And the only key to external reality is what we must take it as, in the realization of our purposes. Boodin John Elof, (1930), “Nature and Reason,” in Contemporary American Philosophy: Personal Statements, vol. We will see later why. Being one of nineteen children of a farmers family (his father had married twice), he, at the age of 18, decided (like a couple of his siblings) to emigrate to the United States. (politics) The theory that political problems should be met with practical solutions rather than ideological ones. Sellars Roy Wood, (1922), Evolutionary Naturalism, Chicago, Open Court. what one thinks and believes, is! Finally, concluding remarks ensue. As, on the other hand, Werkmeister makes it particularly clear, Royce’s variant o, Before discussing the details and the development of Boodin’s philosophical position, it is instructive to take a brief look at the surrounding philosophical context. , i.e., six years before Sellars made his claim. Critical Realism (CR) is a philosophy of science that is based around a number of ontological principles. Boodin does not refer to James’s lecture series in his paper, but he mentions the latter’s “favorite principle of pragmatism” (Boodin 1908: 305). In, he changes this sort of attitude in favor of what might be called a. of metaphysics. Rather, it is the driving force of natural processes and, as such, by all means knowable. 1910: 394). At that time the editor asked him to make a reply to comments on his views in the editorial article which appeared in the following issue [cf. Strong (eds), Essays in Critical Realism: A Co-Operative Study in the Problem of Knowledge, London, Macmillan, 35-81. Consequently, “we cannot resolve reality, whether conscious or unconscious, into bundles of perception, or into experience of any form, altogether. He points out: While such a theory, with abundant illustrations from natural science, accounts for how knowledge can control the world of processes, it leaves us in the dark as to the real question – the relevancy of knowledge to its object. […] Pragmatism believes that in knowledge as a fact, an accomplished matter, things are “representative of another.” Ideas, sensations, mental states are, in their cognitive significance, media of so adjusting things to one another that they become representative of one another. an exposition of his views without reference to the controversy in question.” (Editorial Comment to Boodin 1910: 614). either in spirit or method” (1916: ix-x). The critical realists – philosophers such as Durant Drake, George Santayana, Roy Wood Sellars and the already mentioned Arthur O. Lovejoy – shared the neo-realists’ rejection of idealism. In his opinion, “the doctrine commonly put forward as ‘pragmatism’ may be said to be a changeling, substituted almost in the cradle” (Lovejoy 1920: 80). 32Boodin’s own solution to that problem amounts to the endorsement of contemporary energetics, as it was primarily established in the German-speaking area by thinkers such as Wilhelm Ostwald and Georg Helm.16 On Boodin’s reading, energetics provides us with the essential tools for bridging the gap between “the” subjective and “the” objective. 14), did not contribute to that volume. Holt, for example, claimed that “[t]he entities […] under study in logic, mathematics, and the physical sciences are not mental in any usual or proper meaning of the word ‘mental’” (Holt in Holt, 1910: 394). I was introduced to the group by a friend of mine, the brilliant and human William James, who spent a lifetime trying to provide a framework and who is now at work on some plans for the interior. Boodin John Elof, (1934), “Functional Realism,” The Philosophical Review, 43, 147-78. As Sellars further points out, critical realism is a “mediate” (77) position. They both assume that to say that substances and qualities exist independently of the environment has a meaning. 15 of The Monist, published in 1909. Inspired by James’s “Does Consciousness Exist?” (1904), authors such as Holt, Montague, and Perry had joined forces, in order to promote what they called “new” realism.5 The attribute “new” had partially to do with the fact that the members of that group saw themselves as participating to the new scientific endeavor (informed by both psychology and the natural sciences) which demanded a more robust realist epistemology. Titled “Pragmatism Versus the Pragmatist,” Lovejoy’s paper may be considered as one of the most unrelenting critiques of the pragmatist point of view. Boodin 1916: 33). James’s books and articles published during the first decade of the twentieth century contain many realistic tendencies, and not less than seven of the leading realists – Drake, Montague, Perry, Pratt, Santayana, Sellars, and Strong – have repeatedly stated that their philosophical position was determined by James.” (Werkmeister 1949: 371). “Truth in science is what gives us the maximum possible sum of satisfaction, taste included, but consistency both with previous truth and with novel fact is always the most imperious claimant.” (. Critical realism refers to a philosophical position on the world and science. On the whole, Boodin’s philosophical work fell into oblivion with the death of its author. Rather, “[t]he thing must suggest an own center of energy” (ibid.). It is quite hard to understand how this should motivate a realist position. Boodin himself belonged to that very generation, so that it appears more adequate to speak of the “pragmatism of a European-born philosopher” than of Boodin’s “European pragmatism.”, Boodin published eight books and more than sixty articles for journals, both in the field of theoretical philosophy (which concerns us here) and in the field of practical philosophy. 1920: vi). , it is interesting to note that Boodin does not make any mention of it in “Functional Realism.” To be sure, at two places he casually refers to James (1934: 161) and to Dewey (1934: 171). Strong (eds), (1920), Essays in Critical Realism: A Co-Operative Study in the Problem of Knowledge, London, Macmillan. It was the greatest disappointment of his life that this did not happen.” (Nelson 1984: 145). He explicitly analogizes philosophy and art. Carus Paul, (1908), “Pragmatism,” The Monist, 18, 321-62. As for Boodin’s philosophical work, it should be mentioned first that he is characterized by Shook as one of the twelve “major figures” (Shook 1998: xiii) of pragmatism. in 1937. It is simply the application of the ordinary method of the scientific testing of an hypothesis to philosophic hypotheses as well. Boodin died in 1950. Boodin’s own solution to that problem amounts to the endorsement of contemporary. Thus one can read in his book, Werkmeister writes in this connection: “James was instrumental in preparing the way for realism. The critical realists – philosophers such as Durant Drake, George Santayana, Roy Wood Sellars and the already mentioned Arthur O. Lovejoy – shared the neo-realists’ rejection of idealism. “Why,” he asks, “should a man’s soul be crowded into one system of philosophy?” (1908: 302). In the preface to that book he made the following announcement: Just as in “Pragmatic Realism” (which was included as chapter XIV in, ), Boodin divorces himself from any metaphysical reading of the realist stance. : 629). It is apparent that Boodin seeks some sort of “idealized” as well as “humanized” conception of reality and truth. There were many. Boodin John Elof, (1916), A Realistic Universe: An Introduction to Metaphysics, New York, Macmillan. See, in this connection, already Lovejoy 1908; further, for an evaluation, Kuklick 2017. For the time being, it is important to note that, according to Boodin, any talk of truth requires some basis in the extra-mental realm. ch. Moreover, the little town housed around one hundred Swedish immigrants, which in turn helped Boodin to work for the Episcopal Church during the first few years. Boodin attempted to tackle this sort of challenge. The physical world is the seat of activities whose drift and course it is to our advantage to learn. Our realism is not a physically monistic realism, or a merely logical realism, and escapes the many difficulties which have prevented the general acceptance of the “new” realism. At the same time he speaks of “my friend Royce” (1908: 303), mentions the latter’s “absolute idealism” (1908: 300) and suggests that “[i]deals may prove truer than facts” (ibid.). In this case, too, an Editorial Comment was attached. The Social Mind: Foundations of Social Philosophy. In his own words: Realism has always insisted upon the trans-subjective reference of the cognitive meaning. , insisted upon the interrelatedness of physical objects, perceiving organisms and their environment. And he continues: When he wrote the 1908 paper, Boodin already had a professorship at the University of Kansas. In 1893, he got a position as a lay reader in the Episcopal Church of St. Mark in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he did parish work with other Swedish immigrants. I wish him all possible success and the honor of merited renown. Alluding to Einstein’s theory of relativity (without mentioning Einstein himself) Boodin points out that “[w]e know of no absolute position in space or absolute system of relations” (ibid.) XIV). 9 See, in this connection, already Lovejoy 1908; further, for an evaluation, Kuklick 2017. Boodin John Elof, (1911a), “From Protagoras to William James,” The Monist, 21, 73-91. (Ibid.). This part of the essay simplifies matters to some extent by characterizing three of the most influe… Boodin 1911b: 58) as well as from his focusing on the pragmatic element in knowledge. Editorial Comment to Boodin, (1908), The Monist, 18, 306. Researchers start with convictions, theories, hypotheses, opinions, understandings, and assumptions about the world. (Boodin 1939: 56), 6Whether Boodin’s specific variant of philosophical thinking should be seen as an expression of “European pragmatism” is hard to say. He argued: An hypothesis, whether of atoms or morals, God or devil, is true because it works. Nurs. Peirce Charles S., (1905), “What Pragmatism Is,” The Monist, 15, 161-81. Moreover, his Harvard student fellows, such as Holt, Montague or Perry, attempted to interpret James’s account of pragmatism within a realistic framework. For further details, see Ostwald 1895 and the reconstruction in Neuber 2002. Reflecting on his own philosophical development, especially on his time at Harvard. Our next task will be to determine what he made out of this kind of situation. Boodin John Elof, (1939), The Social Mind: Foundations of Social Philosophy, New York, Macmillan. As, on the other hand, Werkmeister makes it particularly clear, Royce’s variant of idealism was by no means the only idealistic statement at that time. The functional aspect as such can already be found in A Realistic Universe, i.e., six years before Sellars made his claim. See, in this connection, Kuklick (2001: 202-3). However, his philosophical development is worth considering in some detail because it nicely reflects the situation of a European-born philosopher in early-twentieth century America. We do for practical reasons at least. And in recent years interesting experiments have been made by Rutherford and others to prove the real existence of the atom. For further details, see Ostwald 1895 and the reconstruction in Neuber 2002. At any rate, the emigration to the United States fundamentally changed Boodin’s overall outlook. We will come back to this point in a moment. The following passages from James’s 1907 lecture series might corroborate this diagnosis: “Pragmatism […] asks its usual question. Boodin 1916: 3). Misak 2013, ch. The knower and the known are related through certain energetic dependencies. John Elof, (1908), “Philosophic Tolerance. (Boodin 1916: 389)19. We must interpolate, somehow, realities which are not immediate experience.” (1916: 20). We do not wonder over the disappointment at this lack of novelty of the pragmatic method. The pragmatic element primarily pertains to the dynamic aspect of energetically conceived reality. (Nelson 1984: 137), 3In 1897, Boodin eventually entered Harvard (on a Hopkins scholarship).
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