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Time, Will, and Purpose 

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ISBN 978-0-8126-9678-3


448 pages

November 2013 

Time, Will, and Purpose

Living Ideas from the Philosophy of Josiah Royce

Randall E. Auxier

Josiah Royce (1855–1916) has had a major influence on American intellectual life, both popular movements and cutting-edge thought, but his name often went unmentioned while the ideas marched forward. He was the leading American proponent of Absolute Idealism. In recent years there has been a broad based revival of interest in Royce, with several important new books appearing, with the formation of a Josiah Royce Society, sponsoring a series of important scholarly conferences in the US and Europe, with the re-organization of the Royce papers at Harvard, and the developing plan for a definitive critical edition of Royce’s works, published and unpublished.

Randall Auxier delves into the primary texts written by Royce to retrieve the most poignant ideas, the ideas we need most in the present day, while he also offers a new framework for understanding the development of Royce’s philosophy. Auxier responds to everything that has been written about Royce, both early and recent.

Praise for Time, Will, and Purpose:

“Randall Auxier’s Time, Will, and Purpose is not only a comprehensive and systematic introduction to Josiah Royce’s philosophy, but also the most innovative interpretation of Royce’s ontology and philosophical method now available. Beyond that, Auxier’s book provides a welcome meditation on Royce’s progressive conservatism and a Royce-inspired critique of professional academic philosophy as it is commonly practiced in American universities. I have no doubt that Time, Will, and Purpose will become an indispensable introduction to Royce’s philosophy in short order.”

—Dwayne A. Tunstall, President of the Josiah Royce Society, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Grand Valley State University, and author of Yes, but Not Quite: Encountering Josiah Royce’s Ethico-religious Insight (2009)

“Josiah Royce, like Alfred North Whitehead, showed that there is such a thing as good metaphysics—nondogmatic, coherent, socially relevant, and brimming with illuminating ideas. Randall Auxier offers a brilliant interpretation of Royce’s philosophy as a whole and refashions some of Royce’s less understood ideas, making a compelling case for the continuing importance of Royce’s thought.”

—Gary Dorrien, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, Professor of Religion at Columbia University, and author of Kantian Reason and Hegelian Spirit

“This long-awaited book will challenge many misconceptions about Royce’s philosophy allowing us to have a more complete picture of his work and his relationship to other philosophers of his period. The book also allows us to see Royce’s metaphysics as well as his total philosophy in a needed new light. Royce’s ‘fictional ontology’, temporalism, and personalism, as well as its grounding in the foundational ‘ethico-religious’ insight of his philosophical work are brought to light in a thoroughly convincing and clear manner. Auxier has indeed demonstrated both that ‘Royce was among the most accomplished, ingenious, and original thinkers America has begotten’, and that his ideas are of significant contemporary relevance.”

—Jacquelyn Ann K. Kegley, Outstanding Professor of Philosophy, California State University, Bakersfield, and author of Josiah Royce in Focus (2008) and Genuine Individuals and Genuine Communities: A Roycean Public Philosophy (1999)

“Auxier shows Royce to be a truly great American philosopher, not simply a brilliant follower of Peirce or a foil for James. Auxier is a master of the scholarship, both primary and secondary. But more important, Auxier meets Royce as a philosopher in his own right and makes his interpretation grapple with the truth of the matters at hand. Temperamentally, Auxier is a contrarian whose first impulse is to say that everybody, including Royce and his interpreters, ‘gets it a little wrong’. Somehow he makes that sound gracious and benign! The argumentative nuance he brings to getting it right makes this book exciting to read. He is one of the liveliest philosophical writers working today. Auxier’s understanding of community is the best theory of that since Rawls, and Auxier has the better case.”

—Robert Cummings Neville, Professor of Philosophy and Theology, Boston University and author of Realism in Religion (2009)

Randall E. Auxier is Professor of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and General Editor of The Works of Josiah Royce. He edited Responses to Royce (2000) and has co-edited many volumes including The Philosophy of Arthur C. Danto (2013), The Philosophy of Richard M. Rorty (2010), and The Wizard of Oz and Philosophy: Wicked Wisdom of the West (2008).

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