SAAP Annual Meeting 2015

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William James in Dialogue

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This panel will examine important aspects of William James’s life and work by placing them in the context of his dialogues with three philosophers who have not yet received sustained attention by James scholars: Arthur Schopenhauer, George S. Fullerton, and Giovanni Papini. The panel will suggest that each of these encounters led to unforeseen outcomes in James’s thought. The first presentation will show the profound impact that Schopenhauer had on James’s “personal crisis” of the 1870s and on the subsequent development of some of his key ideas. The second will revisit James’s dialogue with Fullerton, who attacked James’s theory of perception in the mid-1890s, and argues that James’s response was his earliest effort to articulate a philosophy of “pure experience.” The final presentation will examine James’s exchanges with the “magic” pragmatist Papini, arguing that their dialogue helped James arrive at a new understanding of pragmatism as an attitude “towards” action.


David Leary    
University of Richmond
United States

Alexander Klein    
California State University, Long Beach
United States

Francesca Bordogna    
University of Notre Dame
United States


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