Monthly Archives: May 2012

Walt Whitman Listens to Duke Ellington!

I go through phases where I all I want to hear is Duke Ellington. Listening to him is a never-ending task: he wrote over a thousand pieces and recorded most of them multiple times, always re-envisioning them according to the … Continue reading

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The Jazz of James, Part VI: The Solid Meaning of Life

Previous entries of The Jazz of James: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V. Step 6: Live by an examined ideal. What’s the upshot of these realizations about the meanings of your life and the lives of … Continue reading

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The Jazz of James, Part V: The Deepest Human Life

Previous entries of The Jazz of James: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV. Step 3: Open your eyes to the meaningfulness of other lives. At worse, we’re clucking and running around according to crazy, meaningless routines; at best, … Continue reading

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The Jazz of James, Part IV: The Gospel of Jazz

Previous entries of The Jazz of James: Part I, Part II, Part III. All of William James’s essays in “popular philosophy” embody and express the spiritual condition of jazz. In particular, I want to focus on the incandescent suite of … Continue reading

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The Jazz of James, Part III: Jazz as Pluralism

Previous entries of The Jazz of James: Part I and Part II. Pragmatism is a form of pluralism. To accept the pragmatic account of truth-making is to recognize that different sensibilities working under different conditions are going to produce a … Continue reading

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The Jazz of James, Part II: Jazz as Pragmatism

Part I is below. In 1878 the term pragmatism was coined by Charles Sanders Pierce. The renowned William James admired the obscure Pierce’s work. They became friends; and the saintly James helped out Pierce, both personally and professionally, throughout his … Continue reading

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The Jazz of James, Part I: The Blues of the Epileptic Patient

Philosophy is naturally solicitous of music. Plato and Confucius both try to track down the ideal music to inculcate the virtues of justice and human-heartedness. Nietzsche, at both the beginning and end of his philosophical career, looks to opera as … Continue reading

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