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By William James’s Psychological


pragmatism: habit, belief and purposive human behaviour Michael S. Lawlor* Modern institutional economists look to pragmatism for: (1) an evolutionary philosophy of knowledge; and (2) a foundation of a theory of human nature. These two elements are combined in William James, who was both a philosopher of pragmatism and a pioneering experimental psychologist. The author shows first how William James added psychological depth to the pragmatic tradition as it was left by C. S. Peirce, and offers a reconciliation of their respective theories of truth. The second part of the essay explores James’s views on psychology, concentrating on the relation to pragmatic philosophy and the question of habit. The last section compares this to human nature as seen in modern evolutionary biology, in brain science and in the philosophy of rationality in the social sciences

Topics: Key words, William James, Psychology, Institutional economics, Pragmatism
Year: 2004
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