Discussion Paper



“Pugnacity, Pacifism, and Peace: Addams, Calkins, and the Moral Equivalent of War”



In this essay, I accompany Jane Addams, William James, and Mary Whiton Calkins in the steps each takes toward her or his respective proposal of a moral equivalent of war.  I demonstrate the influence of Addams upon James and that of James upon Calkins, suggesting that the three share overlapping formulations of the problem and offer closely related solutions. I conclude that as we continue to struggle with the problem of war, we would do well to turn to James, though better to turn to Addams and Calkins, for their solutions are more firmly grounded in human nature, more inclusive, and thus more potentially melioristic than that of James.  Thus, Addams and Calkins are more attuned to the spirit of pragmatism with respect to this issue than one of the originators of the tradition.  I show that their oft-overlooked insights demand our recognition and reflection today.




“Pugnacity, Pacifism, and Peace: Addams, Calkins, and the Moral Equivalent of War”


§1: Introduction


            In her Newer Ideals of Peace (1906), Jane Addams insists on the need to supplant the idealization of militarism and conquest as patriotic with the ideals of industrialism and nurturing as such.  The common conception of patriotism is “too much dressed in the trappings of the past,” Addams asserts, “and continually carries us back to its beginnings in military prowess and defence.”[1]  Instead, we ought to laud the “moral prowess” and “constructive intelligence” of industrialism, for its battle demands insight, patience, and fortitude and is aimed at securing a “larger order of life.”[2]  Such are the “newer ideals” referred to in the title of the text.

Four years later, in his essay, “The Moral Equivalent of War” (1910), William James proposes as an alternative to waging war against fellow humans, waging a war against nature:

If now – and this is my idea – there were, instead of military conscription a conscription of the whole youthful population to form for a certain number of years a part of the army enlisted against Nature, the injustice would tend to be evened out, and numerous other goods to the commonwealth would follow (MEW: 669).[3]


This suggestion is part and parcel of James’s attempt at establishing a “moral equivalent of war,”[4] a way to simultaneously foster martial virtues and redress social injustices, free of the destructiveness of war.

            Seven years after James, in her essay, “Militant Pacifism” (1917), Mary Whiton Calkins proposes an alternative to waging war against fellow humans, but she recommends a war centered primarily on human nature:

The militant pacifist, in other words, expressly challenges the assumption that pugnacity can find moral expression only in the war of human being against human being.  He believes that men should go on fighting but that they should attack no longer human lives but human ignorance, human injustice, and the great nature-evils (MP: 76).[5]


Thus, Calkins also aspires toward a moral equivalent of war, but her battle alternative is markedly different than that suggested by James.    

In this essay, I accompany Addams, James, and Calkins in the steps each takes toward her or his respective proposal of a moral equivalent of war.  I demonstrate the influence of Addams upon James and that of James upon Calkins, suggesting that the three share overlapping formulations of the problem and offer closely related solutions.  Ultimately, I conclude that if we wish to learn from our philosophical forebears in order to negotiate problems persistently present and pressing – in this case, as we struggle to come to terms with and overcome the deleterious effects of our nation's “war on terror,” we would do well to turn to James, though better to turn to Addams and Calkins.  I will argue that their solutions are more firmly grounded in human nature, more inclusive and thus more potentially melioristic than that of James.  Interestingly, this would suggest that Addams and Calkins are more attuned to the spirit of pragmatism with respect to this issue than one of the originators of the tradition.  That this is so might be surprising, given the comparatively little attention paid to Addams and positively scant attention paid to Calkins, even in American pragmatism scholarship.[6]  Yet, as I will show, their oft-overlooked insights demand our recognition and reflection today.


§2: Addams and the Challenge of War with Newer Ideals


            The titles of both Newer Ideals of Peace (1906) and its closing chapter, “Passing of the War Virtues,” are telling of Addams’s conception of the problem of war and her recommendation for its resolution.  Addams cites as particularly problematic the trend of militarists justifying war by highlighting its great achievements in the past and the courage that it evokes and fosters.  The need to engage in war, these individuals claim, “is interwoven with every fibre of human growth and is at the root of all that is noble and courageous in human life.”[7]  Addams admits that there has been some good in warfare and in the spirit of warfare, but stipulates that what was once a useful tool in advancing social justice is now – that is, at the time of World War I – clumsy and barbaric.  Addams illustrates her point with the following example:

We may admit that the experiences of war have equipped the men of the present with pluck and energy, but to insist upon the self-same expression for that energy would be as stupid a mistake as if we would relegate the full-grown citizen, responding to many claims and demands upon his powers, to the school-yard fights of his boyhood, or to the college contests of his cruder youth.  The little lad who stoutly defends himself on the school-ground may be worthy of much admiration, but if we find him, a dozen years later, the bullying leader of a street-gang who bases his prestige on the fact that “no one can whip him,” our admiration cools amazingly, and we say that the carrying over of those puerile instincts into manhood shows arrested development which is mainly responsible for filling our prisons. (NIP: 117)


Thus, the “war virtues” need to be “passed” as we acknowledge that war has worn out its virtuousness, and our development is arrested if we follow the course of the bully.

            This passing of war virtues will only be accomplished, Addams argues, if we “act upon the assumption that spontaneous and fraternal action as virile and widespread as war itself is the only method by which substitutes for the war virtues may be discovered.”[8]  Addams is thus not solely interested in abolishing war, but seeks a positive alternative to it.  Addams’s feeling is that merely abolishing war would spell the loss of patriotism, the pride that we feel at our country’s partaking of these virtues.  Wanting to preserve patriotism, Addams recommends replacing militarism with industrialism.  “We shall not have made any genuine advance,” Addams urges, “until we have grown impatient of a patriotism founded upon military prowess and defence, because this really gets in the way and prevents the growth of that beneficent and progressive patriotism which we need for the understanding and healing of our current national difficulties.”[9]

Given the demand of industrialism for “ever new powers of insight, patience, and fortitude,” Addams deems absurd an expected objection to her view – that industrialism is “less difficult, less manly, less strenuous” than militarism.[10]  Addams claims to already witness the contrary, remarking, “the thousands of miners in Pennsylvania doubtless endure every year more bodily pain and peril than the same number of men in European barracks.”[11]  Further, Addams points out that much of American prosperity has come from our success in invention and engineering, manufacture and commerce.  Thus, there is a sense in which there is little reason to regard as radical the transition from a patriotism rooted in militarism to that rooted in industrialism.  The adoption of newer ideals of peace is the rendering explicit our pride for that which we have always recognized – though perhaps not as clearly or with as much emphasis as is appropriate – as fundamental to our flourishing and that of our nation.

Addams ends Newer Ideals of Peace with a recollection from the International Peace Conference held in Boston just two years prior.  She recalls a reading from the prophet Isaiah, in which he contended “that peace could be secured only as men abstained from the gains of oppression and responded to the cause of the poor; that swords would finally be beaten into plowshares and pruning-hooks, not because men resolved to be peaceful, but because all the metal of the earth would be turned to its proper use when the poor and their children should be abundantly fed.”[12]  Here we see a second meaning of Addams’s title, for not only are the ideals of peace intended to replace the old ideals of war, but the conventional way of conceiving of the ideal of peace is to be replaced by one that is more appropriate.  That is, according to Addams’s vision, the industrialist time of peace will not be so simply because there will be no war.  Rather, “peace” will be found in “the unfolding of worldwide processes making for the nurture of human life.”[13]

Addams conceived of such a worldwide process in her proposal to extend and enlarge from the domain of the household to that of the world at large, what she thought to be woman’s age-long obligation to feed the hungry.  This proposal serves as the crux of Peace and Bread in Time of War (1922), with Addams claiming, “peace and bread had become inseparably connected”[14] in her mind at the time of her authoring the text, a brief history of the efforts for peace made by a small group of women in the United States during the European War.  “Much had been said during the war about primitive emotion and instinctive action,” Addams notes:

…but certainly their use need not be reserved to purposes of destruction.  After all, the first friendly communication between tribe and tribe came through the need of food when one or the other was starving and too weak to fight; primitive human compassion made the folkway which afterward developed into political relationships.  I dared to believe that this early human instinct to come together in order to avert widespread starvation could not be forever thwarted by appeals to such later separatist instincts as nationalism and therefore urged that the gates be opened and that these primitive emotions be allowed to flood our devastated world. (PBTW: 90)


Thus, Addams’s idea of a global effort to feed the hungry serves as a concrete example of the united embrace of “newer ideals of peace.”[15]

Although never colleagues in a university setting or at Hull House, William James was a collaborative colleague of Addams at the aforementioned International Peace Conference.  James’s thought on war appears to owe quite a lot to his acquaintance with Addams, with his “Moral Equivalent of War” (1910) published four years after Newer Ideals of Peace (1906), six years after the Peace Conference (1904), and seven years after Addams’s lecture, “A Moral Substitute for War” (1903). [16]  We would do well, then, to consider James’s response to the problem of war, keeping an eye on the likenesses between his thought and Addams’s, and highlighting any important differences.


§3: James and the War against Nature


            “History is a bath of blood,”[17] observes James, and “at the present day…military instincts and ideals are as strong as ever.”[18]  James’s contention is that a link obtains between martial instincts, which he regards as native to all humans, and a history of the world fraught with violence and bloodshed.  Citing a longstanding human proclivity toward looting, plundering, and killing (from ancient Greece to the Spanish-American War), James concludes, “Our ancestors have bred pugnacity into our bone and marrow, and thousands of years of peace won’t breed it out of us.”[19]  In other words, the fighting impulse has become so commonplace that it is naturalized as part of what it means to be human.  Something would be amiss if we were not inclined to some degree toward pugnacity.  According to James, however, people at his time are in no danger of finding themselves in that condition; the ideals of war are heralded more than ever before.  This explains James’s opening declaration that the “war against war is going to be no holiday excursion or camping party.”[20]  The instinct of pugnacity is “too deeply grounded”[21] to hope to contain the problem easily; human nature being as it is, it seems pugnacity will inevitably rear its ugly head.         

            At least twice, James mentions the instinct of pugnacity in the same breath as the love of glory.  On several other occasions, he makes reference to pride and shame.  These concepts are interrelated and help to explain the power of pugnacity.  It is uncontroversial, I believe, to claim that all humans seek approval of some sort from at least some of their fellows.  The love of glory is this desire emboldened.  When one is said to be glorious, it is implied that this person enjoys great success and renown.  He or she is thus duly proud.  To fail to achieve glory, or to achieve its opposite, disgrace, is to endure failure and perhaps ridicule.  This brings about a feeling of shame.  Glory – and thus pride – is often attained via victory in some conflict, while disgrace – and thus shame – is often attained via a loss.  At least prima facie, the more pugnacious party has the upper hand (i.e., is more likely to enjoy glory and pride and avoid disgrace and shame).

            Yet, James assures that he has “no serious doubt that the ordinary prides and shames of social man, once developed to a certain intensity, are capable of organizing such a moral equivalent”[22] as he would like to see materialize.  On one hand, James is an avowed pacifist[23] and wishes to witness the end of war; on the other, he seeks to preserve what he calls the ‘martial virtues.’ “Martial virtues,” James insists, “must be the enduring cement; intrepidity, contempt of softness, surrender of private interest, obedience to command, must still remain the rock upon which states are built.”[24]  The task, then, is to arrive at a conciliatory solution that embraces the positive elements of militarism while promoting the peace sought after by pacifism.

            James’s “most promising line of conciliation,”[25] what he describes as his “own utopia”[26] is that of the ‘war against nature.’  In such a battle, the “military ideals of hardihood and discipline would be wrought into the growing fibre of the people,” claims James, and all people would recognize the “hard foundations” of life.[27]  James goes on to detail the duties of the conscribed youth embroiled in the trenches:

To coal and iron mines, to freight trains, to fishing fleets in December, to dish-washing, clothes-washing, and window-washing, to road-building and tunnel-making, to foundries and stoke-holes, and to the frames of skyscrapers, would our guilded youths be drafted off, according to their choice, to get the childishness knocked out of them, and to come back into society with healthier sympathies and soberer ideas (MEW: 669).[28]


Thus, the youthful army enlisted against nature would, in fact, be an army working in and with nature, albeit at times for the sake of maintaining control over nature.[29]  The point is that the energy that could very well be expended in acts of wanton destruction would be sublimated into acts of organized construction.  Moreover, the constructive effect would exceed the material; the enlisted would develop into responsible young adults. 

            The doubly constructive effect of James’s proposal is underscored by considering a pair of passages from “What Makes a Life Significant” (1899), an essay published eleven years prior to “The Moral Equivalent of War” (1910).  There, James describes a remarkably peaceful summer week spent on the borders of Chautauqua Lake, a place “equipped with means for satisfying all the necessary lower and most of the superfluous higher wants of man,”[30] including model schools, ample recreational activities, magnificent music, generous religious services, and an absence of disease, poverty, and crime.  Upon departing what he dubs a “Utopia,”[31] James finds himself unexpectedly relieved:  

Now for something primordial and savage, even though it were as bad as an Armenian massacre, to set the balance straight again.  This order is too tame, this culture too second-rate, this goodness too uninspiring.  This human drama without a villain or a pang; this community so refined that ice-cream soda-water is the utmost offering it can make to the brute animal in man; this city simmering in the tepid lakeside sun; this atrocious harmlessness of all things, – I cannot abide with them (WMLS: 647).


James’s attitude toward the notion of a “utopia” is clearly different here than in “The Moral Equivalent of War,” as what he describes as utopistic about Chautauqua is that which disturbs him; it lacks the zest of real life.   

            What James witnesses in the midst of his train ride in return from that uninspiring place, however, anticipates his “own utopia” that is his moral equivalent of war:

…the sight of a workman doing something on the dizzy edge of a sky-scaling iron construction brought me to my senses very suddenly.  And now I perceived, by flash of insight, that I had been steeping myself in pure ancestral blindness, and looking at life with the eyes of a remote spectator.  Wishing for heroism and the spectacle of human nature on the rack, I had never noticed the great fields of heroism lying round about me…on every railway bridge and fire-proof building that is going up to-day.  On freight-trains, on the decks of vessels, in cattle-yards and mines, on lumber-rafts, among the firemen and the policemen, the demand for courage is incessant; and the supply never fails.  There, every day of the year somewhere, is human nature in extremis for you.  And wherever a scythe, an axe, a pick, or a shovel is wielded, you have it sweating and aching and with its powers of patient endurance racked to the utmost under the length of hours and the strain…These are our soldiers, thought I, these our sustainers, these the very parents of our life (WMLS: 649).


Thus, for James, the ideal society is not brought to life by gratuitous barbarism and destructive conquering, and filled with its resultant bloodshed; rather, it is animated by patient endurance and productive labor, and filled with its resultant fruits.[32]  As fire-proof buildings and the like are built by these “soldiers,” so too, are their characters.  Perhaps the characters of that majority not enlisted in this army would also grow, owing to their appreciation for and support of the peaceful and productive toil of their troops.  To be sure, James would deem this situation glorious, and worthy of pride.[33]


§4: Calkins and the War against Human Nature


            Calkins was a student of James, and herself noted the deep influence of his thought on her own.[34]  Calkins’s “Militant Pacifism” was published just seven years after James’s “The Moral Equivalent of War,” and seems intended to be something of a response to it, despite her claiming the contrary.[35]  On one hand, Calkins agrees with James that the war instinct is embedded in human nature and must in some way be manipulated if an end to war is ever to be seen.  On the other hand, Calkins parts ways with James when it comes to the method of this manipulation.

            Calkins characterizes as a “dogma”[36] the idea that humans are inevitably fighters.  In support of this contention, she sets out to examine “in some detail the instincts lying at the heart of war and, in particular, pugnacity.”[37]  With this point of departure, she is very similar to James.  Her analysis of pugnacity, however, is decidedly more developed than his.  James never offers anything in the way of a definition of ‘pugnacity,’ though he seems to mean the instinct toward aggression or violence.[38]  Calkins takes care first to distinguish an instinct as a feeling or bodily reaction “reappearing in every generation, either born in individuals or else arising at a definite period of their lives as original endowments of their nature.”[39]  Then, Calkins specifies that pugnacity “is a very early, a very permanent and a tremendously powerful instinct,” instantiated in every “normal” person and in two ways, mentally in the form of anger, and physically in the form of combat.[40]  Adding further detail to her account of pugnacity, Calkins explains that pugnacity is: always incited by opposition (we fight when thwarted or balked in the free exercise of any instinct or volitional activity), sometimes excited when the instinct of curiosity is thwarted (as in when we are playing or made aware of danger), more often excited by balked acquisitiveness (given the value placed on the instincts of getting and hoarding), very often the outgrowth of fear (as in the desperately frightened child who suddenly attacks his tormenter), and may come as a swift reaction to protect others when their social and sympathetic instincts are violated (as in the protectiveness of a parent over its offspring or of a group toward its leader).[41] 

            These considerations, Calkins admits, “seem to support the theory of those who disparage the war against war.  For pugnacity has appeared in its true colors as a strong and widely diffused instinct,” such that “man is the prey of his own instincts” and the waging of wars is inevitable.[42]  Yet, for Calkins, the contrary is true.  Decrying such a state of things as unfaithful to all empirical evidence, Calkins insists, “biology and psychology alike abundantly attest” that a wide gamut of species learn by modifying their instincts.  In fact, Calkins urges, the extent to which humans have adapted and advanced is the extent to which they have intelligently exercised this very control.     

Thus, Calkins’s moral equivalent of war entails the conscription of an army to do battle against human nature, essaying to control the instinct of pugnacity and modify it such that the devastation of war may be avoided and humans may more fully flourish.  This can be accomplished, Calkins explains, in one of two ways: “Either the instinct is directed toward new objects or it is subordinated to another instinct.”[43]  Alluding to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Men (1871), Calkins cites as an example of the former the boy who diverts his fighting instinct from boys to gnarled roots of trees, “wrestling with the ungainly knots, with red face and wrathful eyes, till he had conquered them, when he exulted and marched off with an armful of oakwood in triumph.”[44]  This way of modifying the instinct of pugnacity seems no different from James’s idea of redirecting the instinct toward inanimate objects.[45]  An example of the latter is found in the shyness of a child which becomes neutralized by the curiosity “which drives him nearer with every puff of the red balloon which the strange person holds out to him.”[46]  This way of modifying the instinct of pugnacity seems not to be found in James’s essay, for he appears to think it impossible to overcome the instinct of pugnacity via another instinct.  Indeed, he might claim that to do attempt to do so would just be to enact a sort of internally directed pugnacity.

            Recalling James’s list of martial virtues, Calkins asserts that the militant pacifism she proposes is intended to “preserve and even to strengthen the fighting instinct, with all these martial virtues which it inspires, but to direct it to radically new ends.”[47]  In its quest to quell human error and selfishness, militant pacifism seeks to preserve “human love, human virtue,” and “human toil,” rather than achieve glory via violent action.[48]  Of course, the spirit of this proposal is much like that of James, and with Calkins’s inclusion of “nature-evils” as a new object of pugnacity, part of the plan is in fact identical with that of James.  Still, Calkins’s proposal surpasses James in ambition, for it does not confine itself to transforming nature but includes, and indeed centers on, rectifying human nature.

            “War against human life will cease,” write Calkins, when social instincts aimed at stamping out “human greed and sloth and cruelty” come to “dominate pugnacity.”[49]  This dominance, Calkins urges, cannot be achieved by a faction of combatants.  Thus, another important difference between James’s and Calkins’s moral equivalents of war is that James’s conscription is of a limited sample of the population, while Calkins’s “Greatest War will never be brought to victory until it enlists us all.”[50]  The war against human nature then, is a war perpetually waged.           

In the year following the publication of “Militant Pacifism,” Calkins published The Good Man and the Good (1918).  Billed as an introduction to ethics, it is that, but it is also largely a study in virtue ethics, an approach to morality to which Calkins was clearly partial.  Calkins defines ‘virtue’ as “a habit of will which controls instinctive tendencies in furtherance of the ultimate purpose,”[51] with the “ultimate purpose” being “the completeness, the richness, of experience of the moral self and of the community to which he belongs.[52]  Calkins describes “militant virtue” as characterizing “every reformer, every doughty fighter against entrenched customs, unjust legislation, and corrupt legislation.”[53]  These fighting reformers do not, as Calkins describes it, strike about “for the mere love of fighting,” but give battle “as defense of…the higher loyalty…solely and wholly for the great cause, the ultimate purpose.”[54]  With this description of the militantly virtuous person, or in other words, the militant pacifist, Calkins fleshes out what she states only vaguely at the conclusion of “Militant Pacifism”:

…the instincts lying at the heart of war can be converted to the uses of a strenuous and militant peace and…the instrument of their conversion is loyalty to the Great Society, a loyalty rooted in the deep-lying social instincts.  Sed sine dolore non vivitur in amore.  The law of this loyalty, also, is sacrifice (MP: 79).


While the reader of “Militant Pacifism” is surprised to be met at the end of that essay by Calkins’s first mentions of “loyalty” and the “Great Society,” the context provided in The Good Man and the Good is instructive.  Calkins’s war against human nature is a war for human nature – the “Great Society,” demanding loyalty from each of its combatants (i.e., everyone) in the form of sacrifice (one must actively undercut one’s natural propensities – an undoubtedly uncomfortable process – for the furthering of a cause greater than any of one’s own, unshared or provincially shared causes).[55]


§5: Conclusion


Returning briefly to James, let us consider the following remarks, which may be read by some eyes as cynical commentary, but should be read, I would submit, as frank lamentation:

“Peace” in military mouths today is a synonym for “war expected.”  The word has become a pure provocative, and no government wishing peace sincerely should allow it ever to be printed in a newspaper.  Every up-to-date dictionary should say that “peace” and “war” mean the same thing, now in posse, now in actu.  It may even reasonably be said that the intensely sharp competitive preparation for war by the nations is the real war, permanent, unceasing; and that the battles are only a sort of public verification of the mastery gained during the “peace” interval (MEW: 663).


That James’s words resonate as if written today indicates that the problem he addressed nearly a century ago persists to be pressing and perplexing.  It is for this reason that we ought to reconsider the recommendations for a moral equivalent of war, offered to us by Addams, James, and Calkins.[56]

Of the three, however, Addams’s and Calkins’s solutions seem more potentially liberating.  It would be easy to explain this in the case of Calkins by virtue of her war on human nature encompassing James’s war on nature, which while true, is not the whole story.  What I find most attractive about Addams’s and Calkins’s approach to the question is their highlighting of human choice as both the source of the problem and the key to the solution.  We are not for Addams or Calkins, as we are for James, indomitably pugnacious beings.  While sublimating our pugnacious energies is indeed part of Addams’s and Calkins’s plans, so too is recognizing that these energies may be dissipated if we cooperatively and resiliently set our minds to doing so.  Indeed, it seems that for Addams and Calkins, we have the potential to “breed out of our marrow” (to use the expression of James) the impulse for war, and “breed into our marrow” the impulse for peace, whereas for James, our marrow is inescapably contaminated.[57]  Moreover, in its radical inclusiveness and call for a banding together of the Great Society via cooperation and loyalty, Calkins’s proposal for a moral equivalent of war is simply more moral than James’s.  James’s solution seems to rely on the notion of the young hardy man as the soldier par excellence.  Without such men, our railroads and skyscrapers will not be constructed, it seems, and without these, we are destined to keep up our march through the bloodbath of history.  Although James wishes to eschew the varieties of ugliness that come concomitant with militarism, his pacifistic programme retains some.  Nonetheless, James’s thought on this matter was undoubtedly novel and without it, it is indeed possible that Calkins might not have formulated her own or been moved to articulate it in print.

In the thought of Addams, James, and Calkins we find potentially powerful approaches to a problem that remains with us today and a keen insight into the human condition that leads me to believe them promising.  It would be worth our while, then, to take up their suggestions.[58]  Perhaps we might live to see, as James would have liked, “the last ammunition…used in the fireworks that celebrate the final peace.”[59]









[1] Jane Addams, Newer Ideals of Peace. (Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2007), 119.  Hereafter, this book will be cited as NIP.

[2] NIP: 122-123

[3] William James, “The Moral Equivalent of War,” The Writings of William James. Ed. John J. McDermott (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 1977, pp. 660-671.  Hereafter, this essay will be cited as MEW.

[4] MEW: 666, emphasis James’s.

[5] Mary Whiton Calkins, “Militant Pacifism,” International Journal of Ethics, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Oct, 1917), pp. 70-79.  Hereafter, this essay will be cited as MP.

[6] The neglect of Addams and Calkins in philosophical scholarship is undoubtedly due, in large part, to a traditional bias in the profession toward male philosophers.  Texts such as Joseph Blau’s Men and Movements in American Philosophy (1952) have served to reinforce this bias; therein, one finds what is presented as a representative (albeit not encyclopedic) narrative of the history of American philosophy – one that wholly excludes women philosophers.  Although this bias now seems to be diminishing, the two still have not received their due, especially Calkins.  Addams is more often remembered for her founding of Hull House (1889), one of the earliest settlement houses in the U.S., than for having made any contribution to philosophy.  Although Calkins was the first female president of both the American Psychological Association (1905) and the American Philosophical Association (1918), and published prolifically in each field, she is remembered and engaged far less than are many of her male contemporaries. 

[7] NIP: 117

[8] NIP: 118

[9] NIP: 120

[10] NIP: 122

[11] NIP: 121

[12] NIP: 131

[13] NIP: 131

[14] Jane Addams, Peace and Bread in Time of War. (Boston, MA: G.K. Hall & Co.), 1960, p. xxii.  Hereafter, this text will be cited as PBTW.

[15] Addams was adamant in promoting the aforementioned newer ideals of peace.  She served on several related committees, including the Department of Food Administration, Woman’s Peace Party, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the International Congress of Women at the Hague.  She was the first American woman awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1931.

[16] “A Moral Substitute for War” was given at the Ethical Culture Society in Chicago in 1903.

[17] MEW: 661

[18] MEW: 662

[19] MEW: 662

[20] MEW: 660

[21] MEW: 660

[22] MEW: 669

[23] MEW: 663

[24] MEW: 668

[25] MEW: 663

[26] MEW: 667

[27] MEW: 669

[28] That the youth would choose the duty to perform seems contrary to the spirit of the programme.  I am not sure what to make of James’s inclusion of this qualifier.

[29] The matter of how to understand James’s ‘war against nature’ is the subject of much debate in the literature, with a significant number of environmental philosophy scholars interpreting James as calling for an antagonistic relationship to nature, culminating in human dominance over it.  See, for instance: Jane Roland Martin, “Martial Virtues or Capital Vices? William James’ Moral Equivalent of War Revisited,” Journal of Thought, vol. 22, no. 3, Fall 1987, pp. 32-44.  One author goes as far as to opine that James “would have found it difficult to believe that a time would come when the Senate would devote a session to the fate of a little obscure fish, and when the equivalent of war would be to protect Nature instead of protecting humankind from its dangers.”  It is not clear to me how this follows from James’s text.  See: René Dubos, The Wooing of Earth (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons), 1980, p. 78. 

[30] William James, “What Makes a Life Significant,” The Writings of William James. Ed. John J. McDermott (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 1977, pp. 645-660 (646).  Hereafter, this essay will be cited as WMLS.

[31] WMLS: 647

[32] That this labor is typically relegated to men (especially in James’s time) is grounds for a feminist critique (as is James’s lauding of masculine hardihood).  For a representative reading of this stripe, see: Linda Schott, “Jane Addams and William James on Alternatives to War,” Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 54, No. 2. (Apr. 1993), pp. 241-254.  As previously noted, James was in conversation with Jane Addams – revered for her contributions to feminism – on this very issue, appearing with her on the same platform at the thirteenth Universal Peace Conference in 1904.  Each purported to have benefited from the insights of the other, with James expressing in correspondence his admiration of Addams’s Newer Ideals of Peace, and Addams having credited James in that text.  It does not appear that Addams ever offered a feminist critique of James’s MEW – at least not in print.  For a detailed account of the exchange between Addams and James, see: Allen F. Davis, American Heroine: The Life and Legend of Jane Addams (New York: Oxford University Press), 1973, pp. 135-156. 

[33] On one reading, James “was more enthused by the vision of heroism, despite its obvious excesses, as well as by the strenuosity that military ideals offered, than by conscious sublimation.”  Whether or not this is so, I believe that the last remark I have made in this section holds.  See: George Cotkin, William James, Public Philosopher (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press), 1990, p. 150.  

[34] As stated in: P. Magg, “The Personalism of Mary Whiton Calkins,” The Personalist, Vol. XXVIII, No. 1 (January, Winter, 1947), pp. 44-53 (47).  Magg apparently draws from: Carl Murchison, Ed., The History of Psychology in Autobiography. (Worcester, MA: Clark University Press), 1930, Vol. 1.  One scholar conjectures that Calkins chose to study at Harvard in large part due to James’s presence there, and notes that despite controversy surrounding allowing women to enter seminars there, James welcomed her to his. See: Laurel Furumoto, “Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930),” Psychology of Women Quarterly, Vol. 5 (1), Fall 1980, pp. 55-68 (58).

[35] “It is beside the restricted purpose of this paper,” Calkins states, “to debate William James’s great conception of a ‘conscription of the whole youthful population’ as part of ‘the army enlisted against Nature’” (MP: 77-78).

[36] MP: 70

[37] MP: 70

[38] We might expect a definition of ‘pugnacity’ from James, if not in MEW, than in The Principles of Psychology (1890, hereafter cited as PP), wherein he discusses pugnacity in the chapter on “Instinct.”  We do not find a definition here either, though his listing of ‘pugnacity’ as an instinct confirms that James thinks it to be one.  James’s remarks about pugnacity in MEW echo those in PP: “…we, the lineal representatives of the successful enactors of one scene of slaughter after another, must, whatever more pacific virtues we may also possess, still carry about with us, ready at any moment to burst into flame, the smouldering and sinister traits of character by means of which they lived through so many massacres, harming others, but themselves unharmed” (PP: 1028-1029).  See: William James, The Works of William James: The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 2. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981.

[39] MP: 70-71

[40] MP: 71

[41] MP: 72-73.  Calkins’s understanding of pugnacity may owe more to James than first appears, as James goes on in the chapter on “Instinct” in PP to discuss several other instincts, including: acquisitiveness, curiosity, fear, and parental love. See PP: 1033-1057.  Calkins’s own account of James’s influence, particularly as pertains to PP, supports this hypothesis: “I began the serious study of psychology with William James.  Most unhappily for them and most fortunately for me the other members of his seminary in psychology dropped away in the early weeks of the fall of 1890, and James and I were left…quite literally at either side of a library fire.  The Principles of Psychology was warm from the press, and my absorbed study of those brilliant, erudite, and provocative volumes, as interpreted by their writer, was my introduction to psychology.”  See: Carl Murchison, Ed., The History of Psychology in Autobiography. (Worcester, MA: Clark University Press), 1930, Vol. 1, p. 31.

[42] MP: 73-74

[43] MP: 74

[44] MP: 75

[45] The example of the Alcott passage, however, looks more like the picture of James described by Martin and Dubos than that which I have described.

[46] MP: 75

[47] MP: 76

[48] MP: 76

[49] MP: 78-79

[50] MP: 79

[51] Mary Whiton Calkins, The Good Man and the Good. (New York: The Macmillan Company), 1918 (84).  Hereafter, this text will be cited as GMG.

[52] GMG: 86

[53] GMG: 160

[54] GMG: 159.  Calkins regularly interchanges “the good,” “the ultimate purpose,” and the “ultimate object of moral loyalty.” 

[55] With her discussions of loyalty and the Great Society, Calkins demonstrates the great impression made on her thought by another of her teachers, Josiah Royce.  See, for instance, his Philosophy of Loyalty (1908), The Problem of Christianity (1913), War and Insurance (1914) and The Hope of the Great Community (1916).  It may be the case that Calkins ends “Militant Pacifism” in the fashion she does as something of an homage to Royce, who died shortly before its publication.  For more on Royce’s influence on Calkins, see the articles by Magg and Furumoto.

[56] At least one commentator would disagree on the grounds that James and Calkins preserve the militaristic language of ‘being at war.’  Derek D. Turner suggests that those opposing war and/or violence should not use the war analogy for rhetorical or justificatory purposes for three reasons: first, thinking of oneself as at war renders one warlike; second, thinking of a relationship as one of war (in these cases, ours to nature or ours to human nature) has the effect of making these relationships more acrimonious; third, such an analogy promotes misanthropy (more obviously applicable in the case of  Calkins, this would apply to James’s solution from the side of those environmentalists who would think humans to be the enemy).  See: Derek D. Turner, “Are We at War with Nature?,” Environmental Values, vol. 14, issue 1 (2005), pp. 21-36. 

[57] Calkins would deny that we could breed the impulse entirely out, but would also add that insofar as the instinct of pugnacity serves useful purposes (and as she details, it clearly does), the “breeding out” should not happen in total.

[58] It would only be appropriate to press me on how.  One avenue that one can take that is truly in the spirit of Addams – though consistent, to be sure, with Calkins (and would not likely meet with opposition from James) – is to join an organization such as Food Not Bombs, a global movement that has, since 1980, “worked to end hunger and has supported actions to stop the globalization of the economy, restrictions to the movements of people, end exploitation and the destruction of the earth” (  Food Not Bombs serves free vegan and vegetarian meals to the hungry, with the belief that these foods are healthier for people and less violent to animals and the environment than foods including meat.  They have served such meals in the name of many causes, including protests all around the world against the current U.S. invasion of Iraq.

[59] MEW: 670