William James and the Moral Life : Responsible Self-Fashioning book cover
1st Edition

William James and the Moral Life
Responsible Self-Fashioning

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 7, 2022
ISBN 9781032221649
April 7, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
168 Pages

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Book Description

This book offers a compelling new interpretation of James’ moral philosophy: an "ethics of responsible self-fashioning." James’ performative writing style articulates this conception by showing how moral inquiry serves both social and personal transformation.

James the social moral philosopher seeks to create an inclusive moral order through expansion of sympathetic concern among those committed to different ideals. James the existential moral philosopher defends the right to adopt hope-grounding metaphysical beliefs which encourage strenuous moral action in the face of evil and suffering. The power of James’ ethics is demonstrated by its application to current discussions about the status of marginalized nonhuman animals and that of the cognitively disabled.

William James and the Moral Life is of interest to a wide variety of ethicists and has special appeal to scholars and advanced students in moral philosophy, social philosophy, pragmatism, and American philosophy.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why William James and Ethics?

Chapter One: Pragmatist Moral Philosophy and Moral Life: Embracing the Tensions

Chapter Two: Ideals and Significant Lives

Chapter Three: The Sources of Moral Agency

Chapter Four: Existential Deliberation

Chapter Five: Moving Marginal Subjects into Focus


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Todd Lekan is Associate Dean and Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, USA.