Between Epistemology and Metaphysics in William James’s Philosophy

Author: Marcin Kilanowski
Institution: Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun
Year of publication: 2015
Source: Show
Pages: 30-38
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/kie.2015.02.02
PDF: kie/108/kie10802.pdf

William James’s philosophy has been treated as relativistic and sceptical, as a distortion of truth and rationality. In that way a lot of important elements crucial for understanding his philosophy have been overlooked. However, according to James, our cognition is not relativistic, because there is no room in his philosophy for a traditionally understood dichotomy between a knowing subject and a perceived object. We are all plunged into the stream of experience, and it is in it that we can find an overall picture of our world and our reality. We participate in the plurality of phenomena; we are surrounded by the plurality of things. Our world is continuous, and therefore it is continuously in the process of creation. In short, for James, the world is not a subjective construct created by human beings and his epistemology is closely related to his metaphysics to the point at which it is difficult to consider the distinction between the two. To present these crucial aspects of William James’s philosophy in the most meticulous way possible, this essay, will try to clear up doubts concerning James’s concept of Radical Empiricism, truth, and his understanding of pluralism, as well as the categories of synechism and tychism.

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tychizm synechizm radical empiricism pluralism truth

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