First Advisor

Michael F. Reardon

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History






William James (1842-1910) -- Philosophy, French Philosophers, Modern Philosophy -- 19th century



Physical Description

1 online resource (154 p.)


This thesis argues two issues: William James' philosophy was-to a great extent derived from his interaction with the French philosophers, Charles Renouvier, Henri Bergson, Maurice Blondel and Emile Boutroux. Correlative to the fact that these five figures have an intellectual relationship with one another, I also argue that in order to understand James, he must be placed within the context of these relations. These five philosophers, as a group, can be clearly seen and understood in the context of an identifiable movement. Each one was a part of a whole reality with their own slightly different perspectives. However, the context that I present reveals the motivating factors of this movement towards a philosophy of action. This is not to say that there was one defined philosophy of action. Each contributed to the conception of a philosophy of action by their response to the same dilemmas of their time.


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