A Pluralistic Universe: Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College on the Present Situation in Philosophy, by William James; A New Philosophical Reading
Editor: H. G. Callaway
Date Of Publication: Nov 2008
This new edition of William James’s 1909 classic, A Pluralistic Universe reproduces the original text, only modernizing the spelling. The books has been annotated throughout to clarify James’s points of reference and discussion. There is a new, fuller index, a brief chronology of James’s life, and a new bibliography—chiefly based on James’s own references. The editor, H.G. Callaway, has included a new Introduction which elucidates the legacy of Jamesian pluralism to survey some related questions of contemporary American society.
A Pluralistic Universe was the last major book James published during his life time. It is a substantial philosophical work, devoted to a thorough-going criticism of Hegelian monism and Absolutism—and the exploration of philosophical and social-theological alternatives. Our world of some one hundred years on is much the better for James’s contributions; and understanding James’s pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding. At present, we are more certain that American is, and is best, a pluralistic society, than we are of what particular forms our pluralism should take. Keeping an eye out for social interpretations of Jamesian pluralism, this new philosophical reading casts light on our twenty-first century alternatives by reference to prior American experience and developments.
Born and educated in Philadelphia, PA, H.G. Callaway authored Context for Meaning and Analysis, A Critical Study in the Philosophy of Language (Rodopi, 1993) and co-edited American Ethics: A Source Book from Edwards to Dewey (University Press of America, 2000). His edition of W.V. Quine’s Immanuel Kant Lectures appeared from Frommann-Holzboog in 2003. More recent scholarly editions include R.W. Emerson’s, The Conduct of Life (U.P.A., 2006) and Society and Solitude (Mellen Press, 2008). Callaway holds a doctorate in Philosophy from Temple University and has taught at various American and European universities and at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
Context for Meaning and Analysis:
“...a good and interesting read, and a book well worth working through and taking seriously.”
―Erkenntnis 46, 1997.
“In summary, this is an indispensable book for those who want to know the history of North American ethical thought. Beyond that it helps the reader to a profound understanding of the reality of the contemporary culture of the United States.”
―Anuario Filosofico 35 (Spain), 2002.
“…Stroh and Callaway have succeeded in compiling a very rich source book, indeed.. They are remarkably successful in bringing together many parts of the American narrative from a pluralistic range of sources without losing track of its central themes. Their introductions to the various chapters and writers are both succinct and very readable and helpful. … this is an outstanding book. The editors have created a diverse source book that will be of interest not only to students of ethics, but also to those wishing to understand more clearly the political, religious, economic, aesthetic, and individualistic themes that render unique the narrative of the American quest for the good life.”
―Transactions of the C. S. Peirce Society 39, 2003.
W.V. Quine, The Immanuel Kant Lectures:
“The reader will fully appreciate the extreme importance of the Kant Lectures by reading the translator’s illuminating Introduction to the book. … Callaway does not content himself with stressing the strong points in the Kant Lectures. He also takes a stance on a few important issues discussed in the book and suggests alternative solutions of his own..”
―Dialectica 59, 2005.
R.W. Emerson, The Conduct of Life, A Philosophical Reading:
“We find before us an excellent edition of the book which the influential American thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson (1802-82) published in December of 1860, four months before the outbreak of the American Civil War. The central question which Emerson poses in this volume concerns the conduct of life, that is, of how to live. ... As an essentially religious thinker, profoundly preoccupied with the human soul and with the development of human potentialities, he has always firmly opposed to slavery: one cannot refuse to others human beings the development of their distinctively human potentialities”
―Anuario Filosofico 35 (Spain), 2006.
“Callaway intends this text for students and the educated public. And it does its job well. …Callaway’s work goes along way toward helping students prepare for a class discussion because they can do some of their own basic research …before class begins. And the professor can easily do the work of tying together the components of Callaway’s introduction into a focus relevant for the class at hand. Finally, Emerson’s work itself is, as always, a fecund source for reflection and discussion,….”
―Newsletter of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, November 2007.
R.W. Emerson, Society and Solitude:
“H.G. Callaway provides a remarkably rich resource for understanding the historical background as well as the literary and societal influences on Emerson. He traces Emerson’s accounts of morality and law as realist and cognitivist, and he outlines Emerson’s relationship to Adam’s Federalists and their development into the Whig party.”
―Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr., President, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
"Howard Callaway's reent edition of James' Hibbert Lectures joins the Harvard edition of them, with a foreword by Richard J. Bernstein, as an indispensable volume of James's work. Indeed, Callaway's editorial introduction, together with his copious annotations, constitutes, no less, a significant work in its own right in the scholarship of James. Harvard's and Callaway's editions are not in competition; rather, they nicely complement each other...A Pluralistic Universe, on Callaway's view, is considerably more than a book of merely historical interest. James Hibbert Lectures, particularly Callaway's edition, belongs in the libraries of all those interested in philosophy, American studies, history and political science."
Richard A. S. Hall, Fayetteville State University, The Pluralist, 4:3, 2009
"Howard Callaway here has given us a thoroughly annotated reading of James's 1909 pragmatic classic... Callaway's notes and introduction add a layer of clarity, and shine a spotlight on James's own important intellectual kinship...[his] voice has long been a civil, engaging presence online, in forums devoted to American philosophy. Many who have known him as an indefatigable poster and charitable replier now have the happy opportunity to know him as a careful reader and guide to this indispensable work."
Phil Oliver, Middle Tennessee State University, Newsletter of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, No. 108, November 2009
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