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Hegelian Metaphysics$
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Robert Stern

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239108

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239108.001.0001

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James and Bradley on the Limits of Human Understanding

James and Bradley on the Limits of Human Understanding

(p.327) 11 James and Bradley on the Limits of Human Understanding
Hegelian Metaphysics

Robert Stern (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a comparative assessment of the views of William James and F. H. Bradley on the topic of human understanding and its limits. It is argued that while both have a distrust of the conceptual aspects of thought, and so share the view that the human intellect will always fail to gain absolute knowledge, they develop this idea very differently, thanks to the divergence in their respective philosophical outlooks: whereas Bradley developed it in the context of a post-Hegelian intellectualist rationalism, James did so in the context of his pragmatic humanism. The nature of the dispute between James and Bradley on this issue is explored, as an important turning point in the philosophical ‘Weltbild’ of the 20th century.

Keywords:   William James, F. H. Bradley, Hegel, pragmatism, rationalism, thought, limits of understanding, Weltbild

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