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Idealism of Josiah Royce Informed by The Criticism of George Holmes

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In the abstract of this article, we are made to understand that the idealism of Josiah Royce is informed by the criticism of George Holmes. The free and independent selves are featured in the absolute idealism as reflected by Josiah Royce. His facts and views were presented in a supplementary essay that was found in his first volume known as “The Conception of God” and in a second volume found in his Gifford Lectures. It is also important to point out that the individuation of the self by Josiah Royce is based on ethical tasks. Besides, the Divine Will by Gottlieb Fichte is what is used for the purpose of referencing the entire text written by Josiah.

However, Josiah does not at all mention anyway in his article that he borrowed some of his work from Fichte as many would have expected. It might be that he did not feel it necessary to acknowledge Fichte’s work. Nevertheless, his facts are based on insights by Fichte and also the knowledge that he gathered from the supervision that he tendered for Anna Boynton Thompson. For these reasons, the differences were so clear during the Philosophical Union at the University of California at Berkeley.

It is at this event that Holmes criticized Josiah of the inadequacy in the treatment of the individual and personalist strictures. The two had very varied opinions on even the simplest ideas or concepts, as long as it was not their own work. This led to a situation whereby the daily newspaper termed the encounter as the “Battle of The Giants”. While Josiah demanded respected from the previous scholars on the same topic, Fichte was able to put it clear that all the accomplishments by Josiah were only a buildup of his ideas.

When we look at both of accounts on individuation, we note that Royce and Fichte have very varied ideas. Howison had to reprint the pamphlet done by Royce because he did not agree with him entirely. He did so by offering responses of criticism. According to Royce, there are three entities that make up an individuals; will, ideas together with their thoughts and experiences. This perhaps is the reason why every person is different and there is no way two people can have the same individuation. Royce goes on to indicate in his accounts that our personhood depends not only on our divine plan but also depends on God’s presence in our being.

When we look at Fichte’s account on individuation of the self, we found that most of the ideas mentioned by Josiah are part and parcel of the original work, specifically on “The Conception of God” and “The World and The Individual”. In this account by Fichte, we note the various differences they have for instance in the definition of human consciousness. Royce views consciousness as a part of a larger entity that makes up the Divine Mind. On the other hand, does not see or view God being a part of our consciousness.

It is very important to note that “We Should Never Meet” is a collection of short stories that in one way or another identify with “Failed” reciprocity. Despite experiencing moments of sensitivity and connection, Phan’s characters in these tangled stories are mostly damaged souls, struggling to reconcile the past with the present, often in self-destructive actions. These stories interconnect the lives of eight characters which span across three decades and into two continents. All the short stories are inspired by Operation Baby lift.

Operation Baby lift was experienced during the Vietnam’s war where there was militarized evacuation and transitional adoption. During the war, thousands of babies were born and abandoned. Operation Baby lift sent these children to various countries, but mostly to the United States. By the final American flight out of South Vietnam, over 3,300 infants and children had been evacuated, although the actual number has been variously reported by many sources. The stories focus on young adopted and refugee orphans who moved into the Orange County. The stories are also characterized with intimacy, communication, kinship together with emotions.

Some of Phan’s ideas are very questionable because of their ability to disintegrate and dislocate the good will of the individuals who find themselves in the refugee and orphan bracket. She also focuses on the ethical realism in her narration. Phan has also managed to bring up her characters in a manner in which they transition from being desperate to assimilated. The Vietnam War, according to Phan brought about lots of trauma to the individuals who might have participated directly or indirectly in the war. The Vietnam war, as bloody as any other wars, took away more than two million lives, in which many of them were civilians. Repetitive compulsion is one of the symptoms that is associated with the war.

It is very easy to notice the extent in which Phan uses very selective and important styles of writing in her short stories. A good example is the suspense that is seen in the story “Emancipation”. One of the boat refugees known as Mai arrives home and gets a letter from a college she had applied for. The white envelope is stashed together with her birthday presents. The events take place during her eighteenth birthday.

Instead of opening the envelope and reading it, she instead switches off the light and goes to sleep. The reader at this point is left on suspense. We are left with many questions in regarding the contents of the letter. Generally, all the stories have their own specific meaning. Each of the characters must deal with some type of loss. Some are luckier than others, but all are marked by the scars of their past. Phan also tries to make us aware of the struggles that may arise if and when such wars come and what we should expect along the way.

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Idealism of Josiah Royce Informed by the Criticism of George Holmes. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
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