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Ideas of William James, by Text

[American, 1842 - 1910, Born in New York. Brother of the novelist Henry James. Died at Chocorua.]

1882 The Sentiment of Rationality
p.20 p.20 It seems that we feel rational when we detect no irrationality
p.21 p.21 Our greatest pleasure is the economy of reducing chaotic facts to one single fact
p.21 p.21 Understanding by means of causes is useless if they are not reduced to a minimum number
p.22 p.22 We have a passion for knowing the parts of something, rather than the whole
p.23 p.23 A complete system is just a classification of the whole world's ingredients
p.23 p.23 A single explanation must have a single point of view
p.24 p.24 Classification can only ever be for a particular purpose
p.25 p.25 How can the ground of rationality be itself rational?
p.31 p.31 Dogs' curiosity only concerns what will happen next
p.34 p.34 The mind has evolved entirely for practical interests, seen in our reflex actions
p.36 p.36 Early Christianity says God recognises the neglected weak and tender impulses
p.39 p.39 We can't know if the laws of nature are stable, but we must postulate it or assume it
p.40 p.40 Trying to assess probabilities by mere calculation is absurd and impossible
p.40 p.40 Scientific genius extracts more than other people from the same evidence
p.40 p.40 All good philosophers start from a dumb conviction about which truths can be revealed
p.42 p.42 Experimenters assume the theory is true, and stick to it as long as result don't disappoint
p.43 p.43 It is wisdom to believe what you desire, because belief is needed to achieve it
p.44 p.44 Evolution suggests prevailing or survival as a new criterion of right and wrong
1896 The Will to Believe
p.188 p.58 Imagine millions made happy on condition that one person suffers endless lonely torture
1904 Does Consciousness Exist?
Intro p.100 'Consciousness' is a nonentity, a mere echo of the disappearing 'soul'
3 p.110 Consciousness is not a stuff, but is explained by the relations between experiences
1907 The Meaning of the Word "Truth"
p.2 p.250 You can only define a statement that something is 'true' by referring to its functional possibilities
p.299 p.230 If the hypothesis of God is widely successful, it is true
1907 Pragmatism - eight lectures
Lec 2 p.21 Theories are practical tools for progress, not answers to enigmas
Lec 2 p.23 Ideas are true in so far as they co-ordinate our experiences
Lec 2 p.25 New opinions count as 'true' if they are assimilated to an individual's current beliefs
Lec 2 p.30 Truth is a species of good, being whatever proves itself good in the way of belief
Lec 3 p.37 We return to experience with concepts, where they show us differences
Lec 3 p.42 Private experience is the main evidence for God
Lec 3 p.43 The wonderful design of a woodpecker looks diabolical to its victims
Lec 3 p.43 It is hard to grasp a cosmic mind which produces such a mixture of goods and evils
Lec 3 p.44 Things with parts always have some structure, so they always appear to be designed
Lec 4 p.56 If there is a 'greatest knower', it doesn't follow that they know absolutely everything
Lec 4 p.57 'Substance' is just a word for groupings and structures in experience
Lec 5 p.74 Pragmatism says all theories are instrumental - that is, mental modes of adaptation to reality
Lec 6 p.77 True ideas are those we can assimilate, validate, corroborate and verify (and false otherwise)
Lec 6 p.77 In many cases there is no obvious way in which ideas can agree with their object
Lec 6 p.78 True thoughts are just valuable instruments of action
Lec 6 p.84 Truth is just a name for verification-processes
Lec 7 p.98 A 'thing' is simply carved out of reality for human purposes
Lec 8 p.105 Pragmatism accepts any hypothesis which has useful consequences
Lec 8 p.113 Nirvana means safety from sense experience, and hindus and buddhists are just afraid of life
Lec 8 p.115 If the God hypothesis works well, then it is true
1908 The Pragmatist Account of Truth
'Fourth' p.81 We find satisfaction in consistency of all of our beliefs, perceptions and mental connections
'Fourth' p.83 Realities just are, and beliefs are true of them
'Seventh' p.89 Man has an intense natural interest in the consistency of his own thinking