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Last Call for William James: On Pragmatism, Piper, and the Value of Psychical Research

Last Call for William James: On Pragmatism, Piper, and the Value of Psychical Research Last Call for William James: On Pragmatism, Piper, and the Value of Psychical Research tadd ruetenik St. Ambrose University “w i l l i a m ja m e s h a d a lway s be e n attracted to interesting women,” writes biographer Robert D. Richardson. “Women found him attractive too.” He quickly notes that “there has never been so much as a breath of scandal about these friendships. . . . But even if James never ran off for a fling . . . James’s women friends were an important part of his life.” Yet James was spontaneous and reckless, “a natural philanderer, with a philanderer’s lack of interest in settled arrangements” (Richardson 353). What follows is not addressed to any potential scandal in James’s personal life; it is, however, a response to what some might consider a scandal in James’s professional life, namely, the close relationship that he had with medium research. It is natural to regard James’s psychical research as if it were an affair he was having on his marriage to pragmatism. Bringing up the topic of me- dium communication among a group of intellectuals—particularly academ- ics—often leads to uncomfortable moments. If one http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Pluralist University of Illinois Press

Last Call for William James: On Pragmatism, Piper, and the Value of Psychical Research

The Pluralist , Volume 7 – Mar 2, 2012

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1944-6489

Abstract

Last Call for William James: On Pragmatism, Piper, and the Value of Psychical Research tadd ruetenik St. Ambrose University “w i l l i a m ja m e s h a d a lway s be e n attracted to interesting women,” writes biographer Robert D. Richardson. “Women found him attractive too.” He quickly notes that “there has never been so much as a breath of scandal about these friendships. . . . But even if James never ran off for a fling . . . James’s women friends were an important part of his life.” Yet James was spontaneous and reckless, “a natural philanderer, with a philanderer’s lack of interest in settled arrangements” (Richardson 353). What follows is not addressed to any potential scandal in James’s personal life; it is, however, a response to what some might consider a scandal in James’s professional life, namely, the close relationship that he had with medium research. It is natural to regard James’s psychical research as if it were an affair he was having on his marriage to pragmatism. Bringing up the topic of me- dium communication among a group of intellectuals—particularly academ- ics—often leads to uncomfortable moments. If one

Journal

The PluralistUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Mar 2, 2012

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