Philosophy 1020 Lecture Notes - Pragmatism, Connation, Rebus

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Introduction to Philosophy
The Pragmatic Theory of Truth #29
28 October 2011
- William James holds that truth is dynamic rather than static and is to be defined in
terms of beliefs that are useful or satisfying
- the truth is in process - still becoming and changing
- yesterday's truth is today's falsehood and today's truth is tomorrow's half-truth
What Pragmatism Means:
- 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?
- here are nations either of which may or may not hold good of the world; and disputed
over such notions are unending
Pragmatism's conception of truth:
- a new theory is attacked as absurd; then it is admitted to be true, but obvious and
insignificant; finally it is seen to be so important that is adversaries claim that they
themselves discovered it
- truth is a property of certain of our ideas
- it means their "agreement," as falsity means their "disagreement," with "reality"
- pragmatists and intellectualists both accept this definition as a matter of course
- how will the truth be realized?
- what experiences will be different from those which wouldn’t obtain if the belief were
false?
- pragmatism asks these questions
- true ideas are those that we can assimilate, validate, corroborate and verify
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Document Summary

William james holds that truth is dynamic rather than static and is to be defined in terms of beliefs that are useful or satisfying. The truth is in process - still becoming and changing. Yesterday"s truth is today"s falsehood and today"s truth is tomorrow"s half-truth. The pragmatic method is primarily a method of settling metaphysical disputes that otherwise might be interminable. Here are nations either of which may or may not hold good of the world; and disputed over such notions are unending. A new theory is attacked as absurd; then it is admitted to be true, but obvious and insignificant; finally it is seen to be so important that is adversaries claim that they themselves discovered it. Truth is a property of certain of our ideas. It means their agreement, as falsity means their disagreement, with reality Pragmatists and intellectualists both accept this definition as a matter of course.

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