• William James, Charles Peirce, and American Pragmatism

  • By: James Campbell
  • Narrated by: Lynn Redgrave
  • Length: 2 hrs
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (190 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

C.S. Peirce was an authentic American genius who developed a tough minded pragmatism and a sweeping philosophy of evolutionary love. William James, a trained physician, carefully studied human experience, including the highest reaches of consciousness. Peirce and James established a rich, sensible, and pragmatic American approach to philosophy's traditional problems.

The World of Philosophy series is a dramatic presentation, in understandable language, of the concerns, questions, interests, and overall outlook of the world's great philosophers and philosophical traditions. Special emphasis on clear and relevant explanations gives you a new arsenal of insights toward living a better life.

Don't miss other titles in the World of Philosophy series.
©1996 Carmichael & Carmichael, Inc. and Knowledge Products (P)1996 Carmichael & Carmichael, Inc. and Knowledge Products

What listeners say about William James, Charles Peirce, and American Pragmatism

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A nice little introduction

My one complaint about this book is that the reader for Peirce sounds consistently angry. Knowing a little about Peirce's personality, that may not be inaccurate, but it could easily obscure the message of his words. In fact, Peirce's language is often refreshingly clear while ocassionally and paradoxically bordering on the poetic. That said, this little book gives plenty of space to Peirce who, while little known to most laymen, is considered by many professionals as the most original and influential of American philosophers. This is an entertaining and illuminating introduction and likely to lead to a desire to know more.

10 people found this helpful

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Good introduction

American Pragmatism is one of the greatly misunderstood philosophical ideas. This particular introduction does a fine job of explaining both the historical and intellectual background. Some very important areas of pragmatism are cleared up in this work.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The source for anti-idealism...

A painless introduction to the primarily American philosophy of "the smell test". In brief "ideas must stand the practical scrutiny of rational people...despite historic dogma.

3 people found this helpful

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  • CA
  • 05-25-21

Cool voices dude

The voice actors are absolutely horrible. What in the hell are they thinking? Who are these voices for? What a joke.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

A good companion to The Metaphysical Club

I’d also read Louis Menand’s classic to get the sense of what’s going on in the minds of these great people. They’re way ahead of their time and had successfully established great sets of ideas to help us think. In the age of confusing cultural norms, we need to be able to think so this book is appropriate for today’s circumstances.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Adequate Overview paired with bizarre Readings

This features two orders of narration: moderately illuminating summaries of pragmatic philosophers' positions read by actress Lynne Redgrave in a measured and professional way, suggesting we are at a table discussion with her, and vaguely historicized voices of the philosophers. The contrast, is, unfortunately, bizarre: when philosophers are cited, male actors speak the words as though in old news-reels, and the directorial choice here is to have Charles Peirce, whose work is the focus of the study, shout like a perturbed Vermont farmer trying to communicate with his dense nephew as they face off on opposite sides of a country pond. At other times, the actor playing Peirce sounds like a fanatic demagogue or con-artist preacher on 1940s radio. His voice at all times is EQ'd to sound as if it is coming out of a 1948 Ford dash radio. The resulting metallic screed is a) wildly out of key with pragmatism, which is precisely non-fanatic and reservedly rational b) intensely distracting in its absurd contrast with the sane, composed tone of Redgrave's voice. The renderings of James and Dewey are less nutty-sounding than Peirce, but they too sound like Movietone news narrators from 1933. Creative staging ideas were turned in bizarre misdirections.

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Painstakingly boring

Think of the dryest academic class you ever were forced to sit in and multiply it times ten.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Pierce an unlistenable voice. Had to quit

Redgrave excellent as always. This is only segment that shrinks from telling the truth about American intentionality. It's too embarrassing to discuss the idea of good as and new ideas that address the conditions of all the population. America was just as backward about the "under classes" and their "care" and accepting of destroying the native population and importing and breeding slaves. Most simplistic and dishonest of this otherwise ewe done series. Remove it

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excellent

i am fully addicted to this short survey of... series. it's really maybe the best that i know of. and brah - VOE, Lynn Redgrave!

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 01-09-13

A good narrative account, lacking real depth.

I enjoyed this title and I think if it had been a radio broadcast I would have been very pleased with it. However, I expect a little more from a published (audio)book and was a little disappointed with the lack of depth in terms of the actual philosophy of Peirce and James themselves. Dewey was mentioned a great deal but again his take is summarised rather than really developed. Not a bad title, just not a great one. Still, probably worth two hours; though there's not much new in it if you're already familiar with either thinker. Could be a good one to recommend to students.

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