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Lecture by Prof. Harvey Cormier (Stony Brook) on William James and truth

Date: 04/24/13
Time: 4:30-6:00 PM
Audience: Public
Sponsored By: The Philosophy Department, the Office of Academic Affairs, and Campus Auxiliary Services
Location: Lecture Center 108
Contact: Bruce Milem, x2621, milemb@newpaltz.edu

William James (1842-1910) did not really have a theory of truth at all, much less an individualistic one. But then what did he mean to say about truth, and what does it matter? In this talk, Professor Cormier will argue that James's pragmatism is an exercise in giving what James Clerk Maxwell might have called the "particular go" of truth, or a collection of telling details in the observable psychology of human belief and truth-attribution. James tells the story of how and why we believers actually get and hold on to our many truths, and he thus criticizes--by trivializing--all rationalistic definitions of the single abstract quality called truth.

Harvey Cormier is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Stony Brook University. He is the author of The Truth is What Works: William James, Pragmatism, and the Seed of Death (Rowman and Littlefield), as well as numerous articles on James, pragmatism, Nietzsche, and film.