Ideas of William James, by Theme

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

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3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 2. Defining Truth
You can only define a statement that something is 'true' by referring to its functional possibilities
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 9. Rejecting Truth
Truth is just a name for verification-processes
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 3. Correspondence Truth critique
In many cases there is no obvious way in which ideas can agree with their object
3. Truth / D. Coherence Truth / 1. Coherence Truth
Ideas are true in so far as they co-ordinate our experiences
New opinions count as 'true' if they are assimilated to an individual's current beliefs
3. Truth / E. Pragmatic Truth / 1. Pragmatic Truth
True ideas are those we can assimilate, validate, corroborate and verify (and false otherwise)
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 6. Nihilism about Objects
A 'thing' is simply carved out of reality for human purposes
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / e. Substance critique
'Substance' is just a word for groupings and structures in experience
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 5. Aiming at Truth
Truth is a species of good, being whatever proves itself good in the way of belief
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 3. Pragmatism
Pragmatism accepts any hypothesis which has useful consequences
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 2. Aim of Science
Theories are practical tools for progress, not answers to enigmas
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 3. Instrumentalism
True thoughts are just valuable instruments of action
Pragmatism says all theories are instrumental - that is, mental modes of adaptation to reality
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / e. Cause of consciousness
Consciousness is not a stuff, but is explained by the relations between experiences
17. Mind and Body / E. Physicalism / 3. Eliminativism
'Consciousness' is a nonentity, a mere echo of the disappearing 'soul'
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 2. Ontology of Concepts / b. Concepts as abilities
We return to experience with concepts, where they show us differences
23. Ethics / E. Utilitarianism / 4. Unfairness
Imagine millions made happy on condition that one person suffers endless lonely torture
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 3. Divine Perfections
If there is a 'greatest knower', it doesn't follow that they know absolutely everything
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 4. Divine Contradictions
It is hard to grasp a cosmic mind which produces such a mixture of goods and evils
28. God / B. Proving God / 1. Proof of God
If the God hypothesis works well, then it is true
28. God / D. Proofs of Evidence / 3. Teleological Proof critique
The wonderful design of a woodpecker looks diabolical to its victims
Things with parts always have some structure, so they always appear to be designed
28. God / D. Proofs of Evidence / 4. Religious Experience
Private experience is the main evidence for God
29. Religion / D. Spiritual Disciplines / 3. Buddhism
Nirvana means safety from sense experience, and hindus and buddhists are just afraid of life