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The tender minded tend to be idealistic, optimistic and religious, while the tough minded are normally materialist, pessimistic and irreligious.
But this has not weakened religious belief. People need a philosophy that is both empiricist in its adherence to facts yet finds room for religious belief. For James, then, Pragmatism is important because it offers a way of overcoming the dilemma, a way of seeing that, for example, science, morality and religion are not in competition.
To attain perfect clearness in our thoughts of an object, then, we need only consider what conceivable effects of a practical kind the object may involve—what sensations we are to expect from it, and what reactions we must prepare.
This human witness tries to get sight of the squirrel by moving rapidly round the tree, but no matter how fast he goes, the squirrel moves as fast in the opposite direction, and always keeps the tree between himself and the man, so that never a glimpse of him is caught.
The resultant metaphysical problem now is this: Does the man go round the squirrel or not? Pragmatic clarification disambiguates the question, and once that is done, all dispute comes to an end.
So James offers his pragmatism as a technique for clarifying concepts and hypotheses. He proposed that if we do this, metaphysical disputes that appear to be irresoluble will be dissolved.
When philosophers suppose that free will and determinism are in conflict, James responds that once we compare the practical consequences of determinism being true with the practical consequences of our possessing freedom of the will, we find that there is no conflict.
As James admitted, he explained the pragmatic method through examples rather than by giving a detailed analysis of what it involves.
He made no claim to originality: Peirce and James participated in these discussions along with some other philosophers and philosophically inclined lawyers.
As we have already noted, Peirce developed these ideas in his publications from the s. As we shall see there were differences in how they understood the method and in their views of how it was to be applied.
Later thinkers, for example John Dewey and C. Lewis, developed pragmatism further. This was tied to the study of the normative standards we should adopt when carrying out inquiries, when trying to find things out.
Sections 2 and 3 will be concerned, primarily, with pragmatism in the narrow sense. Then, in section 4, we shall explore some of the views that are associated with pragmatism in the wider sense.
The pragmatist maxim As we have seen, the pragmatist maxim is a distinctive rule or method for becoming reflectively clear about the contents of concepts and hypotheses: This raises some questions.
What sort of thing does it recognize as a practical consequence of some theory or claim? Second, what use does such a maxim have?
Why do we need it? And third, what reason is there for thinking that the pragmatist maxim is correct? Consider what effects, which might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have.Faith and Reason.
Traditionally, faith and reason have each been considered to be sources of justification for religious belief. Because both can purportedly serve this same epistemic function, it has been a matter of much interest to philosophers and theologians how the two are related and thus how the rational agent should treat claims derived from either source.
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