Date of Award
Rev. Thomas Flynn
In the nineteenth century metaphysics was feared, by most philosophers as an unwarrantable infringement upon the world of phenomena, which they felt was alone capable of being perceived and of being experienced. Phenomenalism was the philosophy of the century. The human intellect was to be restricted to the world of phenomena; metaphysics "qua" metaphysics was only a fabrication. Divergent trends of this phenomenalism naturally developed and eventually found their way into the forms of French positivism, English empiricism, German positivism and neo-criticism, and the pragmatism of the English, Germans, and Americans.
There are numerous reasons why pragmatism is considered in this classification; it limits Itself to sensory experience, restricts being and man to time, and rejects metaphysics in the notion of a science of "ens qua entls." This form of empiricism stretches a new chord in its attitude toward experience. It is concerned with the purposiveness of human activity. "Man goes in the search of the world of phenomena, but his search, his examination in the more elevated plan of their usefulness for mankind."
Evans, Harry, "The Pragmatism Of William James Considered As A Theory Of Knowledge" (1964). Philosophy Undergraduate Theses. 36.