A few puzzles about William James' theory of truth | Hu | Kriterion: Revista de Filosofia

A few puzzles about William James' theory of truth

Xingming Hu


William James makes several major claims about truth: (i) truth means agreement with reality independent of the knower, (ii) truth is made by human beings, (iii) truth can be verified, and (iv) truth is necessarily good. These claims give rise to a few puzzles: (i) and (ii) seem to contradict each other, and each of (ii), (iii), and (iv) has counter-intuitive implications. I argue that Richard Gale’s interpretation of James’ theory of truth is inadequate in dealing with these puzzles. I propose an alternative interpretation and show how it can solve these puzzles.

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