SAAP Annual Meeting 2014

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Epistemic Sensitivity & the Alogical: William James, Psychical Research, and the Radical Empiricist Attitude

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In the 1896 preface to The Will to Believe, William James first describes his radical empiricism as a “definite philosophic attitude.” By historically and thematically situating James’s statement within the context of the year 1896 and his work in psychical research, this paper argues that the attitude in question can be understood as an epistemic sensitivity to the social plight of the perceived ‘non-normal’ individual and his/her relation to monistic paradigms.


Ermine Algaier    
Temple University, Department of Religion
United States


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