William James

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“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”

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“Conceptual knowledge (theory) and direct acquaintance (practice) are complementary; each remedies the other’s defects.”

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“In any effort to describe our experience, we’re compelled to use words and concepts, and this gives rise to the danger of ‘vicious intellectualism’ ― the perennial temptation to confuse reality with the words and concepts we necessarily employ.”

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“Knowledge about life is one thing; meaningful occupation of a place in life, with its dynamic currents passing through your being, is another.”

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“The ‘thickness’ of reality can’t be grasped by means of concepts or conceptualization. We might say that it can be felt but can’t be known conceptually, since there’s a gaping contrast between the richness of life and the poverty of all possible formulas.

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“The distinctiveness and irreducibility of feelings are manifested in the fact that we can feel more than we can name. Thus, namelessness is compatible with existence.”

I’ve come to think of what can be felt as like the real numbers and those feelings that can be named as like the rationals.

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The following final quote is about, rather than by, William James.

“Only in his later years did he feel that he’d ‘broken the edge’ of intellectualism. He unequivocally affirmed that feeling exceeds both conceptualization and verbalization. After all the talking, James tells us, ‘I can only allude or point to the mere that of life, and you by an inner sympathy must fill out the what for yourselves.’” [1]

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Citations

  1. Eugene Fontinell
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