Meaning of JAMES, WILLIAM in English


(1842-1910) professor at Harvard; pragmatist. Wrote 1.

Pragmatism , 2. A Pluralistic Universe , 3. Essays in Radical Empiricism , 4. The Will to Believe and Other Essays , 5. The Meaning of Truth , 6. Selected Papers in Philosophy , and 7. The Varieties of Religious Experience. Regarding his theory of knowledge: Like the later existentialists, James held that the philosopher's realm is the "world of concrete personal experiences," where the pragmatic method applies, rather than the world of abstract ideas (where speculation is encouraged). "The pragmatic method is a method of settling metaphysical disputes that otherwise might be interminable." "There can be no difference in abstract truth that doesn't express

itself in a difference in concrete fact." Metaphysical disputes are settled by considering the practical (i.e., observable) difference which it would make to the

individual if one or the other alternative were true. "The true is the name of whatever proves itself to be good in the way of belief." "Truth happens to an idea;

it becomes true, is made true by events." Regarding his theory of reality: Reality consists in many "reals" as experienced in a loosely related ("strung along") rather

than rigidly structured ("blocked out") universe; it is a "pluriverse." These reals include a "real God" and relate to each other externally as a part of the "process of

becoming." Reality (including God) is "unfinished," "in the making." Consciousness is not an entity but a function in experience. "That function is knowing."

Theological and philosophical biography English dict.      Английский словарь богословской и философской биографии .