Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 13 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

William James was, by the time of his death in 1910, America's most celebrated psychologist and philosopher. Nevertheless, he is often unfairly portrayed as simply arguing that it is rational for us to believe anything that makes us feel good, since a belief is ‘true’ whenever believing it promotes our interests. However, James is more justly interpreted as attempting to draw out the consequences of a thoroughgoing naturalism about cognition for our understanding of normative notions like truth, goodness, and rationality. James was almost unique in his time in directly facing the problem of finding a place for value in a world that seemed increasingly to demand a naturalistic understanding, and his doing so without giving up on either the naturalism or the value has made his writings of perennial interest.

Keywords: William James, naturalism, cognition, normative notion, rationality, goodness

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.