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Williams James gave these lectures when aged around 66, just two years before he died. They are a remarkably franked and earnest account of what he believed and how he saw philosophical enquiry. The ... Read full review
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Page 321 - Everything you can think of, however vast or inclusive, has on the pluralistic view a genuinely 'external' environment of some sort or amount. Things are 'with' one another in many ways, but nothing includes everything, or dominates over everything. The word 'and' trails along after every sentence.
Page 355 - In short, there are two principles which I cannot render consistent, nor is it in my power to renounce either of them, viz. that all our distinct perceptions are distinct existences, and that the mind never perceives any real connexion among distinct existences.
Page 372 - The principle of pure experience is also a methodical postulate. Nothing shall be admitted as fact, it says, except what can be experienced at some definite time by some experient ; and for every feature of fact ever so experienced, a definite place must be found somewhere in the final system of reality. In other words: Everything real must be experienceable somewhere, and every kind of thing experienced must somewhere be real.
Page 299 - I think it may be asserted that there are religious experiences of a specific nature, not deducible by analogy or psychological reasoning from our other sorts of experience. I think that they point with reasonable probability to the continuity of our consciousness with a wider spiritual environment from which the ordinary prudential man (who is the only man that scientific psychology, so called, takes cognizance of) is shut off.
Page 263 - What really exists is not things made but things in the making. Once made, they are dead, and an infinite number of alternative conceptual decompositions can be used in defining them. But put yourself in the making by a stroke of intuitive sympathy...
Page 289 - Every bit of us at every moment is part and parcel of a wider self, it quivers along various radii like the wind-rose on a compass, and the actual in it is continuously one with possibles not yet in our present sight." And just as we are co-conscious with our own momentary margin, may not we ourselves form the margin of some more really central self in things which is co-conscious with the whole of us? May not you and I be confluent in a higher consciousness, and confluently active there, tho we...
Page 290 - As long as one continues talking, intellectualism remains in undisturbed possession of the field. The return to life can't come about by talking. It is an act: to make you return to life, I must set an example for your imitation. I must deafen you to talk, or to the importance of talk, by showing you, as Bergson does, that the concepts we talk with are made for the purposes of practice and not for purposes of insight.
Page 390 - Sustaining, persevering, striving, paying with effort as we go, hanging on, and finally achieving our intention — this is action, this is effectuation in the only shape in which, by a pure experiencephilosophy, the whereabouts of it anywhere can be discussed. Here is creation in its first intention, here is causality at work.
Page 126 - God,' in the religious life of ordinary men, is the name not of the whole of things, heaven forbid, but only of the ideal tendency in things, believed in as a superhuman person who calls us to co-operate in his purposes, and who furthers ours if they are worthy. He works in an external environment, has limits, and has enemies.
Page 126 - When John Mill said that the notion of God's omnipotence must be given up, if God is to be kept as a religious object, he was surely accurately right; yet so prevalent is the lazy monism that idly haunts the region of God's name, that so simple and truthful a saying was generally treated as a paradox: God, it was said, could not be finite. I believe that the only God worthy of the name must be finite, and I shall return to this point in a later lecture.