This chapter (and the last) deals with the texts of two German thinkers who were widely read by Charles Sanders Peirce and William James – Hermann von Helmholtz and Wilhelm Wundt. They clarify the connections and differences between America and Europe and specify the connections between science and philosophy in ways that intersect with the Puritan questions of identity, ethics, and politics. The work of Wundt (with which that of James has some parallels) is the outcome of the professionalization of psychology, a process that challenged the radical individualism and commitment to liberal democracy that was inherent in the American pragmatists’ cultural and political lineages and backgrounds. The focus here is on particular concepts employed by both pragmatism and its continental interlocutors before going on (in the last two chapters) to consider how the Americans transformed them. Of particular importance, as far as Wundt is concerned, are the concepts of will and consciousness.
Keywords: consciousness, Europe, Germany, Hermann von Helmholtz, individualism, William James, liberal democracy, Charles Sanders Peirce, philosophy, pragmatism, psychology, purposiveness, transcendentalism, U.S.A, will, Wilhelm Wundt
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