1.Explain what pragmatists mean by the “cash value” of an idea. Explain what it means to assert that “truth happens.” Give an example, then evaluate.
2.Compare and contrast tough-mindedness with tender-mindedness. What is the significance of this distinction for James’s pragmatism?
3.Analyze the significance of “regret” to James’s assessment of the dilemma of determinism. Do you think that James is correct? Why or why not?
4.What is the dilemma of determinism? How does James deal with it? What do you think of his approach? Explain.
5.Explain what James meant when he claimed that a religious orientation is more effective than a nonreligious one. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Can you think of recent examples supporting the claim that “truth happens to an idea”? Some Protestant churches, for example, have begun revising their policies regarding birth control, abortion, and gay marriage because older beliefs lack “cash value” for many of today’s churchgoers. These churches usually experience a period of soul-searching turmoil, wrestling with the dilemma of holding on to old beliefs or losing touch with their congregations. Can you cite one or two recent examples of truth happening to an idea from current events or from your own situation? (page 438)
Do you find it impossible to doubt that you possess free will–at least sometimes? Is belief in the possibility of free will necessary for your happiness? (page 441)
Discuss your formal and informal education in terms of the preceding passage. Have you been encouraged to adopt a strenuous mood or an easygoing one? Give some specific examples. Do you think James is on the right track? Why or why not? (page 443)
9.What do you think of James’s claim that morbid-minded people have a fuller, more realistic view of things than health-minded ones? How would you classify yourself? Discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of both orientations. (page 446)