George Holmes Howison


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George Holmes Howison was born on 29 November 1834, in Montgomery County, Maryland, and died on 31 December 1916 in Berkeley, California. He was the son of Robert Howison of Virginia and Eliza Holmes Howison of Maryland. Both parents derived from old families, they were Presbyterians, and were themselves slaveholders. Howison's biography is eclectic and colorful, but would be of little interest were it not for the fact that the biography made the philosopher, and its details form the basis of Howison's devotion to pluralism. Howison is perhaps the primary originator of philosophical pluralism in America, which is perhaps his greatest and most lasting contribution to philosophy. Grasping his varied life in outline is key to grasping the philosophy he propounded, the form it took, and his ability to influence others to adopt it, for it was as a spur to the thought of others that he had his greatest influence, particularly in the cases of Josiah Royce, William James, and Borden Parker Bowne. Howison did not publish prolifically as did these other three figures, but by every account his personal charisma and the force of his discourse moved his hearers to think and to change their thinking.


From The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.