William James

Empiricism and Pragmatism

Book Pages: 168 Illustrations: Published: December 2019

Author: David Lapoujade

Translator: Thomas Lamarre

Contributor: Thomas Lamarre

Cultural Studies > Affect Theory, Theory and Philosophy > Affect Theory, Critical Theory

Originally published in French in 1997 and appearing here in English for the first time, David Lapoujade's William James: Empiricism and Pragmatism is both an accessible and rigorous introduction to James's thought and a pioneering rereading of it. Examining pragmatism's fundamental questions through a Deleuzian framework, Lapoujade outlines how James's pragmatism and radical empiricism encompass the study of experience and the making of reality, and he reopens the speculative side of pragmatist thought and the role of experience in it. The book includes an extensive afterword by translator Thomas Lamarre, who illustrates how James's interventions are becoming increasingly central to the contemporary debates about materialist ontology, affect, and epistemology that strive to bridge the gaps among science studies, media studies, and religious studies.


“David Lapoujade's book, at last translated, was an event in France, and so it will be for his American readers, who will rediscover what they thought they knew. Lapoujade does not write about William James but rather embraces the movement of James's thought, performing it as a musician performs a score, making it alive and audible for its own sake and enabling his readers to go back and read James as if for the first time.” — Isabelle Stengers, author of In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism

“In this crisp, well-argued book, David Lapoujade rescues the whole idea of pragmatism from the dismissive and misguided views that it is an ‘American’ philosophy by recasting its fundamental questions along new lines. He advances a vision of pragmatism that is based in trust in the world of things in the making, in effect reopening pragmatist thought from a fresh angle.” — John Rajchman, author of The Deleuze Connections

“Originally published in French in 1997 and finally translated into English, David Lapoujade's William James is varnished by the specter of Deleuzean transcendental empiricism.... William James is as much an archeological disinterring of Deleuze by way of James as it is a recovery of James’s pragmatism from Richard Rorty’s neo-pragmatism....”

— Ekin Erkan, Continental Thought & Theory


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

David Lapoujade is Professor of Philosophy at Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, and the author of numerous books, including Powers of Time: Versions of Bergson and Aberrant Movements: The Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze.

Thomas Lamarre is Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University and author of The Anime Ecology: A Genealogy of Television, Animation, and Game Media.

Table of Contents Back to Top
A Note on References  vii
Preface / Thomas Lamarre  ix
Introduction  1
1. Radical Empiricism  9
2. Truth and Knowledge  27
3. Faith and Pragmatic Community  51
Conclusion  73
Afterword: Diversity as Method / Thomas Lamarre  77
Notes  119
Bibliography  137
Index  143
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0676-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0515-5