Philosophy in Action: William James & Pragmatism Analysis

Topics: Pragmatism, Charles Sanders Peirce, William James Pages: 4 (1314 words) Published: December 4, 2012
Avneet Multani
Professor Nevens
December 7, 2011

Philosophy in Action: William James & Pragmatism Analysis

Philosophy is defined to be the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge and conduct; it is the art of analyzing and modifying our surroundings from a perspective that includes more than one perspective. Philosophy is a particular field where there cannot be any wrong areas of interpretation as long as it does not deny or contradict the facts of lived experience and does not deny the power of human action to effect changes in the universe. The philosopher to propose this approach is William James. William James is most known for his book “Pragmatism: A New Name for Same Old Ways of Thinking” which just happens to be the first philosophical movement originated in the United States. This book is combination of a series of lectures given by James at various universities; James main focus in his lectures is the concept of Pragmatism which James refers to as a collaborated effort and credits Charles Sanders Peirce for the origin of the term Pragmatism and its leading principle: The Pragmatic Maxim. Pragmatism is a complex notion, it is something you practice. Another way to view it would be to refer to it as a method, more conclusively as The Pragmatic Method. The pragmatic method is primarily a method of settling metaphysical disputes that otherwise might be interminable. Is the world one or many? – fated or free? – material or spiritual? The pragmatic method in such cases is to try to interpret each notion by tracing its respective practical consequences.

James believes “professional philosophy” is caught in the deadlock of two opposing viewpoints which are rationalism and empiricism. And in order to display his points he describes two manifestations of opposing psychological types which are “the tender mind” and the “tough mind”. The tender mind individual is to be spiritual, religious and optimistic...
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