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Thinking Through StyleNon-Fiction Prose of the Long Nineteenth Century$
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Michael D. Hurley and Marcus Waithe

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198737827.001.0001

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Cashing in on William James

Cashing in on William James

Chapter:
(p.232) 14 Cashing in on William James
Source:
Thinking Through Style
Author(s):

Philip Davis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198737827.003.0015

William James, philosopher and psychologist, offers a style of thinking in which the forming of an idea is experienced as live event, a hot spot in the brain of writer and reader. It requires what is argued to be a literary language offered within an apparently non-literary medium, involving not a stylish vocabulary so much as a dynamic syntax. The first section describes the new grammar of philosophy central to James’s style: Process Philosophy where reality is best registered through verbs and conjunctions rather than nouns. The second section concerns the psychology of such a style, liberated through the mental pathways made by creative sentence-making. Such sentences reach forward in making an immediate mental future, pursuing ‘the more’ beyond the already known. It is concluded that this model of thinking is intrinsically useful to the mental well-being of humans, as art put to profitable work outside the realm of aesthetics.

Keywords:   Process Philosophy, philosophy of grammar, psychology of grammar, mental futures, the more, cash value

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