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The problem of this study was to determine if William James‘s philosophy of Pragmatism offers the possibility for discovering meaning in life for the person who unexplainably suffers depression and melancholia, and a religious explana­tion for the evolutionary scientific person who suffers a religious-scientific crisis.

The methods used were to examine William James’s lectures, letters, and books, and research the literature for his interpretation of Pragmatism as a philosophy. The procedure analyzed the possibilities James offered for finding meaning in life, with or without religion, by using the Pragmatic Theory of truth. This involved a consideration of James's belief that to think was to act so that an idea became a plan of action having meaning, and his empirical method based on the concrete way of seeing resulting in experiential evidence.

The results of the inquiry are that James's Pragmatism, using the Pragmatic Theory of Truth as method, is based on free will, tychism, pluralism, and belief in a finite God which offers promise to the individual in a future oriented world. According to James, repletion and abundance may be responsible for unexplainable depression and melancholia, and for this condition he offers the Humanist option of working for an unhabitual ideal, and belief in a doctrine of meliorism.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Paul F. Schmidt

Second Committee Member

Melbourne Griffith Evans

Third Committee Member

Brian Edgar O'Neil



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