SAAP Annual Meeting 2014

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Pluralism and Dialectic: On James's Relationship to Hegel

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James’s pluralism is examined in light of his critiques of “intellectualism” and monistic idealism in order to elucidate his relationship to Hegel. Insight into Hegel’s relationship to pragmatism is also provided. Contrary to the strong anti-Hegelianism found throughout the writings of James, Hegel’s dialectic and speculative logic are able to give a rational account of the continuity of the objects and relations within experience that James struggled to articulate in A Pluralistic Universe. By examining how they each negotiate the problem of the one and the many, it is shown that neither thinker is an absolute pluralist or monist due to the interdependence of the concepts of unity and plurality within their philosophies. Thus, the ambiguity of the nature of James’s pluralism previously noted by scholars is explained and the relevance of Hegel and dialectic for pragmatist theory is further maintained.


Lucy Schultz    
University of Oregon
United States


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