American Philosophy

Josiah Royce

Who was Josiah Royce?

Josiah Royce (1855–1916) is known as an “absolute pragmatist.” He sought to combine German and British absolute idealism with American pragmatism.

Royce was born in Grass Valley, California, which, at the time following the gold rush, was a mining town. His family moved to San Francisco when he was 11 and he graduated from the University of California in 1875; he then received a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1878. Royce also studied at universities in Leipzig and Göttingen, after which he taught English at the University of California for four years.

In 1882, he was invited to join Harvard’s philosophy department, where he eventually became a professor and led a highly acclaimed and distinguished career. Royce’s major publications are The World and the Individual (1899), Sources of Religious Insight (1912), The Problem of Christianity (1913), War and Insurance (1914), The Hope of the Great Community (1916), and Lectures on Modern Idealism (1919). Also available is Royce’s Logical Essays: Collected Logical Essays of Josiah Royce (1951).


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