Module 9

19th and 20th Centuries

This Module is titled 19th and 20th Century. In this module, we were given a few vocabulary terms to define that will be important to this module. The terms that were given are Pragmatic Theory of Truth (William James), Genuine Option (William James), Dialectic or Dialectic Thinking, Overman (Friedrich Nietzsche), Being-in-Itself (Jean-Paul Sartre), Being-for-Itself (Jean-Paul Sartre), and Dasein (Martin Heidegger). One of the terms that I found most important to this Module was Pragmatic Theory of Truth. Pragmatic Theory of Truth is theory of knowledge, which maintains that the truth of a proposition is determined by its practical consequences. This theory relates to pragmatism which merriam-webster defines as an American movement in philosophy founded by C. S. Peirce and William James and marked by the doctrines that the meaning of conceptions is to be sought in their practical bearings, that the function of thought is to guide action, and that truth is preeminently to be tested by the practical consequences of belief.  


This definition leads us to our first section in the Module. Can you guess what it’s titled? If you guessed Pragmatism, you were correct. This section in the module introduces William James (1842-1910) and helps us understand the difference as well as the relationship between pragmatism, empiricism and rationalism. If you can remember from my journal entry on Module 7 – Epistemology, according to runes; empiricism is proposition about the sources of knowledge: that the sole source of knowledge is experience, or that either no knowledge at all or no knowledge with existential reference is possible independently of experience. Rationalism on the other hand is a method, or very broadly, a theory of philosophy, in which the criterion of truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive. According to the Module, William James’ method compares both thinking and action. William James focuses on the beneficial aspect on life. 


Once the module gives us a brief introduction to William James, we move on to the Correspondence Theory of Truth. According to Runes, Correspondence Theory of Truth is the theory that the truth of propositions is determined by the existence of some one-one correspondences between the terms of the proposition and the elements of some fact. Supporters of this view differ as to the nature of the determinate relation by which the alleged correspondence is constituted. In more general epistemology: Theory of knowledge, which maintains that truth attaches to a proposition by virtue of its capacity to represent or portray fact. Based on the example of Correspondence Theory of Truth, given in the Module, I will try to give my own example. In my opinion, an example of Correspondence Theory of Truth could be someone from South Korea having one million U.S dollars with no means to spend it. There is no Internet to make online purchases and there is no way to convert those U.S dollars into South Korean Won. To you, this man is rich. He is in fact a millionaire. However, to him, he is poor. The money that he possesses is useless to him, as he has no means of benefitting from all that money. Another example, which is closer to the one explained in the module could be, you showing someone a picture of a house made of brick. A bulldozer has now demolished what you claimed to be a house because it has been deemed unsafe. It may no longer be considered a house and is more like a pile of bricks. 


Additionally, Existentialism is included in this module. Runes describes Existential Philosophy as determination of the worth of knowledge not in relation to truth but according to its biological value contained in the pure data of consciousness when unaffected by emotions, volitions, and social prejudices. Both the source and the elements of knowledge are sensations, as they “exist” in our consciousness. There is no difference between the external and internal world, as there is no natural phenomenon which could not be examined psychologically, it all has its “existence” in states of the mind. This section of Existentialism discusses Soren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855), a Danish existentialist philosopher who was considered the first of his kind.

This module is important to me because, compared to past module, this one is based on more recent times. I feel, like it is easier to understand the content in the module as I could relate to the ideas more, which makes it important to me. In closing, the module relates to module 7 – epistemology as that module talks about knowledge and truth which could helps us better understand the ideas in this module. I also feel that it relates to module 7 because the ideas explained in module 7 are compared to the ideas in this module.



Runes, D. D. (1942). Dictionary of Philosophy.

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