Advocating the Devil II

“The history of philosophy is to a great extent that of a certain clash of human temperaments.”

These are the words of the father of American psychology and philosophy, William James, who’s insight and clarity I have found matched by very few thinkers. He described the “dilemma in philosophy” as a polarity in the way temperaments manifest themselves in the personalities of people, while calling out the broad brush that a simplification like this necessitates and recognizing the nuanced ways the modes can manifest in individuals. He saw a difference between the “tender-minded” and “tough-minded”, which carries shades of many of the philosophical polarities we introduced in the previous chapter. He saw that the former are often rationalists and idealists, while the latter were often empiricists and realists (with a physicalist bent). The “tender-minded” are more likely to be religious and believe in free will, while the “tough-minded” are more likely to be skeptical and deterministic.

RSA ANIMATE Video: The Divided Brain

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