Flowers in the Desert: F. C. S. Schiller’s [Unpublished] Pragmatism Lecture
Mark J. Porrovecchio
|Abstract: Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller (1864-1937) was the most prominent of first generation British pragmatists. He remains, however, a peripheral figure in the intellectual history of pragmatism. This unpublished lecture, the planned revisions for a course Schiller taught at the University of Southern California, ranges to cover a series of issues central to his philosophical outlook: (1) the creation and naming of pragmatism; (2) the importance of Protagoras to his particular stance on pragmatism; (3) the necessity of Jamesian psychology; and, finally, (4) the nature of pragmatism as method. These selections provide an indication of Schiller’s relevance, then as now, to discussions of pragmatism.|
|The mid-1920s to early-1930s were, generally speaking, good years for pragmatism. New works on Peirce were produced. Multi-volume sets related to James were in wide circulation. And the ‘instrumental’ works of Dewey maintained a healthy readership. The works that often constitute the basic introduction to pragmatism, by the men that form the generally accepted triumvirate, had not yet suffered the loss of confidence that was born of WWII. These same years were a mixed blessing for Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller. Denied several chances at a professorship, he gave up his Tutorship at Corpus Christi, Oxford, in 1926. At the same time, Schiller began to teach and spend part of the year at the University of Southern California. During the next decade he split his time between England and the United States, giving guest lectures, teaching periodic seminars at USC, receiving an honorary Professorship, and continuing to publish numerous essays and book reviews in journals such as Mind and the USC-based Personalist. But by 1935, with his health in decline, Schiller vacated his residence at Corpus Christi, moved full-time to Los Angeles, and resigned from his teaching duties at USC. Two years later, on August 6, 1937, Schiller died.||1|
|Schiller’s prolific scholarly output is a matter of neglected public record. His works gained renewed attention in the 1950s and 1960s,1 and then again in the past several years.2 But Schiller’s teaching at USC, aside from several articles in the Personalist around the time of his death, has received even less attention than his scholarly writings. This is, however, an important period in Schiller’s life. In the 1920s and 1930s Schiller was finally freed of the strictures of being a Tutor at Corpus Christi. At USC he was able to engage, for the first time, graduate as well as undergraduate students. While there, he taught a variety of classes including one on Pragmatism in 1933 and again in 1934.3 The lecture discussed below appears to be a handwritten revision of the 1934 lecture that was drafted in 1935. It contains both major and minor revisions, in the margins and in the text itself, for a future version of the course that was never to come to fruition.4 The message Schiller prepared for those students reflected the particularities of his philosophical work in England. That is to say, his lecture speaks to the stance he had developed and propagated as a British outlier in what was considered by some, even then, a distinctly American philosophical movement. But it is a message that was never delivered and, to this point, not published.||2|
|On a mundane level, this lecture is symptomatic of a growing tendency in Schiller’s later years: he repeated—again and again, and more and more in reference to his increased interest in eugenics—the basic tenets of his particular version of pragmatism, Humanism. Taken as such, one can simply make reference to his last published essays and posthumous book, Our Human Truths (edited by his wife, Louise, whom he met in the mid-1920s and married in 1935), and glean the thrust of his approach. This approach is fraught with problems. Most notably, it obfuscates Schiller’s active role in the promotion and development of pragmatism. At worst, Schiller’s contributions tend to be isolated—by his decidedly curious interests, his lack of proximity to pragmatism’s development in America, and his penchant for biting humor—from the strains of pragmatism that developed after his death. At best, his repetition comes to be mere repetition. For a philosophical method predicated on flexibility and adaptation, Schiller is brusquely coded as having nothing new to say.||3|
|My humble estimation is that this lecture is worth more: it is an alternative history of pragmatism written by a person largely written out of pragmatism’s history. Schiller is not a simplistic caricature, a literary provocateur who “misread” James.5 He was a frustrated pragmatist attempting to defend what he viewed as one of the last truly Jamesian forms of pragmatism. Schiller was not comfortable with the growing canonization of Peirce by scholars such as Paul Weiss and Charles Hartshorne. He argued that Peirce’s forays in pragmaticism signaled his willingness to give up the method his friend James had charitably assigned to him. Nor was he fully willing to cede pragmatism to the instrumental views of Dewey, a philosopher that Schiller positively reviewed but also actively critiqued in terms of range and style. Most personally, Schiller felt that James was being put to questionable ends. Whether in the realist revisions of Perry or in the disparaging critiques of James by Charles William Morris, Schiller felt that the unique contributions of James were being purged from pragmatism. Read in this way, Schiller’s lecture is less repetition and more an urgent plea for views in the shadows of convention, then as now.||4|
|What follows, then, is a selective snapshot of Schiller’s lecture. It ranges to cover Schiller’s views on four issues: (1) the creation and naming of pragmatism; (2) the importance of Protagoras to his particular stance on pragmatism; (3) the necessity of Jamesian psychology; and, finally, (4) the nature of pragmatism as method. This lecture pointedly demonstrates Schiller’s commitment to a version of pragmatism predicated on, but not merely a facsimile of, the Jamesian psychology that first attracted him to James while he was at Cornell University in the 1890s. Schiller once noted that “the origins of great truths, as of great men, are usually obscure, and by the time that the world has become cognizant of them and interested in their pedigree, they have usually grown old.” 6 I would argue that any earnest history of pragmatism profits from the inclusion of Schiller’s views.||5|
|A Bad Name from a Good Man|
| While it is true that Schiller grants the American origins of pragmatism, he is careful to suggest—against then and now current trends—that the innovative genius of pragmatism emanated from James and not Pierce:
|Peirce was something of a preoccupation for Schiller in his later years. The reasons are tied to his insistence that James was being overlooked as the true messenger of pragmatism. On the one hand, he viewed the new focus on Peirce as the founder of pragmatism as technically true though theoretically suspect. On the other, he saw this trend as a way of side-stepping the substance that James had brought to pragmatism, a radical empiricism that then-current pragmatism was either moving away from (in the works of Dewey and Mead) or tactfully revising out of the canon (as in the works of Perry). Schiller goes on in the lecture to make a parenthetical reference to another object of his derision: Hartshorne’s and Weiss’s multi-volume Peirce collection.8 The substance of those reviews charts a similar path. Schiller goes so far as to suggest that Peirce was one of the “cranks” that James graciously, if at times unnecessarily, took sympathy upon. He argues that this is but another mistaken attempt to replace James with Peirce in the development of pragmatism.||7|
| This renewed veneration of Peirce as the founder of pragmatism carried another risk as well. It threatened to further obscure Schiller’s pragmatic humanism, itself a more general application of Jamesian pragmatism. So Schiller took pains to link his approach to the more well known historical controversy surrounding the term of art that was to carry forward James’s pioneering approach:
|Some might question this historical timeline. But if the record of Schiller’s correspondence with James is correct, he is actually downplaying his role in these developments. Schiller agonized over whether or not James would take to his new term. In the months leading up to the release of Humanism: Philosophical Essays (1903), Schiller sent a near constant stream of letters to James asking for his endorsement. The signals from James were not good: silence and then the now-famous comment that they were stuck with the term pragmatism. James had a change of heart though. And he made it clear that he regretted not taking up the cause of humanism sooner.||9|
|The cause for the change? James was treated to a dose of medicine by then common to Schiller: scathing criticism. Unkind characterizations of James’s Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1907), by Charles M. Bakewell and John Ellis McTaggart among others, finally convert James to a new view. He fumes that he was “tired of being treated as 1/2 idiot, 1/2 scoundrel . . .”9 Irritated by the trouble his poorly named method had caused him, he confides to Schiller: “Don’t think, my dear Schiller, that I don’t see as if in a blaze of light, the all embracing scope of your humanism, and how it sucks my pragmatism up into itself. I doubt I shall trouble myself to write anything more about pragmm. If anything more about truth, it will be on the wider humanistic lines.”10 This change of heart, born out in some of the content in the The Meaning of Truth (1909), was important to Schiller. It provided sanction for Schiller’s contention that his understanding of pragmatism, including the in-minor-details-only characterization of Peirce, was privileged by the man who truly “revealed” it to the world. It also provided something more. Having gained assent to the new term of art, Schiller was now free to write the history of his pragmatic humanism.||10|
|Man is the Measure|
| Schiller urged at the beginning of the lecture that pragmatism was truly a new development in the history of philosophy. What follows, then, initially seems counter-intuitive: a history of the origins of humanism, itself an outgrowth of pragmatism, which extends back in time prior to pragmatism. This, however, is a tactical history. As much as humanism was meant to stave off pragmatism’s critics, both humanism and pragmatism were part of long established historical tendencies. Such tendencies suggest a long-standing struggle against Idealism and Platonism, a struggle most recently waged by Schiller and James against persons such as Francis Herbert Bradley. More simply put, Schiller conceived pragmatism-as-method and humanism-as-application as active players in the historical battle to topple the theoretical abstractions of accepted philosophy:
Similarly we can extract from another brief saying of Protagoras that ‘concerning all matters there are two sides which can be argued’ a perception that thinking is dependent on . . . probability and is [accompanied] by the slimmest of doubt; a point which has in modern thinking been stressed by John Dewey and Alfred Sidgwick. Indeed there is no more direct way to the heart of pragmatism than the perception that men think only when they have to, that their judgments are always answers to questions, and that their precise meaning depends on the context in which they arise.
The importance of recapturing Protagoras as the forefather of Pragmatism does not lie merely in his antiquity. True, he gives Pragmatism a respectable pedigree. But . . . still more importantly he enables us to go behind Plato and to clear our eyes of the distortions and sophistry which that great master has introduced into our mental vision, and to see philosophic problems as they would be if we could take them naturally and without bias. Let there be no mistake about this. It is not the Sophists who have been the sophisticators of mankind, but the philosophers who’ve followed in the Platonic teaching.
|Schiller’s historical tour is, as he well notes, as selective as the past histories he seeks to correct. But, again, it is strategic. Protagoras serves as a historical stand-in for Schiller. And having gained James’s assent, Protagoras’ “respectable pedigree” provides Schiller with the starting point for his particular humanist strain of pragmatism. It is, in no small way, an attempt to dismantle the superstructure of Idealism under which he studied and against which pragmatism struggled for legitimacy. As Schiller noted, “Our only hope of understanding knowledge, our only chance of keeping philosophy alive . . . lies in going back from Plato to Protagoras, and ceasing to misunderstand the great teacher who discovered the Measure of man’s Universe.”12||12|
|The Right to Believe|
| But Protagoras’ pedigree served another role as well. For Schiller, the sophist and his dictum captured the volitional nature of pragmatism and represented the plurality of pragmatism(s) that were its strength. This embracing viewpoint—moving from James and Papini to Schiller and Dewey—was again tied to Schiller’s argument that James held the key to pragmatism’s merits. For Schiller, pragmatism found strength in its emphasis on a diversity of interests, a multitude of measures, all tending towards the human points of entry in the world. And Jamesian psychology supplied the radical impetus for this approach. It also supplied the retort to critics who would reduce philosophy to abstraction and render answers too mathematical to matter:
|Previous commentators on Schiller, notably Allan Shields and Reuben Abel, have made much of his lifelong devotion—by turns biting, prescient, and obsessive—to overturning the practices of Formal Logic. In books such as Formal Logic: A Scientific and Social Problem (1912), Problems of Belief (1924), and Logic for Use: An Introduction to the Voluntarist Theory of Knowledge (1929), and numerous journal essays, Schiller railed against some sort of “pure” realm of thought divorced from actual practice. In this he was not alone. Others, such as Alfred Sidgwick and Henry Sturt, raised similar claims. But he was unique in tying this attack to principles he gleaned from James:
|This sort of attack paid dividends. It provided a clear platform from which to launch the merits of the pragmatic method. Yet it also drew the ire of those inside and outside the pragmatist camp. Pragmatists such as Dewey would complain that Schiller’s destructive approach to Formal Logic remained just that, destructive.13 Fine as far as it went, Schiller was not able to build up a substantial enough substitute. Others, such as logician Lizzie Susan Stebbing, didn’t take Schiller at his word. They hounded him to provide any clue as to what method would be used to determine what constituted a valid belief.14 Schiller insisted against these critics that they failed to comprehend the implications of a psychological approach:
|For Schiller, it is clear, James is the template. A ‘tough-minded’ approach does not devolve into formulaic pronunciations, does not reduce to abstraction. It obtains clarity via complexity but also revision. The alternative is a skeptical delusion. Philosophers such as Bradley propped up an overly theoretical view of the world. Their abstractions were “the nightmares of a mind distraught.”15 So pragmatists must choose the optimistic path first laid out in the psychology of James.||16|
|The irony is not lost on the present author. A philosophy supposedly built on forward thinking appeals to the fragmentary historical persona of Protagoras. A method bent on revision is constructed on a psychology that was then nearly a half-century old.16 But Schiller, like James, took pragmatism to be a method predicated on testing its validity against challenges at which other philosophers balked.||17|
| For Schiller, this novelty was displayed in James’s approach to religion. Not merely a curious spectator, James, like Schiller, maintained a robust interest in psychical research throughout his life. Unpalatable to many pragmatic thinkers then and now, the Jamesian approach to religion and the afterlife led both James and Schiller to be active members of the British Society for Psychical Research. This interest led both men to versions of Idealism quite distinct from the Absolute sort proffered by Bradley or Schiller’s family friend McTaggart. As James remarked to Schiller early in their friendship: “The idealistic hypothesis can stand on its own legs, and need not be that of an absolute thought in any case.”17 And it is this mystical, or spiritual, aspect of James’s early work—found also in The Principles of Psychology—that attracted the young British upstart and author of Riddles of the Sphinx: A Study in the Philosophy of Evolution (1891) when he arrived in America to study at Cornell in the mid-1890s. With religion, as with anything else, Schiller urged that the James’s Will to Believe excluded nothing in so far as one was willing to test its veracity:
|This complaint traces back to Stebbing and even as it touches upon some of the critiques of pragmatism still being bandied about. For Schiller, however, these comments reflect back on a particularly important stage in his life. Having only recently been befriended by James while at Cornell, Schiller received letters from James complaining about Miller’s characterizations of his 1898 Berkeley lectures, Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results.18 Schiller took it upon himself to respond to those characterizations in what came to be “Axioms as Postulates” (1902). There is a trace of exasperation in his suggestion that people still misunderstood what James had offered:
|Pragmatism as Method|
|But Schiller also feels that some of pragmatism’s defenders have lost sight of its essentially methological nature. This is a loaded complaint. For Schiller, the path of a healthy and pluralistic pragmatism is a Jamesian and Protagorean path. It is concerned with the flowering of options that historical Platonism and contemporary Absolute Idealism banish in a fog of abstraction. And failure to note—more so, to agree—with this lineage amounts to ceding pragmatism’s merits. In so doing, the different approaches to pragmatism run the risk of failing to answer objections to the same:
|But a search for Jamesian pragmatism of the Schillerian sort was near its end. Most American pragmatists had taken to the instrumentalism of Dewey or the logical bent of Peirce. Those, like Perry, who still clung to James did so in ways that removed the radical and religious and crafted a harder realism in their place. And a whole slew of other potential European candidates for Jamesian pragmatism of the sort Schiller envisioned faded from view. Schiller’s lifelong friend Howard Vincenté Knox, the author of The Philosophy of William James (1914), had all but retired. Independent philosopher David Leslie Murray, for whose Pragmatism (1912) Schiller had written the introduction, also failed to produce additional works. The Italian pragmatists Giovanni Papini and Giuseppe Prezzolini, who were behind the journal Leonardo and praised by both James and Schiller, veered away from pragmatism altogether. The Austrian Wilhelm Jerusalem, who had translated James’s Pragmatism in 1908, died in 1923. Rudolph Eisler, the German philosopher and sociologist who had published selections from Schiller’s Humanism and Studies in Humanism as Humanismus: Beifräge zu einer pragmafischen Philosophie (1911), died in 1926. Fellow German philosopher Julius Goldstein, a man who James thought capable of leading the pragmatic and humanistic charge alongside Schiller, died in 1929.19 A sad mix of bad luck and circumstance left Schiller, in poor health and close to retirement, to pen this lecture amidst the sympathetic Personalists of USC.||21|
|The Final Test|
| Schiller had reason to be morose. Beset as he was by personal and professional circumstances that placed him on the sidelines of a movement he helped to promote, he instead struck an optimistic stance. Schiller held out hope that the pragmatic test was one worthy of pursuit:
|The striking thing about this conclusion is that it provides sanction for erasing Schiller from the pragmatic ledger. His approach, steeped in traditions of psychology and pragmatism that were already being undone, proved unattractive and unsatisfactory. Schiller’s James was not to be pragmatism’s James. His pragmatic humanism was not to be pragmatism’s future. But these facts should not stand as the final indication of Schiller’s value. For there remains in this lecture, even seventy years later, something of the vigor and spirit that made him the “literary” wing of pragmatism.20||23|
|This lecture serves, then, as a historical snapshot worthy of some measure of reclamation. Granted, the history of pragmatism has, with minor excursions notwithstanding, done well without Schiller. This essay doesn’t challenge that fact. But a history of pragmatism remains incomplete to the extent that it ignores one of those figures central to the development and propagation of pragmatism; it remains attractive but unsatisfactory. Schiller stands as one of the last first generation defenders of a Jamesian approach to pragmatism. His particular take on that lineage remains an unexplored option for a variety of contemporary endeavors: the study of argumentation and informal logic, the renewed interest in the Sophists, the rise of the rhetoric of science and inquiry, and the heated discussions of the relationship between philosophy and religion. Moreover, pragmatists should be more welcoming. In a field of inquiry that routinely grandfathers in scholars of all kinds, that embraces historical figures of varied inclinations, this out-insider deserves more. Pragmatists need not agree with him to give him his due. But they might do well to consider how his views of pragmatism give voice, now and then, to the diversity pragmatism professes to contain.||24|
|Department of Speech Communication
Oregon State University
1 The renewed focus on Schiller during this time was largely the result of four philosophers. The interest was started with Reuben Abel’s The Pragmatic Humanism of F. C. S. Schiller (King’s Crown Press, 1955) and his collection of Schiller’s essays, Humanistic Pragmatism: The Philosophy of F. C. S. Schiller (Free Press, 1966). Additionally, there was Kenneth Winetrout’s F. C. S. Schiller and the Dimensions of Pragmatism (Ohio State University Press, 1967) and half a dozen additional journal articles. Herbert L. Searles and Allan Shields A Bibliography of F. C. S. Schiller (San Diego State College Press, 1969) provided the first attempt to document Schiller’s voluminous assortment of essays, reviews, books, and other published material.
2 Beyond the occasional journal article, reference to Schiller’s work ebbed until the mid-1990s. This renewed interest was fueled by Professor of English Steven Mailloux. His edited volume Rhetoric, Sophistry, Pragmatism (Cambridge UP, 1995) and stand alone Reception Histories: Rhetoric, Pragmatism, and American Cultural Politics (Cornell UP, 1998) directed readers to Schiller’s novel merger of Sophistry (in the use of the exemplar Protagoras), pragmatism, and rhetoric. In this century, Philosopher John Robert Shook has been the most consistent in bring attention to Schiller. His website, The Pragmatism Cybrary, carries a revised version of Searles’ and Shields’ bibliography. His research center, The Pragmatism Archive, contains most if not all of Schiller’s publications. As editor of The Early Defenders of Pragmatism series (Thoemmes, 2001), Shook featured Schiller prominently. His “Schiller, Ferdinand Canning Scott (1864-1937)” article in the Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Philosophers (Thoemmes, 2002), reprinted in the Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Philosophers (Thoemmes, 2005) also presented a general overview of Schiller’s philosophical work. Most recently, Shook has authored “F. C. S. Schiller and European Pragmatism,” in A Companion to Pragmatism, (Blackwell, 2006) and co-edited (with Hugh McDonald) F. C. S. Schiller on Pragmatism and Humanism: Selected Writings, 1891–1939 (forthcoming from Humanity Books in 2008). This list is by no means exhaustive. But it is—strikingly so, given Schiller’s intimate connection to the foundation of pragmatism—more than representative.
3 Details related to the courses Schiller taught at USC are based on: Finding Aid for the F. C. S. Schiller Papers (Collection 191), 1968, Department of Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles, 25-6.
4 Readers will note two items which point to this conclusion: (1) the title of this manuscript is “Pragmatism 19342” with no accompanying note, and (2) in the manuscript marginalia there are dated notations ranging from “’33” to “’35.” It is also clear that this was a working draft and not merely a previous version of the course to which Schiller added minor additions. Towards the end of the first (introductory) chapter Schiller commented: “. . . there are many approaches to Pragmatism, at least for those who have the pragmatic temper. I propose to study these approaches next and to distinguish them as the biological (ch ii), the psychological (ch. 3), the logical (ch. 4), and the scientific (ch. 5), the ethical (ch. 6) and the religious (ch. 7).” But the text that follows goes on to include three additional chapters: Pragmatism As Method, Pragmatic Theory Of Truth, Pragmatism And Metaphysics. And these additional chapters cover many of the same ideas found in: “The Personalistic Implications of Humanism, I. Humanisms and Humanism,” Personalist 18, no. 4 (October 1937): 352-68; “The Personalistic Implications of Humanism, II. Logic: A Game, or an Agent of Value,” Personalist 19, no. 1 (January 1938): 16-31; “The Personalistic Implications of Humanism, III. Ethics, Casuistry and Life,” Personalist 19, no. 2 (April 1938): 164-78; and “The Personalistic Implications of Humanism, IV. The Relativity of Metaphysics,” Personalist 19, no. 3 (July 1938): 241-54.
The dating of the manuscript is also made easier by what appears on its reverse side. The back of the 90 page lecture manuscript contains handwritten drafts of two of Schiller’s essays (the 1934 lecture “Fascism and Dictators” that also appeared in the posthumous Our Human Truths ; and “Burning Questions,” Personalist 16.3 [July 1935]: 199-215). All references to the lecture herein are based on a transcription of the lecture as found in: F. C. S. Schiller, Pragmatism 1934, , Courses, Box Ten, F. C. S. Schiller Papers (Collection 191), Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
Finally, a word about this transcription: All notations, symbols, and formatting choices within the text of the lecture are Schiller’s. Parenthetical comments by Schiller have, in the main, been removed. Bracketing is meant to indicate the transcription of words and phrases that were in doubt or illegible. Ellipses found within the text of the transcription are meant to indicate the points at which the text has been truncated and are made at the author’s discretion.
5 Susan Haack, Review of Pragmatism: A Reader, ed. Louis Menand, New Criterion 16, no. 3 (November 1997): 69.
6 F. C. S. Schiller, preface to Humanism: Philosophical Essays (London: Macmillan and Company, 1912), xi-xxix.
7 The chapter he is referring to originally appeared, with the same title, as F. C. S. Schiller, “William James and the Making of Pragmatism,” Personalist 8, no. 2 (April 1927): 81-93.
8 Readers are directed to F. C. S. Schiller, review of Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vol. 1: Principles of Philosophy, eds. Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss, Personalist 13, no. 2 (April 1932): 142-3; review of Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vol. 2: Elements of Logic, eds. Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss, Personalist 14, no. 2 (April 1933): 140-1; review of Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vol. 3: Exact Logic, eds.Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss, Personalist 15, no. 2 (April 1934): 174-7; review of Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vol. 4: The Simplest Mathematics, eds.Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss, Personalist 16, no. 1 (January 1935): 78-80; review of Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vol. 5: Pragmatism and Pragmaticism, eds.Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss, Personalist 16, no. 2 (April 1935): 169-73; review of Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vol. 6: Scientific Metaphysics, eds. Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss, Personalist 17, no. 2 (April 1936): 196-202. Schiller’s view of Peirce wasn’t always as critical. As a younger scholar, Schiller was at times gracious in his brief correspondence with Peirce over the meaning of the concept pragmatism. For the substance of the letters between Schiller and Peirce, refer to Frederick J. Down Scott, “Peirce and Schiller and Their Correspondence,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 11, no. 3 (July 1973): 363-86.
9 William James, Cambridge, MA, to F. C. S. Schiller, 17 January 1908, The Correspondence of William James, vol. 11, eds. Ignas K. Skrupkelis and Elizabeth M. Berkeley (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2003), 522 (the original copy of this and subsequent letters is housed in Educators and Librarians Collection, Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford).
10 William James, Cambridge, to F. C. S. Schiller, 26 Jan 1908, The Correspondence, vol. 11, 527.
11 As with other comments, Schiller here is obscuring a bit of his bluster. Though he critiques Plato far earlier, his first sustained comparison of Plato and Protagoras occurs in F. C. S. Schiller, “Plato and His Predecessors,” Quarterly Review 204, no. 406 (January 1906): 62-88; revised and included in Studies in Humanism (1907) as “From Plato to Protagoras.” He elaborates on his theory of Protagoras-as-Pragmatist in the pamphlet F. C. S. Schiller, Plato or Protagoras? (Oxford: B. H. Blackwell, 1908). This tract attracted a good deal of criticism; most notably, from the Greek Scholar John Burnet.
12 F. C. S. Schiller, Studies in Humanism (London: Macmillan, 1907), xiv-xv.
13 An instructive example is Dewey’s tribute to Schiller after his death. Brief and generally positive, it contains the slight that Schiller’s “dominantly psychological” approach was path-clearing rather than ground-breaking (John Dewey, “F. C. S. Schiller: An Unpublished Memorial by John Dewey,” [28 November 1937] ed. Allan Shields, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 3 : 52).
14 Interested readers will catch the gist of this debate in: Lizzie Susan Stebbing, “Pragmatism and the Dictum ‘All Truths Work,'” Mind 21, no. 83 (July 1912): 471-2, and “The ‘Working’ of ‘Truths,'” Mind 22, no. 86 (April 1913): 250-3; F. C. S. Schiller, “Error,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 11 (1910-1911): 144-65, “The ‘Working’ of ‘Truths,’” Mind 21, no. 84 (October 1912): 532-5, and “The ‘Working’ of Truths and Their ‘Criterion,’” Mind 22, no. 88 (October 1913): 532-8. Later in life, Schiller railed against Symbolic Logic, seeing it as just an updated attempt at Formal Logic. He attempted, through journal editor and USC Department Chair Ralph Tyler Flewelling, to goad Stebbing into another debate. This time, however, she remained silent (see F. C. S. Schiller, “The Sacrifice of Barbara,” Personalist 12, no. 4 [October 1931]: 233-43).
15 F. C. S. Schiller, “On Preserving Appearances,” Mind 12, no. 47 (July 1903): 353. This article is one of the first in a series of career-long salvos directed at Bradley. For a variety of reasons—their proximity to each other, the differences in their standing and philosophical outlook, their penchant for trading in barbed and dismissive criticisms—Schiller took to using Bradley as a representation of all that was wrong with philosophy. And he took to his task by way of more endorsements from James. Though worried that Schiller pushed the polemic too far, and attempting in letters to both Schiller and Bradley to get them to see the merits of each other’s case, James nonetheless sides with Schiller. In a response to Bradley’s attacks on Schiller, James comments: “Mr. Bradley in particular can be taken care of by Mr. Schiller. He repeatedly confesses himself unable to comprehend Schiller’s views, he evidently has not sought to do so sympathetically, and I deeply regret to say that his laborious article [“On Truth and Practice,” Mind 13, no. 51 (July 1904)] throws, for my mind, absolutely no useful light upon the subject. It seems to me on the whole an ignoratio elenchi, and I feel free to disregard it altogether” (William James, “Humanism and Truth,” Mind 13, no. 52 [October 1904]: 458).
16 It is indeed the case that Schiller, more often than not, would reference James’s Principles of Psychology (1890) as much if not more than Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results (1898), The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), Pragmatism, or (the under-appreciated) The Meaning of Truth: A Sequel to Pragmatism (1909).
17 William James, Chocorua, NH, to F. C. S. Schiller, 9 June 1896, The Correspondence, vol. 8, 153.
18 Miller’s complaints are found in “‘The Will to Believe’ and The Duty to Doubt,” International Journal of Ethics 9, no. 2 (January 1899): 169-95.
19 Goldstein, who was introduced to James by Schiller, is of particular import because he was excised out of the discussion of pragmatism altogether. The standard coverage of Schiller until the publication of The Correspondence of William James, most notably that of Kenneth Winetrout, makes note of a letter that James sent to Schiller shortly before his death. The content of that note has been handed down via Perry’s two-volume The Thought and Character of William James (1935). The actual letter states in full: “Dearest Schiller — Your offer to come to London to see us is lovely, but my condition had better go without a meeting. Five minutes would mean little; + anything more serious would add too much to the fatigue of my journey, rather hazardous at any rate, to L’pool . . . . I leave the ‘Cause’ in your hands, yours and Goldstein’s in Germany—I don’t feel sure about Kallen yet, tho he’s a noble fellow. Good bye + God bless you! Keep your health, your splendid health! It’s better than all the ‘truths’ under the firmament. Ever thy W. J.” (William James, Rye, to F. C. S. Schiller, 8 August 1910, The Correspondence, vol. 12, 573). Perry’s version removes the references to both Goldstein and Kallen.
20 This label is from Bertrand Russell, himself no fan of pragmatism: “The three founders of pragmatism differ greatly inter se; we may distinguish James, Schiller, and Dewey as respectively its religious, literary, and scientific protagonists” (qtd. in Reuben Abel, The Pragmatic, 3).