The Modern Legacy of William Jamesís A Pluralistic Universe
A Pluralistic Universe:
An Overview and Implications for Psychology
Visions and Values: Ethical
Reflections in a Jamesian Key
Pluralism: An Antidote
for Fanaticism, the Delusion of Our Age
William Jamesís pluralism, when combined with his
pragmatism and radical empiricism, is a complete and coherent philosophy
of life. James provides an antidote to the excesses of both the extreme
realist/objectivist and the extreme constructivist/relativist camps.
In this paper, we demonstrate how this is so in a discussion of epistemology
and ontology including several extended examples. These examples demonstrate
the inescapability of context and background assumptions and the advantages
of a pluralist worldview.
Requests for reprints should be sent to George Howard, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
and Religion: An Invitation to Jamesian Pluralism
Perspectives on the relationship between psychology
and religion have run the gamut from integration to mutual suspicion
to open hostility. Despite increasing calls for greater sensitivity
to the issues surrounding the psychological study of religion, significant
conceptual and methodological problems remain. We propose that the pluralistic
philosophy of William James provides not only an example of how a radically
empirical psychology might be formulated, but also how such an approach
allows for a serious psychological investigation of religion and religious
experience. We argue that James offers an important corrective to the
reductive approaches all-too-common in the study of religion and religious
experience by allowing for the possibility that theistic understandings
may be taken more seriously in psychological research and theorizing.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Edwin E. Gantt, Ph.D., 1086 SWKT, Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah 84602. Email: email@example.com
William James and Methodological
Pluralism: Bridging the Qualitative and Quantitative Divide
In recent years pluralism has emerged as a popular approach for overcoming the method wars in psychological research, with advocates of mixed-methods approaches arguing for the integration of qualitative and quantitative methods. They contend that a plurality of methods will allow researchers to draw upon the strengths of one method to overcome the weaknesses of another. In this article I argue that mixed-methods approaches fall short of a true methodological pluralism in the tradition of William James because they rely on a single worldview rather than a plurality of worldviews. I describe how Jamesís pluralism, as outlined in his book A Pluralistic Universe (1909/1987), differs from mixedmethods approaches and I describe some basic features of a true Jamesian methodological pluralism.
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Recent Calls for Jamesian
Pluralism in the Natural and Social Sciences: Will Psychology Heed the
William Jamesís A Pluralistic Universe (1909/1987) was not very influential in his day; 100 years later, however, calls for a Jamesian-style pluralism are increasingly common in the natural and social sciences. We first summarize Jamesís critique of monism and his defense of pluralism. Next, we discuss similar critiques of monism and calls for ďstrongĒ pluralism across the natural and social sciences, even in traditional bastions of monism like physics, biology, and economics. We then argue that psychology is also in need of this pluralism, but the discipline is mired in uncritical, monistic assumptions, most notably operationism. We describe the problems this particular assumption presents, and also suggest some solutions we believe James would proffer, in the context of this monistic requirement.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Dennis Wendt, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 530 Church Street, 2256 East Hall, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109. Email: email@example.com