The Dilemma in Philosophy

In his series of lectures delivered in 1906, printed as the book Pragmatism, William James identifies what he describes as the "current dilemma in philosophy."  This dilemma is that while people need and want science and empiricism because they can see the practical results in the modern world and in their lives, they also want and need some type of spiritual life and spiritual experience.  This dilemma had been intensifying throughout the nineteen and twentieth century and James' noted the ascendancy of the scientific and empirical and the retereat of the rational and religious.  Nevertheless James, an ardent empiricist, felt that there was a place for the spiritual which he had documented in Varieties of Religious Experience.  He had shown in that work the "spiritual experience" WORKS to produce personal, social and cultural change.  It was he felt the hubris of some scientific/empirical thinkers who a priori ruled out spiritual experience, that was the nub of the problem.  In Pragmatism he tried to demonstrate that there is no truth with a capital "t," that all conclusions are provisional, and that ideas that work are the best approach to the truth that we have.  The only truth is what in our experience works best.
Premium Drupal Themes by Adaptivethemes