Name: John Holladay
152 Western Philosophy Study Questions
William James "What Pragmatism Means"
1. Explain the squirrel example. What is it supposed to illustrate? What does James mean by metaphysics in this context?
2. Explain Charles Peirce's definition of belief. Give an example of what it would take for beliefs to differ.
3. How is the pragmatic method related to meaningfulness? What is James' test for meaningfulness?
4. How would the adoption of the pragmatic method change philosophy?
5. Does the pragmatic method involve any philosophical conclusions? Explain. How is it related to nominalism, utilitarianism, and positivism?
6. What is the pragmatic theory of truth? When does an idea agree with reality? Compare James' view of truth with that of the intellectualists.
7. Under what circumstances are subjective grounds relevant? Absolute grounds?
8. Using James definition of the pragmatic method, create your own examples of a) a dispute in which it makes no pragmatic difference if one side or the other is right, and b) a dispute in which there is a real pragmatic difference if one side or the other is right.