Confusing labels for inherent qualities

In the case of “wealth” we all see the fallacy. We know that wealth is but a name for concrete processes that certain men’s lives play a part in, and not a natural excellence found in Messrs. Rockefeller and Carnegie, but not in the rest of us.

Like wealth, health also lives in rebus. It is a name for processes, as digestion, circulation, sleep, etc, that go on happily, tho in this instance we are more inclined to think of it as a principle and to say the man digests and sleeps so well because he is so healthy.

With “strength” we are, I think, more rationalistic still, and decidedly inclined to treat it as an excellence preexisting in the man and explanatory of the herculean performances of his muscles.

With “truth” most people go over the border entirely, and treat the rationalistic account as self-evident. But really all these words in th are exactly similar. Truth exists ante rem just as much and as little as the other things do.

  • Pg 97, Pragmatism – William James, ISBN 978-0-7607-4996-8
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