Flowers in the Desert: F. C. S. Schiller’s [Unpublished] Pragmatism Lecture

Flowers in the Desert: F. C. S. Schiller’s [Unpublished] Pragmatism Lecture

Mark J. Porrovecchio

“I’m not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,
but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime.”

—Big Country, “In a Big Country.”

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 This unpublished lecture, the planned revisions for a course Schiller taught at the University of Southern California, ranges to cover a series of issues central to his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:

The history of philosophy is not rich in new ideas. I once set myself to enumerate them, and could not find more than nine that could be called new and important. You will find them in Chapter Eight of Must Philosophers Disagree?.7 The last among them and the only one to take birth in America, and specifically in California, is that which now usually goes under the name of Pragmatism. Its first appearance as such can be definitely traced to the lecture on Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results given by William James of Harvard at the University of California Berkeley in 1898. In this lecture James professed himself indebted for the name, and [a great part] of the idea to his somewhat older friend Charles Sanders Peirce. The latter had invented the name, and expounded the idea long before in a series of articles on How to Make our Ideas in the Popular Science Monthly in 1877. He had not however used the word Pragmatism. So it was new when James revealed it.

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:

    The naming of a new idea in philosophy is not however an easy matter. You can’t, when you’ve got hold of an idea which seems to you good and new, simply go ahead and give it the name which seems best to you. You have to get others to adopt it, and particularly your enemies. And if you give your idea too good a name . . . they’ll want to use your name themselves for some nefarious . . . purposes of their own. So you find that you can’t keep your name in the sense you gave it. Its sense gets blurred and confused and ambiguous by the use of it by those who were really enemies of its original meaning. I’m speaking from painful personal experience. For when in 1903 I tried to turn the word ‘Humanism’ into a technical term of philosophy and to use it to describe the particular sort of Pragmatism I favored, I soon found that I could not keep it. It was at once snapped up by those who were most antithetical to the sense I had given to Humanism, and the misuse of this . . . word went on until, when last I counted its senses about two years ago, there were no less than six distinct and largely incompatible senses of the word which it was necessary to distinguish. So you see we must not only be aware of giving your dog such a bad name that he is hanged for it, but also of giving him such a good one that it is stolen from him.

     Clearly then in the baptizing of a new philosophy, not only its friends but also its enemies have a say. In fact, they may have rather more say than its authors. If you try to give it a good and attractive name they will try to appropriate it, and it is only if it is bad obscure and unattractive that they will let you keep it . . .

     The history of the term ‘Pragmatism’ then is merely another case of a very general principle. Pragmatism was a bad term and a heavy handicap to start with; if a philosopher with a good literary sense like William James or Whitehead or Bertrand Russell had had to do the naming, instead of Peirce who had the pedant’s foible of loving technical terms for their own sake, they would assuredly have given the poor dog a much better name. But very likely the better names would not have stuck. Pragmatism was at once adopted by its enemies because it was a bad name and therefore a good name for their purposes, while its friends were not allowed to drop it.

     But why is ‘Pragmatism’ a bad name? It is (1) obscure and (2) badly formed. (1) It suggests no clue as to its meaning at first sight, or nothing that it is not misleading, and needs a good deal of explanation. A good half-hour is quite a moderate estimation of the time required for a thorough account of the world ‘Pragmatism’; so its choice is truly a very severe handicap.

     (2) When I say that ‘Pragmatism’ is badly formed, I mean that in Peirce’s usage it would seem to be intended to hint at a direct connection with practice. It comes from the Greek word ‘pragma’; but this too comes from the same root as ‘praxis’ which means a thing, or a thing done, rather than an act. In this it is like the German world for fact ‘Tatsache’, literally a ‘deed-thing’. ‘Fact’ we may properly remind ourselves originally meant ‘thing made,’ so that ordinary language has very distinctly pragmatic implications . . .

     Now of course all this soon became clear to James. Nevertheless when I proposed, in 1903, a much better word ‘Humanism’, which suggests both humaneness and humanness, he would not adopt the change. He said the term ‘pragmatism’ had already been taken up and become current. Of course it had been taken up most avidly by the opponents of pragmatism, who realized how bad a term it was. According to Mrs. James, James afterwards regretted his action; but I had to content myself with using ‘humanism’ for my own variety of pragmatism—which points out how close it was to James’s own use. Peirce, after awhile disavowed James and called his own sort of pragmatism ‘pragmaticism’, which was “ugly enough to save it from kidnappers.” But he never succeeded in explaining either how his ‘pragmaticism’ differed from ‘pragmatism’ nor why he was so displeased with James and the other pragmatists when they proceeded to put his original formula to work. The truth was that over twenty years had elapsed between its original formulations and its popularization by James, and Peirce meanwhile had lost his interest in Scientific Method and got interested in other things, mostly Symbolic Logic. When James got him to give six lectures on Pragmatism at Harvard he talked about anything but his nominal duty, and James could only describe his lectures as “flashes of brilliance lit upon a background of Cimmerian dark.”

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:

     We should always therefore be willing to study the ancient history of every novelty, and to learn that the idea had often occurred before. But in this study we must not expect to get much help from the standard histories of philosophy which are earlier than the effective appearance of the novelty we are investigating. Even the best of these histories will fail us when we really want to use them. For, like all historians, we shall find that they had to select. And among the things they have omitted will always be the first obscure beginnings of the new idea we are tracing. The historian is not to blame for this. For he knows that he can’t dump all his materials on his reader. He must omit what he deems unimportant. And he must justify importance from the standpoint either of the past or the present; he can’t foresee what little hints or details will become significant thereafter.

     So whenever an important novelty crops up, the whole history has to be rewritten and revalued.

     Hence there are good reasons for going a little into those histories of Pragmatism. We shall find that the history of philosophy is full of anticipation of Pragmatism, and that there are . . . a good many more that have not been discovered. For we shall not find them in the old History of Philosophy.

     The earliest . . . traces of Pragmatism do not go quite so far back as Anaximander, but like so many of the brightest and best ideas in Greek Philosophy, they go back before Plato and have been preserved to us by his polemic against them. They go back to Protagoras, an elder contemporary of Socrates born either in 500 or 480 B.C., and dimmed in 411 when he fled from Athens to escape the wrath of the oligarchs and government of the 400 . . . because they recognized the democratic tendencies of his philosophy. According to Plato, an obviously hostile witness, Protagoras was one of the first and most impressive of the Sophists. Now, speaking broadly, Sophists were all humanists or pragmatists, in the sense that they were all practical philosophers concerned with human affairs; their business was to teach the young men who could afford to pay them, i.e., the young men of the well to do, the art of public speaking, in order that they might be able to defend themselves against the informers who preyed upon the rich, the ‘sycophants’. Their teaching was practical . . . and they could not prosper unless the knowledge they retailed was useful, humanly valuable and related to the needs of human learning.

     So Protagoras united humanism in the conduct of learning and the problems of the individual agent. He proclaimed that ‘man was the measure of all things’. What did he mean by this? We can’t say exactly because we’ve no record of the context of his dictum, and of the line of thought which led up to it. Still we can see that this was clearly relativistic + probable individualism. But it was not skepticism as his opponents tried hard to believe. For to say that every man can know and just know by his own standard is no way of denying the possibility of knowing. It only seems so to intolerant bigots who wish to prescribe their own opinions to everyone.11

     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:

     If we take psychology as the descriptive science of mental or psychic life we soon find that there are many ways of describing psychic life and of arranging its manifestations in a scientific and symbolic order. Likewise there are many aims we can get ourselves in describing mental life, and these aims will affect the descriptions we prefer. Hence there are, and will probably continue to be, a large number of psychologies, each of them representing the facts in its own way. They are comparable to the different languages we can use to express our ideas.

     But whatever psychology we prefer, to some psychology we must have recourse. Whenever we try to describe how we act and think, and to form symbols of logic and ethics there is a psychological side to ethics and action which we need to know and accounts of these activities which ignore this are merely abstractions, and dangerous and false abstractions at that.

     Moreover for both reasons the living organism must react upon stimulation as a whole. It can’t let its heart run away with, while its head remains unmoved. It can’t really be broken up into a number of ‘faculties’ which function independently. It must use them all and use them together in order to survive in the struggle for existence.

     Hence all the ‘analytic’ psychologies, convenient as their descriptive psychologies may be, are biologically built on fictions. We are entitled to look with suspicion upon theories which interpret human thinking in terms of pure reason, disinterested, dispassionate, and depersonalized; we should refuse to exclude from our accounts even of the knowing process the influence of aims, emotions, desires and ideals, and shall admit they always actuate our thinking. We shall grow skeptical of the intellectualist [rationalizations] which rule out consideration of any thinking . . . . Instead we shall trace the influence of various purposes, perceptions, prejudices, emotions and desires . . . . It will therefore become hard to believe that pure theory has any relation to practice, that what we do and how we live has no effect on what we think and what we believe. Rather we shall hold that our theories spring out of our life and are intended to bear upon them; while our life invariably and properly reacts upon our beliefs. Thus the attempt to separate ethics and action, theory and practice, absolutely is a fabrication which is sure to fail in the end.

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:

     The moment however we get ourselves to uphold the final unity of mind and to champion the integrity of mental life against the absolutism of intellectualism on psychological grounds, we get into conflict with inveterate traditions of philosophy. These are all intellectualistic; they offer explanations of our actions and our knowledge only in terms of intellect or cognitive processes, and they ignore all the other factors in our mental outfit. The traditional philosopher has prided himself for over 2000 years on having a monopoly on pure reason . . . . So far the psychologist has not succeeded in breaking him of this habit. It still seems almost sacrilegious to him to suggest that the motives and procedures of philosophers are not that different from those of other folk and that their reasonings also are subject to human frailties when their passions are aroused or their prejudices flouted. Nothing has made Pragmatism more unpopular among the ordinary run of philosophy . . . than the implication that philosophers are really like other people.

     Yet no better proof of this contention could be found than the way the pragmatic philosophy was taken by the philosophers of the intellectualistic tradition. They did not discover it so long as it was labeled psychology. James’s Principles of Psychology were welcomed as an epoch-making work. But its philosophic doctrines were overlooked. It wasn’t until James called them philosophy and pragmatism that the uproar began. Yet the champions of Pure Reason did not use it [this wonderful faculty] to [comprehend] Pragmatism. They just shouted and hooted. Perhaps they realized that when there is an unanswerable case against you the worst thing you can do is to try to answer it. That policy only draws attention to the badness of your case. What they did was to denounce the pragmatists as low vulgar fellows . . . or as irrational idiots who believed in whatever they wanted. In short they acted in the panic of the barrister who found his brief marked ‘No case, abuse the plaintiff’s attorney!’

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:

     As a matter of fact, even abstractly, the pragmatic philosophy was just as feasible and legitimate as the rationalist. It is just as easy to represent the human mind as action, as seeking the achievement of ends, as postulating, as choosing, selecting and rejecting . . . as it is to represent it as passive, as merely receptive of ‘impressions’, and as [fissured] by insuperable chasms between its various ‘faculties’. And as soon as you took into account the functions the mind was required to perform, you could see at once how much better the active . . . description of the mind was to the intellectualist. . . . For it is only an active mind which is stimulated by the needs of living, and is willing to use its body to operate on the [world] in order to improve the conditions of living, that can either have been served in the struggle for existence or can serve us now. It is also manifestly the sort of mind all of us have. The purely theoretical mind, that is truly . . . not interested in personal affairs at all, is a figment. Something resembling it can only arise in rather abnormal mediums when a society finds a use for it and makes it worthwhile for a few professors of pure [method] to cultivate a peculiar sort of mind. Similarly, a well-established and endowed religion alone can afford to grow theology and monks that lead purely ‘contemplative’ lives. It is only a large and well endowed mind which can afford to appoint proponents of pure mathematics and the like, to pursue researches which seem at first sight utterly useless. But those institutions would not appoint them if they believed this. They may indeed admit that for ordinary purposes their uses are remote, but they will flatter themselves that their work is of a higher order; moreover they will take an interest in it which is often intense.

     Interest in short is the psychological stimulus which all must evoke if it is to seem valuable, and to be persisted in, alike by the individual and by society. It’s the great common measure for the activities of the human soul, and without it nothing can be done or thought or felt. But interest is not itself an intellectual process. It belongs to the active and personal side of mind, according to the traditional classification. May we not conclude that the intellectualist psychologies are false and that a psychology is needed which brings out the role of interest and purpose in mental life? In short it is no accident that the beginnings of modern Pragmatism are closely connected with James’s epoch making Principles of Psychology (1890), and that the last chapter of that great work already contained James’s contribution to Pragmatism in substantially completed form. It was the source also of John Dewey’s instrumentalism.

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:

     Into religious controversy Pragmatism, in this case represented primarily by William James, has imported two important novelties. (1) It has introduced the study of religious psychology and raised the psychology of religion almost to the dignity of a new science. The first and greatest textbook of this science is James’s Gifford Lectures, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902). (2) It has drawn the attention of writers, not only on religious but also on logic and all social topics, to the existence of the Will to Believe. Both these novelties were of first class importance.

     The psychology of religion made it clear that an appeal to faith underlay the principles of science as well as religion, and that faith must everywhere be justified by working. It thereby shifted the field of debate in religious matters from logic-chopping about theological dogmas to a consideration of the basic human needs that render man a religious animal. This broadening of the religious issue was an enormous help both in humanizing religion and in rendering it intelligible and rational.

     Not that, of course, it means an end to all disputes and a settling of all questions. It still remained possible to differ upon the psychological facts . . . . It still remained possible to differ about the true value of the admitted psychological facts. This comes out very clearly in the modern discussion of e.g. mysticism. There is no longer any dispute practically about the reality of the mystical experience. It is admitted to be a psychological fact. But what does it prove? Does it prove that the human mind can rise to contact with something more and diviner, or does it only prove that it can cherish this delusion? Or, perhaps, that it sometimes does one thing and sometimes the other? All these views of mysticism have been taken, and the question is still under discussion. It is clear therefore that the psychology of religion doesn’t provide a short cut to religious truth; but it’s equally clear that a new way of discussing such questions has been provided. For we can now test all these theories by their consequence, i.e. pragmatically. And in due course we may hope to settle in this way not only the theories . . . but also the disputes about what consequences of a theory shall be considered to be relevant to its truth-value.

     The doctrine of the Will to believe by James and its selection as the title of his volume of essays is 1896 was one of the great steps in the development of Pragmatism, and caused enormous controversy. James himself often regretted that he had called his doctrine the Will to Believe, originally in order to render its essential character to the theological audience he was to address. He thought he should have called it the Right to Believe and that he would then have escaped misconstruction. In this he was too sanguine. For no one who launches such a soul stirring novelty upon a somnolent world has a right to hope to escape misconstruction. Besides the Right to Believe was not the right title either. James meant more than could be compressed into a short title. His religious message portended a revolution not only in theology and religion, but in psychology, logic, and philosophy of knowledge, a revolution that was bound to affect all human relations. More fully stated James’s Will to Believe meant (1) that there was to be found in all, as a psychological fact, a disposition to accept, or to reject, any given belief . . . . Thus no mind was ever a tabula rasa, amiably indifferent to the beliefs it encountered. No study of mind therefore could be adequate which overlooked this bias and failed to ascertain it. Psychologists therefore were summoned to allow for the psychological Will to or [not to] believe, in their accounts of the workings of the mind.

     (2) James held that in certain cases it was possible to argue from this psychological fact of bias, not merely de facto, but also de jure. Under certain conditions and with proper precautions the psychological Will to believe could acquire logical value. There could be based on it a Right to believe. And James set himself to lay down the conditions under which a Will to believe could be held to acquire a logical nature and to create a Right to believe. The conditions which he stipulated were that a belief which appealed to the Will to believe should be acted on, should admit of alternatives . . . and above all that the empirical consequences of acting on the belief should be allowed to react on the truth-claim of the belief, in its claim for acceptance. In other words, the original Will to believe was to be tested pragmatically by working.

     It was a sad revelation of the prevalence of prejudice among philosophers, though at the same time a proof of the correctness of James’s contention about the nature of bias that hardly any attention was paid to the restrictions which James had imposed on the Will to believe before extracting a Right to believe from the active character of human belief. Some of his best [followers] like Charles Augustus Strong and Dickinson S. Miller misunderstood him; while the contrary herd of critics shouted, all with one voice, that James had granted to everyone an unlimited right to believe whatever he pleased, and to call truth anything that made him feel good.

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:

     Dogmatic philosophers seem to believe with the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland that truth can be created by representation, so these [misconceptions] are still largely current. But . . . James had made it clear from the first that he distrusted believing the psychological facts which generated a belief and the logical consequences which established it. In the establishment of any belief the Will to believe is only the first step. It means only the willingness to consider it . . . . Until James this first and [easiest] step in the growth of beliefs had been completely overlooked. In fact logicians had always talked as if beliefs grew up automatically in a soil of pure indifference, and without aid and the intervention of a mind; they had never gone into the question of how in the sciences subjects of investigation are selected, or why a scientist interested himself in one more than another. Pure Reason was supposed to need no will, scientific method was supposed to need no purpose. . . .

     In short the right meaning of the doctrine of the Will to believe was simply empiricism, the molding by experience of all our beliefs. It was however a new, and as James pointed out, a more radical empiricism, tied to no dogmas and free from the unwarranted assumption that the mind must be represented as purely passive in its dealings with experience, as merely receptive of impressions, without any will or aim of its own.

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:

     When you hear that Pragmatism claims to be primarily a method and find that this method can apparently conduct different parts to a considerable variety of doctrines you may be disposed to regard this as a serious drawback to the value of Pragmatism. But methods are in reality very important things, much more important than people think. In the long run they are more important than doctrines. For doctrines are . . . constantly changing. The more rapidly they change the more progressive the science in which they occur can claim to be. Methods are enduring, they’re not changing so long as they work and yield results of value. Also they are widely applicable and may be used upon a variety of objects. In fact it is becoming more and more probable that the ways by which they are reached are truly valuable and lasting elements in scientific truths, and that science is essentially method, while the actual doctrines of the sciences and the entities they concern may be merely concessions to our human weakness for attaching our knowledge to imaginary propositions.

     Viewed as a method then, Pragmatism declares that the truth of any doctrine depends on its consequences. That seems a very surprising statement; but there is a good deal of meaning wrapped up in it. It means in the first place 1) a denial that its truth is prior to experience or a priori in most of its senses; it means empiricism. 2) It means that truth is not self-proving; so getting rid of the tricky notion of self-evidence. The self-evidential has long been one of the scandals of logic. It proclaims its truth but gives no reasons. Why then should it be accepted? Self-evidence primarily appears to be a fact of individual psychology. It is self-evident to someone, in some context. But need it therefore be self-evident to others or in another context? There is no reason to think so. Even if something were self-evident to all, it might yet be a universal delusion. In short, before self-evidence can be used logically, logical self-evidence must somehow be distinguished from psychology. For the latter may always prove illusory. It means 3) an initial claim to truth must be carefully kept distinct from its status when it has been adequately verified. Logically the truth claim and the verified truth are not the same, though both may use the same form of words. 4) It is to be admitted that every proposition claims truth, that every bonafide judgment in psychology is believed to be true by its maker when he makes it. But this is not reason enough for treating it as final truth. For the maker of the judgment may have been mistaken, and its verification may have been insufficient. Hence 5) every assertion has to be tested further if required, by the consequence said to follow from it. 6) How far this is to be carried is not specified; it is left to the guiding sense of judgment of each inquirer. In theory verification may go on forever; in practice we stop whenever we feel we’ve had enough and are satisfied. 7) Hence a sort of satisfaction is in a way made a test of truth; but we are not explicitly told what sort. The difference appears to be left open how far the consequences used to test a truth-claim are logical or incapable of being distinguished from individual caprice. This solution undoubtedly gives color to the charge that pragmatists are enabled to call truth whatever they please, but they incur this charge because they are so scrupulous not to slur over the transition from psychology to logic, from what in fact men do to what in philosophy they claim they do. Now here it is a fact that truth seeking must and does hold out prospects of satisfaction as a motive for embarking on it; it is psychologically quite untrue that truth must be compulsory and that the mind has to be coerced to seek it [as logicians have so long maintained].

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:

Truth is attractive and satisfactory. But it is by no means always easy to define which of the satisfactions which occur in truth-seeking are logically good, which of the consequences used to test a truth-claim are related to its truth and properly its consequence, and which are merely accepted on account of their [emotional] and psychological appeal. On this point, there may plainly be considerable differences of opinion among pragmatists as among other folks, at any rate at first. Ultimately no doubt the pragmatic test of the consequences will discover these difficulties and reveal which of the satisfactions of the truth-seekers were good and logical and which merely psychological and treacherous.

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 [1939]; 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, [1935], 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 [1967]: 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). discover over here

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