Below is a complete list of the published writings of John William Miller. All of the books are currently in print and available from W. W. Norton & Company.

Publication History

PublicationsOnly four major philosophical statements were published during Miller’s own lifetime (1895-1978): two essays from the 1930s that appeared in The Journal of Philosophy, the Afterword to Helene Weyl’s translation of a collection of essays by José Ortega y Gasset from 1961, and The Paradox of Cause which was published just at the close of Miller’s life. The circumstances of Miller’s writing and publication have been remarked by a number of commentators. It can be briefly stated that, for reasons both philosophical and more properly personal, Miller eschewed the scholarly discourse promoted by professional philosophy. Rather he devoted himself to the less formal but to his mind more intense practice of teaching, conversing, and writing in the form of personal correspondence.

As a result of Miller’s attitude toward writing for publication, at the time of his death there was relatively little of his work available to the public. There was a great mass of writing left behind as part of his literary estate, however, much of it in the form of informal essays and letters. It fell to his literary executor George P. Brockway to organize, edit, and publish some of these writings. Having facilitated the publication of The Paradox of Cause in 1978 with W. W. Norton & Company, Brockway went on to edit four posthumous volumes of Miller’s writings that appeared with W. W. Norton colophon, as well as place four essays in journals. In 2005, a fifth posthumous volume of essays appeared with W. W. Norton. Further writings are being prepared for publication under the auspices of the John William Miller Fellowship Fund.


All of Miller’s books are currently in print. Some of the essays have been included in the published books.


The Paradox of Cause and Other Essays. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 1978.

The Definition of the Thing with Some Notes on Language. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 1980.

The Philosophy of History with Reflections and Aphorisms. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 1981.

The Midworld of Symbols and Functioning Objects. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 1982.

In Defense of the Psychological. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 1983.

The Task of Criticism: Essays on Philosophy, History, and Community. New York & London: W. W. Norton, 2005.


“The Paradox of Cause.” The Journal of Philosophy 32 (1935): 169–175.

“Accidents will Happen.” The Journal of Philosophy 34 (1937): 121–131.

“Motives for Existentialism.” Comment (Williamstown, MA) 1 (Spring 1948): 3–7.

Review of Walter A. Kaufmann’s Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist. Williams Alumni Review 43 (1951): 149–150.

“Afterword: The Ahistoric and the Historic.” In José Ortega y Gasset’s History as a System and Other Essays: Toward a Philosophy of History, 237–269. Trans. Helene Weyl. New York: W. W. Norton, 1961.

“History and Case History.” The American Scholar 49 (1980): 241–243.

“For Idealism.” Journal of Speculative Philosophy 1 (1987): 260–269.

“The Owl.” Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 24 (1988): 399–407.

“On Choosing Right and Wrong.” Idealistic Studies 21 (1992): 74–78.

Sources for Published Works

All of the writings that form the content of Miller’s published works are to be found, in their unedited form, in the Williams College Archives. A detailed listing of all of the Sources used is available. This set of documents is of interest to those seeking to date Miller’s essays or to find the location of the original document in the box and folder system of the Miller Papers.