Practical Life in the Face of Abstract Principles in William James

Keywords: William James, abstract principles, concepts, common points, practical life


In the history of philosophy, philosophers have defined philosophy based on their own perspectives. This situation shows that it is a difficult and meaningless endeavor to put forward an understanding of philosophy that has clear boundaries and is accepted by everyone. However, despite these differences in definitions, there are some common points. Perhaps the most important of these common points is that philosophy is a stance, a positioning activity in the face of truth. In this positioning, William James tried to find the moderate path between the currents of rationalism and empiricism and took a stance based on concrete differences in life. Like the empiricists, he tried to keep people's relations with facts alive, but at the same time, he did not exclude religion by adopting a rationalist attitude. However, James argued that abstract concepts cannot have meaning unless they find their counterpart in life. According to James, a life based only on abstract principles would not be qualified. In this study, I will try reconciling William James’ attitude towards abstract principles with practical life.

How to Cite
İşcan, Ahmet. 2024. “Practical Life in the Face of Abstract Principles in William James”. Entelekya Logico-Metaphysical Review 8 (1), 47-57.