chapter  7
12 Pages

William James, Pure Experience, and Panpsychism

WithAndrew Bailey

The prospect of panpsychism is intimately connected to issues that were of deep and often lifelong interest to William James. But, while strongly attractive to him, panpsychism, which was very much a live issue at the time James was writing, gave James difficulties: the contemporary dualist or idealist forms of panpsychism were not a good fit with – indeed, appeared to directly contradict – some of the central tenets of the pluralist radical empiricism that he was developing. The result of this tension, this chapter argues, is that we can trace in James’ writings a unique form of panpsychism – or perhaps better a panprotopsychism – that does not resemble the leading (dualist or idealist) panpsychisms of his day and nor is it a form of neutral monism, but is something else again, built around a uniquely Jamesian metaphysics of pure experience