Quote from William James on Pragmatism

Pragmatism, on the other hand, asks its usual question. “Grant an idea or belief to be true,” it says, “what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone’s actual life? How will the truth be realized? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth’s cash-value in experiential terms?”

The moment pragmatism asks the question, it sees the answer: True ideas are those that we can assimilate, validate, and corroborate and verify. False ideas are those that we cannot. That is the practical difference it makes to us to have true ideas: that , therefore, is the meaning of truth, for it is all that truth is known-as.

This thesis is what I have to defend. The truth of an idea is not a stagnant property inherent in it. Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events. It’s verity is in fact an event, a process: the process namely of its verifying itself, its veri-fication. Its validity is the process of its valid-ation.

Pg 87, Pragmatism – William James, ISBN 978-0-7607-4996-8

William James
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