William James on Temperament / Bias

Of whatever temperament a professional philosopher is, he tries, when philosophizing, to sink the fact of his temperament. Temperament is no conveniently recognized reason, so he urges impersonal reasons only for his conclusions. Yet his temperament really gives him a stronger bias than any of his more strictly objective premises. It loads the evidence for him one way or the other making it more sentimental or more hard-hearted view of the universe, just as this fact or principle would. He trusts his temperament. Wanting a universe that suits it, he feels men of opposite temper to be out of key with the world’s character, and in his heart considers them incompetent and “not in it”, in the philosophic business even though they may far excel him in dialectic ability.

  • Pg 3, Pragmatism – William James, ISBN 978-0-7607-4996-8
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