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The Philosophy of Henry James Sr

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Louis Menand summarizes the philosophy of Henry James Sr. quite well. Here's the money quote:

"Henry James, Sr. was a Platonist. He believed (following Swedenborg) that there are two realms, a visible and an invisible, and that the invisible realm, which he named the realm of the Divine Love, is the real one. From this premise, the usual conclusions follow: humankind is now separated from the true and the real; its destiny is to arrive at the consummation intended for it by God; philosophers are here to help the rest of us understand what that consummation is. James' particular conception of it was derived in part from his reading of Swedenborg and in part from a writer with whom Swedenborg was often paired in the nineteenth century, the French socialist Charles Fourier...."

From Fourier he took an idealization of the brotherhood of men, and the idea expressed in the title of his own final book, Society the Redeemed Form of Man.


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