Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.



Royce, Josiah (1855–1916)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC065-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 13, 2024, from

Article Summary

Josiah Royce rose from a humble background in the California of the Gold Rush period to become Professor of the History of Philosophy at Harvard University and one of the most influential American philosophers of the so-called ‘period of classical American philosophy’ from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century. He was also (along with F.H. Bradley) one of the two most important English-speaking philosophers of the period who defended philosophical idealism: the doctrine that in some sense or other all things either are minds or else are the contents of minds. Royce remained loyal to his own idealist commitments throughout his life, despite the fact that his friend and Harvard colleague William James was extremely hostile to idealism, and that his intellectual environment was increasingly dominated by the ‘pragmatism’ of which James was an outspoken champion. In later years, however, under the influence of another pragmatist, Charles S. Peirce, Royce gave the themes of his idealist thought a naturalistic social foundation rather than the abstract metaphysical foundation of his earliest writings. Royce’s entire corpus is perhaps best seen as representing a bridge from the German world of Neo-Kantianism and various varieties of philosophical idealism to the American world of pragmatism and of philosophical naturalism.

Citing this article:
Burch, Robert W.. Royce, Josiah (1855–1916), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC065-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

Related Searches


Related Articles