Milton Konvitz American Ideals Lectures

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Professor Konvitz asserts that insofar as they believe there are limits to intelligence, to logic, and to the scientific method, Emerson and James agree. James, on the other hand, rejects the concept of an absolute deity, be it God or the Over-Soul, as irrational, since a perfect, omniscient governor of the universe presupposes a perfect world and does not explain evil or allow for human choice or history. For James, God is a superhuman person who is finite but calls for humanity to cooperate in his purposes. If you agree with God’s purposes and follow the commandments, you can bring about God’s purposes. Although there are no guarantees, as long as there is the possibility of improving the world, life is justified. Professor Konvitz compares James’ view of God to the biblical view. Professor Konvitz’s last lecture on James and his remarks on conclusion of the semester are unavailable.

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