American Philosophy

Josiah Royce

What were some of Josiah Royce’s metaphysical ideas?

Royce’s metaphysical system was intended to solve the problems posed by a religious worldview. He believed that what exists is a totality of everything that is known, so that the nature of Being can be understood by understanding how it comes to be known. Although knowledge starts with data from the senses, to arrive at the idea of a public object, as well as a past and future, transcendence is necessary. Transcendental judgment is not isolated, but part of a system of judgments. Such a system can account for error as a failure to define an object. An idea is a purpose that seeks an object, but the object in turn clarifies the original idea. The infinite is real, because the Absolute, which is One, represents itself along with everything else that mirrors it.


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