Common KnoWLEDgE The soundness of Richardsonâs approach to James is illustrated by a letter (not quoted by Richardson, surprisingly) that James wrote to his colleague Josiah Royce in 1900, while James was traveling in Europe. The letter gets across Jamesâs eager acceptance of intimate social interaction as part of his philosophical activity: I lead a parasitic life upon you, for my highest flight of ambitious ideality is to become your conqueror, and go down into history as such, you and I rolled into one anotherâs arms and silent (or rather loquacious still) in one last death-grapple of an embrace. How then, O my dear Royce, can I forget you, or be contented out of your close neighborhood? Different as our minds are, yours has nourished mine, as no other social influence ever has, and in converse with you I have always felt that my life was being lived importantly. There is jocular hyperbole in this communication between old friends, but also deep truth. It is perhaps Jamesâs most gushingly expressed statement of the importance of his personal interaction with other philosophically engaged minds, whether professionally trained like Royce, or, like most of Jamesâs social contacts, amateurs whose random
Common Knowledge – Duke University Press
Published: Oct 1, 2008
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