker Bowne 283
  • Josiah Royce 285
  • John Dewey 288
  • George Santayana 291
  • Morris Raphael Cohen 294
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt 297
  • Suggested Readings 300
  • Conclusion 303
  • Index 311
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