The Ethics of Energy: William James's Moral Philosophy in Focus

Series: Process Thought (19)

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William James's moral philosophy is neither a remaking of utilitarianism nor it is a theory of values as it is assumed by the majority of his interpreters. Instead James offers an ethical view consistently arising out of valorization of energy of his days, and effecting a counter-tendency to the two great popular scientific currents of the 19th century: the universalizing of Darwinism and the pessimistic ideologies of social entropy. James's ethics moves away from the traditional idealistic or utilitarian grounds and takes place against the background of an up-and-coming philosophical anthropology hinged on the primacy of action. Human activity, however, needs to be understood in relation to Energy as the fabric of the universe pervading the whole spectrum of being in a continuum in which humanity and divinty are strictly intertwined.