tender and tough-minded

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William James (1842—1910) American philosopher and psychologist

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844—1900) German philosopher


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Distinction drawn by James, who found it illuminating to classify philosophers into one of these two camps (Pragmatism, Ch. 1). The tender-minded are: rationalistic (going by ‘principles’), intellectualistic, idealistic, optimistic, religious, free-willist, monistic, and dogmatical. The tough-minded are: empiricist (going by ‘facts’), sensationalistic, materialistic, pessimistic, irreligious, fatalistic, pluralistic, and sceptical. Like Nietzsche, James believed that even intellectual and rational constructions, such as philosophical systems purport to be, are expressions of individual temperament.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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