papalagi (papalagi) wrote,

James, William (1842-1910) Pragmatism, a new name for some old ways of thinking (1907)

Lecture VI: The notion of truth
The most fateful point of difference between being a rationalist and being a pragmatist is now fully in sight. Experience is in mutation, and our psychological ascertainments of truth are in mutation--so much rationalism will allow; but never that either reality itself or truth itself is mutable. Reality stands complete and ready-made from all eternity, rationalism insists, and the agreement of our ideas with it is that unique unanalyzable virtue in them of which she has already told us. As that intrinsic excellence, their truth has nothing to do with our experiences. It adds nothing to the content of experience. It makes no difference to reality itself; it is supervenient, inert, static, a reflexion merely. It doesn't EXIST, it HOLDS or OBTAINS, it belongs to another dimension from that of either facts or fact-relations, belongs, in short, to the epistemological dimension--and with that big word rationalism closes the discussion.
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