According to William James's Pragmatism what do the truth and justification of a belief consist?

Essay by hot_dranUniversity, Bachelor'sA, December 2003

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'The true,' to put it very briefly, is only the expedient in the way of our thinking, just as 'the right' is only the expedient in the way of our behaving. Expedient in almost any fashion; and expedient in the long run and on the whole of course; for what meets expediently all the experience in sight won't necessarily meet all farther experiences equally satisfactorily. Experience, as we know, has ways of boiling over, and making us correct our present formulas. - William James, Pragmatism pg 100.

There are five main "theories of truth": the correspondence theory, the coherence theory, and the pragmatic, redundancy and semantic theories. They all deal with truth and falsity as properties of what people say or think. At the same time they are confusing and difficult to follow as they do not distinctly address the questions - "How should the content of what we say or think be specified? What are the bearers of truth?" Pragmatic theory, one of the main representatives of which is William James, holds that the truth of a belief is a matter of whether it "works," i.e.

whether acting upon it pays off just like the experiences we have are matter of coherence with future experiences. Above quoted is one of the many similar theories of William James and his concept of truth. This essay is about the concept of truth and justification from a pragmatist's point of view and what elements of truth and justification go and build up the belief or ideas of an individual by taking help from William James's "Pragmatism" edited by Bruce Kuklick. In Pragmatism, James establishes the legitimacy of a pragmatist conception of truth already expressed by Schiller and Dewey. James also shows the mistake in the rationalist conception of truth.