An edited transcript of the great Harvard philosopher Josiah Royce's last year-long course in metaphysics, given at Harvard in 1915-1916.
“Nowhere else did Royce have an opportunity to explain the relations between his two most ambitious works, The World and the Individual and The Problem of Christianity and to show how they complement each other, the former being the ‘logical’ approach to metaphysics and the latter the ‘social’ approach. In extended discussions aimed at showing the justice done to realism in his idealistic philosophy, Royce responds to the thought of George Santayana, Bertrand Russell, and R. B. Perry and shows in particular that Santayana’s sundering the connections between essence and existence leaves him with an incoherent position that cannot make room for the individual; that Russell’s defining the real in terms of truth makes an appeal to possible experience and this goes beyond present fact; and that Perry’s celebrated ‘ego-centric’ predicament is a superficial presentation of what idealism is supposed to mean and is easily resolved.
“This discussion is new and shows how circumspect Royce was in responding to the realists whom he had so much criticized. At the same time he was trying to show that his own idealism included the truth in realism, but goes beyond it in dealing with certain human questionsthe interpretation of evil, the truth of mysticismthat are ignored by the largely naturalistic outlook of most realists.” John E. Smith, Clark Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Yale University
“This is of central importance to our understanding of the last decade in the extraordinary tradition of classical American philosophy. Quite simply, this book is vintage Royce and a mature presentation of his very important position in the history of philosophy.” John J. McDermott, Texas A&M University
- State University of New York Press
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