Who is Josiah Royce?

Who is Josiah Royce?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Idealistic philosophy, partly due to the influence of English Neo-Hegelianism, and partly to the direct influence of German thought, would garner a great deal of attention among university professors in the United States. Josiah Royce (1855-1916), professor at Harvard University, is a prominent figure of the idealistic school in the United States.

Royce biography: Philosophical Review, vol. XXV, 1916. According to Royce’s teaching, the normal world of experience contains no phenomena that cannot be interpreted in terms of ideas. All reality that we will accept into the world will be an ideal. There is a certain set of ideas that presses upon us through experience. This is a phenomenon that guides our behavior. We call it the material world. But isn’t there anything beyond the relevance in reality to this set of experiences within us? Yes, but this is a system of ideas outside of our minds, not outside of every mind. If my world were to be fully known, it would have to be essentially a mental world. It exists in and for a standard and universal mind. His system of ideas simply sustains the world. I can understand minds because I also have a mind. A being with no mental qualities is completely incomprehensible to me. Whether it’s a transcendent mind or the unknowable, it’s our choice. But nothing that cannot be known absolutely cannot exist; its scope is meaningless. Everything that can be known is an idea, the same idearon scope. If it can be known by a mind, reality is essentially ideal and mental. The real world must be an understanding or a group of minds.

How can I reach these ideas beyond me? In a way, I can never reach beyond my own ideas, it doesn’t matter whether I want it or not, because all these other minds that make up my external and real world are essentially one with myself. The whole world is essentially a world and it is a world of oneself. External reality, known to one as an object, is identical with one’s self. The self “in the sense” of the object is identical with the larger self that the object has. The only thing that is absolutely certain about this world is that it is intellectual, rational, orderly, and intrinsically intelligible. As a result, all his problems are somehow solved, all his obscure mysteries are known to the supreme self. It transcends the consciousness of the individual in terms of thought as its own infinite; for it contains all the finite themselves; has self-reflective information. The natural and spiritual orders, the physical and moral orders, the divine and the human, mortality and freedom, can be reconciled, according to Royce, with Kant’s doctrine of the conformity of transcendental or extra-temporal freedom and the temporal necessity of all our acts.

Royce’s philosophy is widely covered in the historical work Spirit of Modern Philosophy. His more systematic work, The World and Individual, contains a detailed theory applied to the interpretation of the phenomena of man and nature. Partly because of the nature of the problems he is dealing with, Royce puts more emphasis on the volitional and purposive aspect of experience, perhaps in order to circumvent criticisms of exaggeration of mental elements.

Royce presents his ethical theory in his Philosophy of Loyalty. He creates his idealistic worldview based on basic moral principles. Commitment brings commitment. Devotion to a cause brings the greatest amount of allegiance. My reasons must form a system, they must constitute a single cause, a life of attachment: they constitute possible universal attachment. In this case, devotion contains belief in a universal cause, in the highest good, in the highest spiritual value. The principle of devotion is not only a guide to life, but also an explanation of an eternal, all-embracing spiritual unity. Royce presents a moral argument for the existence of God, similar to that presented in Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason.

Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); The Story of Philosophy, Frank Thilly, Projection Publishing