William James on Democratic Individuality

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Stephen S. Bush
  • Cambridge, England: 
    Cambridge University Press
    , November
     248 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Nancy Frankenberry forthcoming.


William James (1842–1910) argued for a philosophy of democracy and pluralism that advocates individual and collective responsibility for our social arrangements, our morality, and our religion. In James' view, democracy resides first and foremost not in governmental institutions or in procedures such as voting, but rather in the characteristics of individuals, and in qualities of mind and conduct. It is a philosophy for social change, counselling action and hope despite the manifold challenges facing democratic politics, and these issues still resonate strongly today. In this book, Stephen Bush explores how these themes connect to James' philosophy of religion, his moral thought, his epistemology, his psychology, and his metaphysics. His fresh and original study highlights the relevance of James' thought to modern debates, and will appeal to scholars and students of moral and political philosophy.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Stephen S. Bush is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University, Rhode Island. His publications include Visions of Religion: Experience, Meaning, and Power (2014).

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