William James’s Conception of Reality: Found, Not Manufactured

International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (2):207-218 (2003)
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Abstract

Richard Rorty places William James in the same category of thinkers as Hegel. These thinkers, he claims, do not believe that philosophical discussion involves any reference to a reality external to their dialogue. Rorty’s claim initially seems justified, for Jamesdoes after all speak of the malleability of reality and insists that reality is part of experience. However, the fact that reality is part of experience does not necessarily mean that it is created by experience. Indeed, James insists that the reality that limits truth is “found, not manufactured,” and the flexibility of truth cannot be attributed to the lack of an external reality but rather results from the interplay of thought and reality in determining truth

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