With monism and pluralism, William James applies the pragmatic method and ultimately finds value in both, seeing a unified world of separate but connected parts.

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Abstract: In lecture 4 of his pragmatism series, William James tackles the issue of “the one and the many” which compares monism and pluralism using the pragmatic method. Obviously both monism and pluralism have a long history of debate and specificity, but James chooses to talk about them more generally. He starts by acknowledging the importance of this debate for people and the tendency for us to value monism. When someone comes across a unifying monistic theory of the world, it might be an emotionally powerful experience. He then lists out eight possible consequences that believing in monism can result in: 1. We can talk about the world as a whole 2. There is continuity in terms of space and time 4. Casual unity 5. Genetic unity 6. A unity of human purpose 7. Aesthetic unity (a unity of human history) and 8. The One knower (God or an Absolute).