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C. I. Lewis
The Last Great Pragmatist
C. I. Lewis
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Murray G. Murphey - Author
SUNY Series in Philosophy
Hardcover - 506 pages
Release Date: October 2005
ISBN10: 0-7914-6541-1
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6541-7

Out of Print
Price: $35.95 
Paperback - 506 pages
Release Date: June 2019
ISBN10: 0-7914-6542-X
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6542-4



2006 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award

An intellectual biography of the American philosopher C. I. Lewis.

Noted scholar-historian Murray G. Murphey explores the life and intellectual work of C. I. Lewis (1883–1964), the central figure in American philosophy between the "golden age" of James and Royce and the later scene of Quine and Goodman, Sellars and Rorty. As professor of philosophy at Harvard and the founder of modal symbolic logic, Lewis taught and deeply influenced a generation of philosophers. Murphey traces the development of Lewis's thought from his early Idealism through his Conceptual Pragmatism and his defense of that position against the onslaught of Logical Positivism in the 1930s and 1940s. He also examines how Lewis developed in a more precise and systematic way the Pragmatism of Peirce, James, and Dewey, while retaining their combination of empiricism and humanism and marshalling the weapons of analytic philosophy in their defense. Detailed attention is given to the important contributions of Lewis's work in logic, epistemology, value theory, meaning, and ethics.

“…a balanced, informative, and insightful portrait of one of the most influential American philosophers of the twentieth century … provides a wealth of detail and information.” — Metaphilosophy

“Until the publication of Murphey’s definitive intellectual study of C. I. Lewis, no adequate examination of this giant of American philosophy has been available … this careful and admiring work … painstakingly analyzes and explains Lewis’s complex thought on logic, knowledge, reality, the mind, and values … With this magnificent achievement, Murphey justly places Lewis once again at the forefront of American philosophy.” — CHOICE

"Murray Murphey has done it again. As he did forty years ago with the publication of The Development of Peirce's Philosophy, here is another monumental achievement with his study of C. I. Lewis. It is an indispensable interpretation, at once painstakingly detailed and historically situated, of a major figure in American philosophy destined to attain the status of the Peirce book." — Vincent M. Colapietro, author of Peirce's Approach to the Self: A Semiotic Perspective on Human Subjectivity

Murray G. Murphey is Professor Emeritus of American Civilization at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books, including Philosophical Foundations of Historical Knowledge, also published by SUNY Press; The Development of Peirce's Philosophy; and (with Elizabeth Flower) A History of Philosophy in America.

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

Biographical Note I. Early Years

1. Idealism and Epistemology

2. Berkeley

3. Logic
Biographical Note II. Harvard

4. Pragmatism

5. Mind and the World Order
Biographical Note III. Middle Years

6. Logic II

7. Positivism and the Theory of Knowledge
Biographical Note IV. War Years

8. The AKV
Biographical Note V. Retirement

9. After the AKV

10. Ethics
Biographical Note VI. Final Years

11. Conclusion


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