20 June 2010

Josiah Royce

Two brief quotes from my reading in the early pages of THE WORLD AND THE INDIVIDUAL.

1. "You may in these region" [discussions of Being] "either think or not think the truth; but you cannot think the truth without loving it; and the dreariness which men often impute to Metaphysics, is merely the dreariness of not understanding the subject, -- a sort of dreariness for which indeed there is no help except learning to understand. In fact, no one can ever regret seeing ultimate truth. That we shall hereafter find to be, so to speak, one of the immediate implications of our very definition of Being. When people complain of philosophy as a dreary enterprise, they are then merely complaining of their own lack of philosophical insight." (pages 8-9).

2. "The difference between merely seeing your friend, or hearing his voice, and consciously or actively regarding him as your friend, and behaving toward him in a friendly way, is a difference obvious to consciousness, whatever your theory of the sources of mental activity. Now this difference between outer sense impressions, or images derived from such impressions, and active responses to sense impressions, or ideas founded upon such responses, is not merely a difference bvetween what is sometimes called the intellect, and what is called the will. For, as a fact, the intellectual life is as much bound up with our consciousness of our act as is the will." (p. 21).

The first of those points shows the difference between Royce and his mentor/friend, William James. James would have agreed, did agree, with those who thought that metaphysics -- as traditionally practiced and as practiced by Royce -- is a drary business, and he sought to build upon the human intuitions that deem it so.

The second of those points, though, shows the profound influence that the two men had upon one another, for here Royce is insisting on a characteristically Jamesian psychological observation.

No comments:

Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.