William James’s Argument for a Finite Theism

  • Jonathan Weidenbaum


As part of his general polemic against monism and idealism, William James advocated a God, or a multitude of gods, as both limited in influence and set off against other forces in the cosmos. It was by championing a deity amenable to a pluralistic and open-ended universe that James sought not only to promote the morally vigorous life, but to do justice to the full texture of human experience. What follows is an exploration and critical analysis of James’s finite theism. After briefly tracing the development of James’s concept of deity throughout his philosophical writings, I concentrate upon, and assess, the complex argument offered in A Pluralistic Universe. Along the way, the relevance of Henry James Sr., Richard Gale, and Alfred North Whitehead is brought into the discussion.


Religious Experience Mystical Experience Finite Theism Actual Occasion Radical Empiricism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Weidenbaum
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Liberal ArtsBerkeley CollegeNew YorkUSA

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