In May 1908 William James, a gifted and popular lecturer, delivered a series of eight Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College, Oxford, on “The Present Situation in Philosophy.” These were published a year later as A Pluralistic Universe.
During the preceding decade James, as he struggled with deep conflicts within his own philosophic development, had become increasingly preoccupied with epistemological and metaphysical issues. He saw serious inadequacies in the forms of absolute and monistic idealism dominant in England and the United States, and he used the lectures to attack the specific form that “vicious intellectualism” had taken. In A Pluralistic Universe James captures a new philosophic vision, at once intimate and realistic. He shares with his readers a view of the universe that is fresh, active, and novel. The message conveyed is as relevant today as it was in his time.
This is the fourth volume of The Works of William James in an authoritative edition sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies. Prepared according to modern standards of textual scholarship, this series utilizes all available published and unpublished materials; its texts have been awarded the seal of approval of the Center for Editions of American Authors. Frederick Burkhardt is General Editor; Fredson Bowers, Textual Editor; Ignas K. Skrupskelis, Associate Editor.