What did William James mean when he claimed that the history of philosophy is “to a great extent” a “clash of human temperaments”? Did this mean that philosophers, in his estimation, are bound to represent one or the other type, or orientation, associated with various generalized philosophical positions? Did it mean that philosophers were necessarily, in his terminology, either “tender-minded” or “tough-minded”? And if philosophical arguments are, in fact, expressions of physiological factors, through what means do these factors achieve expression? What, in sum, did James mean to imply when he invoked the concept of “temperament” and used the related notion of categorical “type”? How are we to understand and apply whatever insights he had to offer?

Document Type

Post-print Article

Publication Date

Spring 2020

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2021, The William James Society

Content is intended for personal, noncommercial use only. You may not reproduce, publish, distribute, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, modify, create derivative works from, display, or in any way exploit this material in whole or in part without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The definitive version is available at: William James Studies, Volume 17, Number 1.