Placed side by side, James' A Pluralistic Universe and Addams’s Twenty Years at Hull-House seem to have little in common. James’s critique of absolute idealism is written for intellectuals comfortable with philosophical abstractions. Twenty Years is full of stories about the lives of poor people and immigrants. Yet, sometime after April 1909, when A Pluralistic Universe appeared, and before November 1910, when Twenty Years was published, Addams inserted a few telling quotations into her manuscript. I will give a reading of Twenty Years as a presentation in real time of James’s pluralistic universe, with both form and contents conveying the “essential provisionality” of experience in James’s “strung-along” universe.I will then show how sympathy and memory serve as wires upon which the universe is strung.
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Johns Hopkins University Press
Fischer, Marilyn, "A Pluralistic Universe in Twenty Years" (2016). Philosophy Faculty Publications. 148.