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William James' perspectives of truth and reality.

1) In your words, what is James' theory of truth? Using James' theory, assess the truth of the statement "the world is flat" for a traveler in the 5th century.

James uses the words "truth" in the same way that most of us use the word "useful" today. Essentially he taught that if a belief was useful or if it "worked" then it was true. If I believe that my car is a reliable safe car and I have never had an accident in it and it gets me to work on time without breaking down, then that belief is true. If I believe my kids are good kids because they meet my standard of "good" then my belief about them is true. In a very real sense James' theory of truth is tied to the interaction of an individual with the world around him. Truth cannot be discovered by meditating on an unsolved question. Truth can only be discovered by living life and trying out my ideas in the real world. One consequence of James' theory is that truth is a very individualistic concept. Universal, absolute truth would be very hard to come by if not impossible.

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1) In your words, what is James' theory of truth? Using James' theory, assess the truth of the statement "the world is flat" for a traveler in the 5th century.

James uses the words "truth" in the same way that most of us use the word "useful" today. Essentially he taught that if a belief was useful or if it "worked" then it was true. If I believe that my car is a reliable safe car and I have never had an accident in it and it gets me to work on time without breaking down, then that belief is true. If I believe my kids are good kids because they meet my standard of "good" then my belief about them is true. In a very real sense James' theory of truth is tied to the interaction of an individual with the world around him. Truth cannot be discovered by meditating on an unsolved question. Truth can only be discovered by living life and trying out my ideas in the real world. One consequence of James' theory is that truth is a very individualistic concept. Universal, absolute truth would be very hard to ...

Solution Summary

This discussion focuses on the philosopher William James and his perspective on truth and reality. James' theory or once-born and twice-born personalities is also examined. Over 600 words of original text along with links to informative websites for further research.

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