Cover: The Varieties of Experience: William James after the Linguistic Turn, from Harvard University PressCover: The Varieties of Experience in HARDCOVER

The Varieties of Experience

William James after the Linguistic Turn

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$45.00 • £39.95 • €40.95

ISBN 9780674244276

Publication Date: 05/02/2023


288 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches



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This book is the best philosophical treatment of the great William James in this generation. Alexis Dianda’s brilliant and subtle readings of James’s profound pluralism against Richard Rorty’s influential linguistic turn in contemporary neopragmatism are powerful and persuasive. She preserves the best of both by giving us a twenty-first-century pragmatism that embraces the vague, ambiguous, and indeterminate in order to better our grasp of the existential and moral challenges of our turbulent times.—Cornel West, Union Theological Seminary

A brilliant reinterpretation of William James’s complex views of experience. The ‘pragmatic-existential’ conception of experience that Alexis Dianda carefully works out in this book will transform both James scholarship and current debates in and about pragmatism.—Michael Bacon, Royal Holloway, University of London

Alexis Dianda discovers a capacious account of an active lived experience in the work of William James. Importantly, she shows the weakness of neopragmatist attempts to abandon the concept of experience and instead focus on language alone. This is a major contribution to our understanding of James.—Wayne Proudfoot, Columbia University

This is a brilliant book and a stunning debut. In clear and eminently readable prose, Dianda succeeds in showing the centrality of experience in James’s work and how the existential richness of experience exceeds the rather narrow picture of pragmatism that we associate with Rorty, Brandom, and others. Avoiding the dead ends of classical empiricism and idealism, Dianda is right to suggest that James offers a philosophical vision attuned to the living complexity of the relations between self and world.—Simon Critchley, The New School

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