Shadworth Hodgson

Shadworth Hodgson was an unusual non-academic British philosopher who corresponded with William James. His views are of interest in PhilosophyOfMind for those who doubt that mind is computation in a biological network of cells.

My first notes:

Attention to Hodgson was briefly enlivened by an article by Wolfe Mays in a British Phenomenology journal in the 1970's.

The volumes of Hodgson's principal work were often shipped with uncut pages and visits to libraries with these volumes has revealed that sometimes most pages of all 4 volumes remained uncut even one hundred years later.

Hodgson lived at a time when philosophy was not yet entirely an academic discipline of professors: Boltzmann, for example, decided at one point to become a philosopher late in life to defend the atomic theory of matter and went so far as to study with Franz Brentano. Wittgenstein was himself a mechanical engineer.

In an age of specialization, American are sometimes reminded that the poet William Carlos Williams was a physician and that the poet Wallace Stevens was a lawyer and an insurance executive of some importance in Hartford, CT. Today, with few exceptions, philosophers are those with PhD's in the academic discipline of philosophy. Few today rank with Hilary Putnam with his contributions to other disciplines (John Searle is an arguable exception.)

Indeed philosophers who are active in physics or mathematics are often looked down upon in academic life as not "really" philosophers (the same phenomenon arises in mathematics and physics for those who cross over "too far" into the applied or the pure.) Hermann Weyl was arguably the last mathematician to be both a philosopher and a physicist.

William James was in the curious position of inventing his academic discipline ( much more so than, say, the computer scientist Ralph Griswold in his move from Bell Labs to U AZ, Tucson where he founded a department for a discpline already somewhat well-delineated on the academic map.) The situation of James renders his correspondence with Hodgson doubly interesting.

In Europe at the time there was no distinction between philosophy and psychology, but for all that, Hodgson was not engaged in descriptive or common-sense psychology. It might be argued that his work is best understood as casual phenomenology.

In America, CS Pierce's phaneroscopy

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