Josiah Royce

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Josiah Royce (circa 1910)

Josiah Royce (November 20, 1855September 14, 1916) was an American objective idealist philosopher.


  • Error is not a mere accident of an untrained intellect, but a necessary stage or feature or moment of the expression of the truth.
    • Lectures on Modern Idealism (1919), p. 79
  • We are all aware, if we have ever tried it, how empty and ghostly is a life lived for a long while in absolute solitude. Free me from my fellows, let me alone to work out the salvation of my own glorious self, and surely (so I may fancy) I shall now for the first time show who I am. No, not so; on the contrary I merely show in such a case who I am not. I am no longer friend, brother, companion, co-worker, servant, citizen, father, son; I exist for nobody; and ere-long, perhaps to my surprise, generally to my horror, I discover that I am nobody.
    • Lecture on Hegel
  • “the real world is the Community of Interpretation… If the interpretation is a reality, and if it truly interprets the whole of reality, then the community reaches its goal [i.e., a complete representation of Being], and the real world includes its own interpreter”
    • (Royce 1913) In The Problem of Christianity
  • Human life taken merely as it flows, viewed merely as it passes by in time and is gone, is indeed a lost river of experience that plunges down the mountains of youth and sinks in the deserts of age. Its significance comes solely through its relations to the air and the ocean and the great deeps of universal experience. For by such poor figures I may, in passing, symbolize that really rational relation of our personal experience to universal conscious experience….
    • Royce 1908 Near the end of The Philosophy of Loyalty

Quotes about Royce

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