By Josiah Royce
Edited by William Ernest Hocking, Richard Hocking, and Frank Oppenheim

Subjects: Metaphysics
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791438664, 346 pages, August 1998
Hardcover : 9780791438657, 346 pages, August 1998

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


Symbols and Abbreviations

Highpoints of Josiah Royce's Intellectual Development

Analytical Table of Chapters

Part I: The "Social Approach" to Metaphysics

Chapter 1: Introduction: The "Social Approach" to Metaphysics

Chapter 2: The Social Nature of Knowledge: The Theory of Interpretation

Chapter 3: The Social Theory of Truth

Part II: The "Logical Approach" to Metaphysics

Chapter 4: Santayana on "is": His Sharp Distinction between Essence and Existence

Chapter 5: The Relational Form of the Ontological Argument

Chapter 6: Identity and Identification

Chapter 7: Mysticism

Chapter 8: The Third Conception of Being

Chapter 9: The Fourth Conception of Being

Midyear and Final Examinations in Phil. 9, Metaphysics, 1915-1916

Supplementary Essays:

Provenance of the Phil. 9 Course and Present Text of Royce's Last Lectures on Metaphysics, 1915-1916—Frank Oppenheim

Excerpts from "The Ontological Argument in Royce and Others"—William Ernest Hocking



Critical Apparatus

Comments Interjected by the Stenographer, Ralph W. Brown

Selected Glossary of Persons to Whom Royce Refers in His Phil. 9 Course of 1915-1916

Index of Persons

Index of Topics

An edited transcript of the great Harvard philosopher Josiah Royce's last year-long course in metaphysics, given at Harvard in 1915-1916.


This book is an edited transcript of Josiah Royce's last year-long course in metaphysics at Harvard in 1915–1916.

Richard Hocking is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Emory University and son of the late William Ernest Hocking. Frank Oppenheim is Professor of Philosophy at Xavier University. He is the author of Royce's Mature Philosophy of Religion and Royce's Voyage Down Under, and editor of The Reasoning Heart: Towards a North American Theology.


"This book is an outstanding achievement that virtually enables readers today to sit in on Royce's last yearlong course in metaphysics … the main value of this collection is to add to our understanding of Royce's own philosophy in one of its most mature presentations. Hocking and Oppenheim have added an important work to the growing library of Classical American Philosophy. " — Peirce Project Newsletter

"Nowhere else did Royce have an opportunity to explain the relations between his two most ambitious works, The World and the Individual and The Problem of Christianity and to show how they complement each other, the former being the 'logical' approach to metaphysics and the latter the 'social' approach. In extended discussions aimed at showing the justice done to realism in his idealistic philosophy, Royce responds to the thought of George Santayana, Bertrand Russell, and R. B. Perry and shows in particular that Santayana's sundering the connections between essence and existence leaves him with an incoherent position that cannot make room for the individual; that Russell's defining the real in terms of truth makes an appeal to possible experience and this goes beyond present fact; and that Perry's celebrated 'ego-centric' predicament is a superficial presentation of what idealism is supposed to mean and is easily resolved.

"This discussion is new and shows how circumspect Royce was in responding to the realists whom he had so much criticized. At the same time he was trying to show that his own idealism included the truth in realism, but goes beyond it in dealing with certain human questions—the interpretation of evil, the truth of mysticism—that are ignored by the largely naturalistic outlook of most realists. " — John E. Smith, Clark Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Yale University

"This is of central importance to our understanding of the last decade in the extraordinary tradition of classical American philosophy. Quite simply, this book is vintage Royce and a mature presentation of his very important position in the history of philosophy. " — John J. McDermott, Texas A&M University