The Meaning of Truth (Google eBook)

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Cosimo, Inc., Nov 1, 2008 - Philosophy - 324 pages
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Why is real-world experience vital to a mature appreciation of any philosophical system? Why is the search for objective truth a trickier proposition than it seems at first glance? American psychologist and philosopher WILLIAM JAMES (1842 1910), brother of novelist Henry James, was a groundbreaking researcher at Harvard University, author of such works as Principles of Psychology (1890) and The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (1902), and one of the most influential academics of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Here, in a series of essays first published in book form in 1909, and considered a sequel to his series of lectures collected in Pragmatism (also available from Cosimo), James explores these questions as he discusses: the function of cognition humanism and truth the relation between knower and known the essence of humanism the meaning of the word truth the absolute and strenuous life and more."
  

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User Review  - OwenFosterThomas - LibraryThing

I bought it. It is a set of reprints where he attempts to counter his critics by simple repeat of his previously published arguments. Did he not believe that his critics had read his publications ... Read full review

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Contents

THE FUNCTION OF COGNITION
1
THE TIGERS IN INDIA
43
HUMANISM AND TRUTH
51
THE RELATION BETWEEN KNOWER AND KNOWN
102
THE ESSENCE OF HUMANISM
121
A WORD MORE ABOUT TRUTH
136
PROFESSOR PRATT ON TRUTH
162
THE PRAGMATIST ACCOUNT OF TRUTH AND ITS MISUNDERSTANDERS
180
THE MEANING OP THE WORD TRUTH
217
THE EXISTENCE OF JULIUS CĂSAR
221
THE ABSOLUTE AND THE STRENUOUS LIFE
226
PROFESSOR H╔BERT ON PRAGMATISM
230
ABSTRACTIONISM AND RELATIVISMUS
246
TWO ENGLISH CRITICS
272
A DIALOGUE
287
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About the author (2008)

William James, oldest of five children (including Henry James and Alice James) in the extraordinary James family, was born in New York City on January 11, 1842. He has had a far-reaching influence on writers and thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Broadly educated by private tutors and through European travel, James initially studied painting. During the Civil War, however, he turned to medicine and physiology, attended Harvard medical school, and became interested in the workings of the mind. His text, The Principles of Psychology (1890), presents psychology as a science rather than a philosophy and emphasizes the connection between the mind and the body. James believed in free will and the power of the mind to affect events and determine the future. In The Will to Believe (1897) and The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), he explores metaphysical concepts and mystical experiences. He saw truth not as absolute but as relative, depending on the given situation and the forces at work in it. He believed that the universe was not static and orderly but ever-changing and chaotic. His most important work, Pragmatism (1907), examines the practical consequences of behavior and rejects the idealist philosophy of the transcendentalists. This philosophy seems to reinforce the tenets of social Darwinism and the idea of financial success as the justification of the means in a materialistic society; nevertheless, James strove to demonstrate the practical value of ethical behavior. Overall, James's lifelong concern with what he called the "stream of thought" or "stream of consciousness" changed the way writers conceptualize characters and present the relationship between humans, society, and the natural world. He died due to heart failure on August 26, 1910.

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