The Reception of Pragmatism in France and the Rise of Roman Catholic Modernism, 1890-1914

The Reception of Pragmatism in France and the Rise of Roman Catholic Modernism, 1890-1914

edited by David G. Schultenover
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 263
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  • Book Info
    The Reception of Pragmatism in France and the Rise of Roman Catholic Modernism, 1890-1914
    Book Description:

    This collection of essays provides a small revolution in the study of Roman Catholic Modernism, a movement that until now has been largely seen as an episode that underscored institutional Catholicism's isolation from the mainstream intellectual currents of the time.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1716-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    David G. Schultenover
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-20)

    William James (1842–1910) was America’s foremost philosopher among a generation of first-rank thinkers who sparked a renaissance of philosophical thought in the New World around the turn of the twentieth century. During a remarkable thirty-year period of fertile creativity, roughly from 1885 to 1915, America abruptly emerged from its self-imposed provincialism and mediocrity to offer diverse systems of thought that rivaled the best ofered by Europe. Novel varieties of absolute idealism (Josiah Royce), personal idealism (Borden Parker Bowne), evolutionary materialism (John Fiske and William Graham Sumner), pragmatism (Charles Sanders Peirce and John Dewey), naturalism (George Santayana), social theory (Lester...

  5. 1 Vivo ergo cogito: Modernism as Temporalization and Its Discontents: A Propaedeutic to This Collection
    (pp. 21-58)

    The essays that follow provide a small revolution in the study of the “Roman Catholic Modernists” in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Up until the present, Roman Catholic Modernism has been largely seen as an in-house affair, particular to Catholic thought and ecclesiastical structures, an episode whose marginality only underscored institutional Catholicism’s isolation from the great mainstream intellectual currents of the wider world of ideas. If the United States was mentioned at all, it was for the sake of including the alleged heresy of “Americanism” under the catch-all category of “Modernism.”

    The present volume changes all that. By...

  6. 2 Early Responses to American Pragmatism in France: Selective Attention and Critical Reaction
    (pp. 59-75)

    The early French response to American pragmatism took a variety of forms, largely centered around key topics in epistemology, philosophy of science, metaphysics, and religion. This survey of French reactions, from welcoming to hostile, covers the years 1900 to 1914. Reactions by French philosophers primarily depended on three factors: whether the philosopher was already inclined toward pragmatism because he was already persuaded by native French pragmatic trends that predated the appearance of American pragmatism; whether the philosopher was strongly committed to some type of rationalism; and whether a philosopher was concerned to uphold Thomism and/or defended a conservative religious stance....

  7. 3 James and Bergson: Reciprocal Readings
    (pp. 76-92)

    As poorly known as William James and Henri Bergson are, it appears almost obligatory to point out their similarities and to make a comparison between them. One must go beyond this simple comparison if one wants to understand not only what truly links the works of these two authors but also what, in and through this very relationship, each canon specifically has that makes it different from the other. Obviously there is a certain similarity: numerous celebrated themes, their personal relationship, and the title of greatest philosopher of the period, which each conferred on the other! All of this contributes...

  8. 4 William James on Free Will: The French Connection with Charles Renouvier
    (pp. 93-121)

    From the time that he became acquainted with the writings of Charles Renouvier (1815–1903) until the end of his life, William James (1842–1910) held the French philosopher in the highest regard. At the heart of James’s admiration were the interrelated questions of free will and pluralism. James attributed his conversion from belief in determinism to belief in free will to Renouvier’s influence. Furthermore, James’s mature theory of free will is a development of the ideas he first learned from Renouvier. This story of Renouvier’s influence on James is often repeated in treatments of James’s philosophy, of which there...

  9. 5 Blondel and Pragmatism: Truth as the Real Adequation of Mind and Life
    (pp. 122-142)

    In his 1908 Science et religion dans la philosophie contemporaine, Émile Boutroux devoted a chapter to the “Philosophy of Action.” He began with an account of pragmatism before he discussed the thought of Maurice Blondel and finished the chapter with a critique of the philosophy of action as a form of pragmatism that neglects the role of intelligence and belief in religion. Blondel’s comment to his friend Auguste Valensin that the book was “a great disappointment to many ..... even morally.”¹ What must have made Boutroux’s analysis particularly disappointing was that Blondel had begun making a sharp distinction between his...

  10. 6 Pragmatism in France: The Case of Édouard Le Roy
    (pp. 143-166)

    At the beginning of the twentieth century, pragmatism was associated primarily with the United States and Britain. Philosophical circles in Catholic France, by contrast, were largely dominated by homistic philosophy. Catholic philosophers were far more likely to use the term “pragmatist” as an epithet with which to brand an opponent than to designate a serious philosophical option. Like the more common terms of abuse, “Kantian,” “subjectivist,” and, worst of all, “Modernist,” the word “pragmatist” implied to many Catholic philosophers that one did not take questions of metaphysical truth seriously.

    And yet, pragmatism clearly influenced many French thinkers of the period,...

  11. 7 Le critique malgré lui: Marcel Hébert’s Le pragmatisme
    (pp. 167-184)
    C.J.T. TALAR

    A significant share of the responsibility for the confused state of affairs referred to in the epigraph has been laid at the door of the pragmatists themselves. In the case of William James, a popular style of expression was one factor.² But misunderstanding also stemmed from the substance of his thought. James wrestled with the metaphysical implications of the pragmatic method and was less than clear about “the crucial issue between idealism and realism—the status, namely, of those parts of nature that lie beyond the mental reach of man.”³ Though he repeatedly affirmed his commitment to realism, critics could...

  12. 8 “Notre attitude en face du Pragmatisme”: George Tyrrell’s Relation to Pragmatism
    (pp. 185-216)

    Readers might legitimately wonder why an essay on George Tyrrell (1861–1909), an Irish-born English theologian, should be included in a book on the reception of pragmatism in France. Tyrrell is mostly known for his involvement in the Modernist Crisis; indeed, one of its most prominent figures, he gained notoriety by being ex-communicated for his involvement. Rarely does a publication on Modernism fail to mention his name. However, Tyrrell had strong ties to France through friendships, through exchange with French theologians, and through essays he published in French journals such as the Annales de philosophie chrétienne—his close friend erstwhile...

  13. Appendix: Extract from a Letter of Henri Bergson to Horace M. Kallen
    (pp. 217-220)
  14. Selected Bibliography of Pragmatism in France, 1898–1914
    (pp. 221-232)
  15. Contributors
    (pp. 233-234)
  16. Index of Names
    (pp. 235-242)
  17. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 243-248)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 249-249)