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Josiah Royce

Royce, Josiah, 1855–1916, American philosopher, b. California, grad. Univ. of California, 1873. After studying in Germany and at Johns Hopkins, he returned to California to teach (1878–82). From 1882 until his death he was at Harvard, becoming a professor in 1892. Among his works are The Spirit of Modern Philosophy (1892), The World and the Individual (1900–1901), The Philosophy of Loyalty (1908), and Lectures on Modern Idealism (1919). Royce, thoroughly grounded in history and cognizant of scientific thought, was the foremost American idealist. He held that reality is the life of an absolute mind. We know truth beyond ourselves because we are a part of the logos, or world-mind. Science successfully depends on description, but appreciation must precede description and consequently ideals must be deeper than the mechanism of science. The natural order of the world must be also a moral order. Our ethical obligation is to the moral order and takes the form of loyalty to the great community of all individuals.

See biography by B. Kuklick (1972, repr. 1985); studies by G. Marcel (tr. 1965), P. L. Fuss (1965), T. F. Powell (1967), B. B. Singh (1973), F. M. Oppenheim (1980), and J. Clendenning (1985).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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