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The Pragmatic Theory of Truth

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Philosophy 1020
John Thorp

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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 - false ideas are those that we cannot - therefore for it is all that truth is known-as - truth happens to an idea - it becomes true, is made true by events - its verity is in fact an event, itself, its veri-ficitonal - its validity is the process of its valid-action - the possession of true thoughts means everywhere the possession of invaluable instruments of actions; and that our duty to gain truth, so far from being a blank command from out of the blue, or a "stunt" self-imposed by our intellect, can account for itself by excellent practical reasons - the truth of a state of mind means this function of a leading that is worth while - when a moment in our experience inspires us with a thought that is true, that means that sooner or later we dip by that thought's guidance into the particulars of experience again and make advantageous connation with them - by "realties" or "objects" here, we mean either things of common sense, sensibly present, or else common-sense relations, such as dates, places, distances, kinds, activities - such simply and fully verified leading are certainly the original and prototypes of the truth-process - experience offers indeed other forms of truth-process, but they are all conceivable as being primary verifications arrested, multiplied or substituted one for another - if truths mean verification process essentially, ought we then to call such unverified truths as this abortive? - where circumstantial evi
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