Up@dawn 2.0

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Discussion Questions June 19

June 19 - Pragmatism Lec V-VIII. [Don't comment on these until you've posted your first essay and comments on Lec I-IV... but you may find the material at the bottom useful in the meantime... Remember to check for links and announcements under "Next" in the upper right corner.]

  • James defends pluralism* against monism, the idea that the world cannot be reduced to single principle of explanation and that it includes many real things/ideas/points of view that must be acknowledged and respected. Moreover, a pluralistic world is incomplete. It's still growing, and we still have potentially-relevant and constructive choices to make about how we want it to change and grow. It's not over and done with, not a complete unity, not perhaps yet fully realized in the divine mind of a creator or implicit in all the laws of nature (known and unknown). Is this a bad thing? Or would you rather believe (with James) that the universe is in some sense open-ended, still subject to change, still somehow responsive to what we think and do?
  • "The very fact that we debate this question shows that our KNOWLEDGE is incomplete at present and subject to addition. In respect of the knowledge it contains the world does genuinely change and grow." True?
  • Comment: Is this what "common sense" means to you? "My thesis now is this, that OUR FUNDAMENTAL WAYS OF THINKING ABOUT THINGS ARE DISCOVERIES OF EXCEEDINGLY REMOTE ANCESTORS, WHICH HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PRESERVE THEMSELVES THROUGHOUT THE EXPERIENCE OF ALL SUBSEQUENT TIME. They form one great stage of equilibrium in the human mind's development, the stage of common sense."
  • Comment: Is common sense in ordinary life really "entirely different" from common sense in philosophy? "In practical talk, a man's common sense means his good judgment, his freedom from eccentricity, his GUMPTION, to use the vernacular word. In philosophy it means something entirely different, it means his use of certain intellectual forms or categories of thought. Were we lobsters, or bees, it might be that our organization would have led to our using quite different modes from these of apprehending our experiences. It MIGHT be too (we cannot dogmatically deny this) that such categories, unimaginable by us to-day, would have proved on the whole as serviceable for handling our experiences mentally as those which we actually use."
  •  Comment: If "heaven only knows," how do we know when to prefer common sense to science or philosophy, or vice versa? "Common sense is BETTER for one sphere of life, science for another, philosophic criticism for a third; but whether either be TRUER absolutely, Heaven only knows."
  • In LEC VI James defends the pragmatic theory of truth, according to which it's unhelpful to be told that true ideas "copy" reality. Rather, they "work" in helping us cope with reality even when we can't form a good ideal "copy" in mind (as with the grandfather clock example). Why do you think pragmatism's critics find the pragmatic theory so objectionable? Do our true ideas really copy their objects? How would we know the copy was accurate, other than by the pragmatic criterion of "working"?
  • Comment: Is pragmatism's usual question a good one? Is "cash-value" a good metaphor? "Pragmatism... asks its usual question. "Grant an idea or belief to be true," it says, "what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone's actual life? How will the truth be realized? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth's cash-value in experiential terms?"
  •  Comment: "...'it is useful because it is true' or that 'it is true because it is useful.' Both these phrases mean exactly the same thing, namely that here is an idea that gets fulfilled and can be verified." True? Can you think of truths that are not useful, or useful ideas that are not true in the pragmatic sense?
  • Comment: "The 'absolutely' true, meaning what no farther experience will ever alter, is that ideal vanishing-point towards which we imagine that all our temporary truths will some day converge. It runs on all fours with the perfectly wise man, and with the absolutely complete experience; and, if these ideals are ever realized, they will all be realized together. Meanwhile we have to live to-day by what truth we can get to-day, and be ready to-morrow to call it falsehood..." True?
  • In LEC VII James defends his English (Oxford) friend Schiller's "humanism," according to which the world is "plastic"... but he says this is an unfortunate "butt-end-foremost" description of that view. Can we speak of the world's plasticity while still acknowledging stubborn facts and realities? Or is it too hard to find "reality 'independent' of human thinking"?
  •  Comment: Is James being fair to rationalists like Bradley when he says "On the pragmatist side we have only one edition of the universe, unfinished, growing in all sorts of places, especially in the places where thinking beings are at work," implying that rationalists are out of touch and irrelevant?
  • Comment: Do you prefer a tight rationalist "belly-band" or a loose pragmatic "tub"?  "The rationalist mind, radically taken, is of a doctrinaire and authoritative complexion: the phrase 'must be' is ever on its lips. The belly-band of its universe must be tight. A radical pragmatist on the other hand is a happy-go-lucky anarchistic sort of creature. If he had to live in a tub like Diogenes he wouldn't mind at all if the hoops were loose and the staves let in the sun." 
  • Do you read the Whitman poem in LEC VIII the way James does, pluralistically? What concrete difference does it make how you read (and act on) a poem like "To You"?
  • Are you an optimist, pessimist, meliorist, or none of the above? Why? "(T)here are unhappy men who think the salvation of the world impossible. Theirs is the doctrine known as pessimism. Optimism in turn would be the doctrine that thinks the world's salvation inevitable. Midway between the two there stands what may be called the doctrine of meliorism..."
  • How would you answer? "Suppose that the world's author put the case to you before creation, saying: "I am going to make a world not certain to be saved, a world the perfection of which shall be conditional merely, the condition being that each several agent does its own 'level best.' I offer you the chance of taking part in such a world. Its safety, you see, is unwarranted. It is a real adventure, with real danger, yet it may win through. It is a social scheme of co-operative work genuinely to be done. Will you join the procession? Will you trust yourself and trust the other agents enough to face the risk?"
  • "...pragmatism can be called religious, if you allow that religion can be pluralistic or merely melioristic in type." Would you call James's pragmatism religious? What practical difference does that make?
  • COMMENT: What do you think of what James wrote to H.G.Wells about American notions of "success"? (See below**)
  • Suggest your own Discussion Questions... and comment on you classmates'...

==
*pluralism






Belief that reality ultimately includes many different kinds of things. Thus, in ethics, the supposition that there are many independent sources of value and, in political life, acceptance of a multiplicity of groups with competing interests. Epistemological pluralism is a common feature in postmodernistthought.
Recommended Reading: Andrew L. Blais, On the Plurality of Actual Worlds (Massachusetts, 1997); John Kekes, Pluralism in Philosophy: Changing the Subject (Cornell, 2000); Michael P. Lynch, Truth in Context: An Essay on Pluralism and Objectivity (MIT, 1998); Nicholas Rescher, Pluralism: Against the Demand for Consensus (Clarendon, 1995); Byeong-Uk Yi, Understanding the Many (Routledge, 2002); Michael Walzer, Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality (Basic, 1984); and Philosophy and Pluralism, ed. by David Archard (Cambridge, 1996).
Also see IEPEBP. J. McGrath, and ISM.

monism
Belief that only things of a single kind exist. In its most extreme form, monism may lead toSpinoza's conviction that only a single being is real or the idealist's supposition that everything is comprised by the Absolute. Contemporary philosophers more commonly suppose that many distinct things exist, each of them exhibiting both mental and physical properties.
Recommended Reading: Errol E. Harris, Spinoza's Philosophy: An Outline (Humanity, 1992);German Idealist Philosophy, ed. by Rudiger Bubner (Penguin, 1997); and Mafizuddin Ahmed, Bertrand Russell's Neutral Monism.
Also see SEPIEPEBDPM,and ISM.

A couple of my pals from Vandy have insisted that pragmatists cannot be pluralists, in a sense they specify as connected with more recent technical discussions in contemporary philosophy journals. In a broader sense, James clearly disagreed. 
==
A helpful William James site... William James Society... Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy... 



Robert Richardson's magnificent biography of James. It begins with an earthquake...




UPDATE: JUNE 15, 2017. I was surprised just this afternoon to come across a YouTube clip I hadn't known of, of myself in conversation with Richardson in August 2010, after his remarks to the William James Society. We'd gathered in Chocorua, New Hampshire for a conference to mark the centenary of James's death. Our brief exchange begins at about the 26 minute mark(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF7V1c3Glew). And here's Richardson's talk:

**To H. G. Wells.

CHOCORUASept. 11, 1906.
Dear Mr. Wells,—I've read your "Two Studies in Disappointment" in "Harper's Weekly," and must thank you from the bottom of my heart. Rem acu tetegisti! Exactly that callousness to abstract justice is the sinister feature and, to me as well as to you, the incomprehensible feature, of our U. S. civilization. How you hit upon it so neatly and singled it out so truly (and talked of it so tactfully!) God only knows: He evidently created you to do such things! I never heard of the MacQueen case before, but I've known of plenty of others. When the ordinary American hears of them, instead of the idealist within him beginning to "see red" with the higher indignation, instead of the spirit of English history growing alive in his breast, he begins to pooh-pooh and minimize and tone down the thing, and breed excuses from his general fund of optimism and respect for expediency. "It's probably right enough"; "Scoundrelly, as you say," but understandable, "from the point of view of parties interested"—but understandable in onlooking citizens only as a symptom of the moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess Success. That—with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success—is our national disease. Hit it hard! Your book must have a great effect. Do you remember the glorious remarks about success in Chesterton's "Heretics"? You will undoubtedly have written the medicinal book about America. And what good humor! and what tact! Sincerely yours,
WM. JAMES.
From selected Letters of William James, vol.2...
==
To Henry James.
Stanford UniversityFeb. 1, 1906.
Beloved H.,—Verily 'tis long since I have written to thee, but I have had many and mighty things to do, and lately many business letters to write, so I came not at it. Your last was your delightful reply to my remarks about your "third manner," wherein you said that you would consider your bald head dishonored if you ever came to pleasing me by what you wrote, so shocking was my taste.[63] Well! only write for me, and leave the question of pleasing open! I have to admit that in "The Golden Bowl" and "The Wings of the Dove," you have succeeded in getting there after a fashion, in spite of the perversity of the method and its longness, which I am not the only one to deplore.
But enough! let me tell you of my own fortunes!
I got here (after five pestilentially close-aired days in the train, and one entrancing one off at the Grand Canyon of the Colorado) on the 8th, and have now given nine lectures, to 300 enrolled students and about 150 visitors, partly colleagues. I take great pains, prepare a printed syllabus, very fully; and really feel for the first time in my life, as if I were lecturing well. High time, after 30 years of practice! It earns me $5000, if I can keep it up till May 27th; but apart from that, I think it is a bad way of expending energy. I ought to be writing my everlastingly postponed book, which this job again absolutely adjourns. I can't write a line of it while doing this other thing. (A propos to which, I got a telegram from Eliot this A.M., asking if I would be Harvard Professor for the first half of next year at the University of Berlin. I had no difficulty in declining that, but I probably shall not decline Paris, if they offer it to me year after next.) I am expecting Alice to arrive in a fortnight. I have got a very decent little second story, just enough for the two of us, or rather amply enough, sunny, good fire-place, bathroom, little kitchen, etc., on one of the three residential streets of the University land, and with a boarding-house for meals just opposite, we shall have a sort of honeymoon picnic time. And, sooth to say, Alice must need the simplification....
You've seen this wonderful spot, so I needn't describe it. It is really a miracle; and so simple the life and so benign the elements, that for a young ambitious professor who wishes to leave his mark on Pacific civilization while it is most plastic, or for any one who wants to teach and work under the most perfect conditions for eight or nine months, and who is able to get to the East, or Europe, for the remaining three, I can't imagine anything finer. It is Utopian. Perfection of weather. Cold nights, though above freezing. Fire pleasant until 10 o'clock A.M., then unpleasant. In short, the "simple life" with all the essential higher elements thrown in as communal possessions. The drawback is, of course, the great surrounding human vacuum—the historic silence fairly rings in your ears when you listen—and the social insipidity. I'm glad I came, and with God's blessing I may pull through. One calendar month is over, anyway. Do you know aught of G. K. Chesterton? I've just read his "Heretics." A tremendously strong writer and true thinker, despite his mannerism of paradox. Wells's "Kipps" is good. Good-bye. Of course you 're breathing the fog of London while I am bathed in warmest lucency. Keep well. Your loving,
==

To Henry James.

Salisbury, Conn., May 4, 1907.
Dearest H.— ...I've been so overwhelmed with work, and the mountain of the Unread has piled up so, that only in these days here have I really been able to settle down to your "American Scene," which in its peculiar way seems to me supremely great. You know how opposed your whole "third manner" of execution is to the literary ideals which animate my crude and Orson-like breast, mine being to say a thing in one sentence as straight and explicit as it can be made, and then to drop it forever; yours being to avoid naming it straight, but by dint of breathing and sighing all round and round it, to arouse in the reader who may have had a similar perception already (Heaven help him if he hasn't!) the illusion of a solid object, made (like the "ghost" at the Polytechnic) wholly out of impalpable materials, air, and the prismatic interferences of light, ingeniously focused by mirrors upon empty space. But you do it, that's the queerness! And the complication of innuendo and associative reference on the enormous scale to which you give way to it does so build out the matter for the reader that the result is to solidify, by the mere bulk of the process, the like perception from which he has to start. As air, by dint of its volume, will weigh like a corporeal body; so his own poor little initial perception, swathed in this gigantic envelopment of suggestive atmosphere, grows like a germ into something vastly bigger and more substantial. But it's the rummest method for one to employ systematically as you do nowadays; and you employ it at your peril. In this crowded and hurried reading age, pages that require such close attention remain unread and neglected. You can't skip a word if you are to get the effect, and 19 out of 20 worthy readers grow intolerant. The method seems perverse: "Say it out, for God's sake," they cry, "and have done with it." And so I say now, give us one thing in your older directer manner, just to show that, in spite of your paradoxical success in this unheard-of method, you can still write according to accepted canons. Give us that interlude; and then continue like the "curiosity of literature" which you have become. For gleams and innuendoes and felicitous verbal insinuations you are unapproachable, but the core of literature is solid. Give it to us once again! The bare perfume of things will not support existence, and the effect of solidity you reach is but perfume and simulacrum.
For God's sake don't answer these remarks, which (as Uncle Howard used to say of Father's writings) are but the peristaltic belchings of my own crabbed organism. For one thing, your account of America is largely one of its omissions, silences, vacancies. You work them up like solids, for those readers who already germinally perceive them (to others you are totally incomprehensible). I said to myself over and over in reading: "How much greater the triumph, if instead of dwelling thus only upon America's vacuities, he could make positive suggestion of what in 'Europe' or Asia may exist to fill them." That would be nutritious to so many American readers whose souls are only too ready to leap to suggestion, but who are now too inexperienced to know what is meant by the contrast-effect from which alone your book is written. If you could supply the background which is the foil, in terms more full and positive! At present it is supplied only by the abstract geographic term "Europe." But of course anything of that kind is excessively difficult; and you will probably say that you are supplying it all along by your novels. Well, the verve and animal spirits with which you can keep your method going, first on one place then on another, through all those tightly printed pages is something marvelous; and there are pages surely doomed to be immortal, those on the "drummers," e.g., at the beginning of "Florida." They are in the best sense Rabelaisian.
But a truce, a truce! I had no idea, when I sat down, of pouring such a bath of my own subjectivity over you. Forgive! forgive! and don't reply, don't at any rate in the sense of defending yourself, but only in that of attacking me, if you feel so minded. I have just finished the proofs of a little book called "Pragmatism" which even you may enjoy reading. It is a very "sincere" and, from the point of view of ordinary philosophy-professorial manners, a very unconventional utterance, not particularly original at any one point, yet, in the midst of the literature of the way of thinking which it represents, with just that amount of squeak or shrillness in the voice that enables one book to tell, when others don't, to supersede its brethren, and be treated later as "representative." I shouldn't be surprised if ten years hence it should be rated as "epoch-making," for of the definitive triumph of that general way of thinking I can entertain no doubt whatever—I believe it to be something quite like the protestant reformation.
You can't tell how happy I am at having thrown off the nightmare of my "professorship." As a "professor" I always felt myself a sham, with its chief duties of being a walking encyclopedia of erudition. I am now at liberty to be a reality, and the comfort is unspeakable—literally unspeakable, to be my own man, after 35 years of being owned by others. I can now live for truth pure and simple, instead of for truth accommodated to the most unheard-of requirements set by others.... Your affectionate
W. J.
This letter appears never to have been answered, although Henry James wrote on May 31, 1907: "You shall have, after a little more patience, a reply to your so rich and luminous reflections on my book—a reply almost as interesting as, and far more illuminating than, your letter itself."

[But Henry had nothing but praise for his brother's Pragmatism - "I was lost in the wonder of the extent to which all my life I have unconsciously pragmatised. You are immensely and universally right."]
==
[The Walpurgis Nacht letter]

To Mrs. James.
St. Hubert's Inn,
Keene Valley
July 9, 1898.
...I have had an eventful 24 hours, and my hands are so stiff after it that my fingers can hardly hold the pen. I left, as I informed you by post-card, the Lodge at seven, and five hours of walking brought us to the top of Marcy—I carrying 18 lbs. of weight in my pack. As usual, I met two Cambridge acquaintances on the mountain top—"Appalachians" from Beede's. At four, hearing an axe below, I went down (an hour's walk) to Panther Lodge Camp, and there found Charles and Pauline Goldmark, Waldo Adler and another schoolboy, and two Bryn Mawr girls—the girls all dressed in boys' breeches, and cutaneously desecrated in the extreme from seven of them having been camping without a male on Loon Lake to the north of this. My guide had to serve for the party, and quite unexpectedly to me the night turned out one of the most memorable of all my memorable experiences. I was in a wakeful mood before starting, having been awake since three, and I may have slept a little during this night; but I was not aware of sleeping at all. My companions, except Waldo Adler, were all motionless. The guide had got a magnificent provision of firewood, the sky swept itself clear of every trace of cloud or vapor, the wind entirely ceased, so that the fire-smoke rose straight up to heaven. The temperature was perfect either inside or outside the cabin, the moon rose and hung above the scene before midnight, leaving only a few of the larger stars visible, and I got into a state of spiritual alertness of the most vital description. The influences of Nature, the wholesomeness of the people round me, especially the good Pauline, the thought of you and the children, dear Harry on the wave, the problem of the Edinburgh lectures, all fermented within me till it became a regular Walpurgis Nacht. I spent a good deal of it in the woods, where the streaming moonlight lit up things in a magical checkered play, and it seemed as if the Gods of all the nature-mythologies were holding an indescribable meeting in my breast with the moral Gods of the inner life. The two kinds of Gods have nothing in common—the Edinburgh lectures made quite a hitch ahead. The intense significance of some sort, of the whole scene, if one could only tell the significance; the intense inhuman remoteness of its inner life, and yet the intense appeal of it; its everlasting freshness and its immemorial antiquity and decay; its utter Americanism, and every sort of patriotic suggestiveness, and you, and my relation to you part and parcel of it all, and beaten up with it, so that memory and sensation all whirled inexplicably together; it was indeed worth coming for, and worth repeating year by year, if repetition could only procure what in its nature I suppose must be all unplanned for and unexpected. It was one of the happiest lonesome nights of my existence, and I understand now what a poet is. He is a person who can feel the immense complexity of influences that I felt, and make some partial tracks in them for verbal statement. In point of fact, I can't find a single word for all that significance, and don't know what it was significant of, so there it remains, a mere boulder of impression. Doubtless in more ways than one, though, things in the Edinburgh lectures will be traceable to it.
In the morning at six, I shouldered my undiminished pack and went up Marcy, ahead of the party, who arrived half an hour later, and we got in here at eight [P.M.] after 10½ hours of the solidest walking I ever made, and I, I think, more fatigued than I have been after any walk. We plunged down Marcy, and up Bason Mountain, led by C. Goldmark, who had, with Mr. White, blazed a trail the year before;[19] then down again, away down, and up the Gothics, not counting a third down-and-up over an intermediate spur. It was the steepest sort of work, and, as one looked from the summits, seemed sheer impossible, but the girls kept up splendidly, and were all fresher than I. It was true that they had slept like logs all night, whereas I was "on my nerves." I lost my Norfolk jacket at the last third of the course—high time to say good-bye to that possession—and staggered up to the Putnams to find Hatty Shaw[20] taking me for a tramp. Not a soul was there, but everything spotless and ready for the arrival today. I got a bath at Bowditch's bath-house, slept in my old room, and slept soundly and well, and save for the unwashable staining of my hands and a certain stiffness in my thighs, am entirely rested and well. But I don't believe in keeping it up too long, and at the Willey House will lead a comparatively sedentary life, and cultivate sleep, if I can....
W. J.
The intense experience which James thus described had consequences that were not foreseen at the time. He had gone to the Adirondacks at the close of the college term in a much fatigued condition. He had been sleeping badly for some weeks, and when he started up Mount Marcy he had neuralgia in one foot; but he had characteristically determined to ignore and "bully" this ailment. Under such conditions the prolonged physical exertion of the two days' climb, aggravated by the fact that he carried a pack all the second day, was too much for a man of his years and sedentary occupations. As the summer wore on, pain or discomfort in the region of his heart became constant. He tried to persuade himself that it signified nothing and would pass away, and concealed it from his wife until mid-winter. To Howison—who was himself a confessed heart case—he wrote, "My heart has been kicking about terribly of late, stopping, and hurrying and aching and so forth, but I do not propose to give up to it too much." The fact was that the strain of the two days' climb had caused a valvular lesion that was irreparable, although not great enough seriously to curtail his activities if he had given heed to his general condition and avoided straining himself again...
==
Happy Fathers Day!
[From vol 1]
To his Father.
Bolton St., LondonDec. 14, 1882.
Darling old Father,—Two letters, one from my Alice last night, and one from Aunt Kate to Harry just now, have somewhat dispelled the mystery in which the telegrams left your condition; and although their news is several days earlier than the telegrams, I am free to suppose that the latter report only an aggravation of the symptoms the letters describe. It is far more agreeable to think of this than of some dreadful unknown and sudden malady.
We have been so long accustomed to the hypothesis of your being taken away from us, especially during the past ten months, that the thought that this may be your last illness conveys no very sudden shock. You are old enough, you've given your message to the world in many ways and will not be forgotten; you are here left alone, and on the other side, let us hope and pray, dear, dear old Mother is waiting for you to join her. If you go, it will not be an inharmonious thing. Only, if you are still in possession of your normal consciousness, I should like to see you once again before we part. I stayed here only in obedience to the last telegram, and am waiting now for Harry—who knows the exact state of my mind, and who will know yours—to telegraph again what I shall do. Meanwhile, my blessed old Father, I scribble this line (which may reach you though I should come too late), just to tell you how full of the tenderest memories and feelings about you my heart has for the last few days been filled. In that mysterious gulf of the past into which the present soon will fall and go back and back, yours is still for me the central figure. All my intellectual life I derive from you; and though we have often seemed at odds in the expression thereof, I'm sure there's a harmony somewhere, and that our strivings will combine. What my debt to you is goes beyond all my power of estimating,—so early, so penetrating and so constant has been the influence. You need be in no anxiety about your literary remains. I will see them well taken care of, and that your words shall not suffer for being concealed. At Paris I heard that Milsand, whose name you may remember in the "Revue des Deux Mondes" and elsewhere, was an admirer of the "Secret of Swedenborg," and Hodgson told me your last book had deeply impressed him. So will it be; especially, I think, if a collection of extracts from your various writings were published, after the manner of the extracts from Carlyle, Ruskin, & Co. I have long thought such a volume would be the best monument to you.—As for us; we shall live on each in his way,—feeling somewhat unprotected, old as we are, for the absence of the parental bosoms as a refuge, but holding fast together in that common sacred memory. We will stand by each other and by Alice, try to transmit the torch in our offspring as you did in us, and when the time comes for being gathered in, I pray we may, if not all, some at least, be as ripe as you. As for myself, I know what trouble I've given you at various times through my peculiarities; and as my own boys grow up, I shall learn more and more of the kind of trial you had to overcome in superintending the development of a creature different from yourself, for whom you felt responsible. I say this merely to show how my sympathy with you is likely to grow much livelier, rather than to fade—and not for the sake of regrets.—As for the other side, and Mother, and our all possibly meeting, I can't say anything. More than ever at this moment do I feel that if that were true, all would be solved and justified. And it comes strangely over me in bidding you good-bye how a life is but a day and expresses mainly but a single note. It is so much like the act of bidding an ordinary good-night. Good-night, my sacred old Father! If I don't see you again—Farewell! a blessed farewell! Your
WILLIAM.

The elder Henry James died on the nineteenth of December. A cablegram was sent to London; and on learning of his father's death, James wrote a letter to his wife from which the following extract is taken.

To Mrs. James.

...Father's boyhood up in Albany, Grandmother's house, the father and brothers and sister, with their passions and turbulent histories, his burning, amputation and sickness, his college days and ramblings, his theological throes, his engagement and marriage and fatherhood, his finding more and more of the truths he finally settled down in, his travels in Europe, the days of the old house in New York and all the men I used to see there, at last his quieter motion down the later years of life in Newport, Boston and Cambridge, with his friends and correspondents about him, and his books more and more easily brought forth—how long, how long all these things were in the living, but how short their memory now is! What remains is a few printed pages, us and our children and some incalculable modifications of other people's lives, influenced this day or that by what he said or did. For me, the humor, the good spirits, the humanity, the faith in the divine, and the sense of his right to have a say about the deepest reasons of the universe, are what will stay by me. I wish I could believe I should transmit some of them to our babes. We all of us have some of his virtues and some of his shortcomings. Unlike the cool, dry thin-edged men who now abound, he was full of the fumes of the ur-sprünglich human nature; things turbid, more than he could formulate, wrought within him and made his judgments of rejection of so much of what was brought [before him] seem like revelations as well as knock-down blows.... I hope that rich soil of human nature will not become more rare!...

Two months later James said in a letter to Mrs. Gibbens: "It is singular how I'm learning every day now how the thought of his comment on my experiences has hitherto formed an integral part of my daily consciousness, without my having realized it at all. I interrupt myself incessantly now in the old habit of imagining what he will say when I tell him this or that thing I have seen or heard."

James remained in London until mid-February of 1883, and took advantage of the opportunity to see more of certain men there—among them Shadworth Hodgson, Edmund Gurney, Croom Robertson, Frederick Pollock, Leslie Stephen, Carveth Reid, and Francis Galton. His eyes were troubling him again, but he did some writing on psychology. After paying another short visit to Paris, he sailed for home in March.

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