Josiah Royce

Biography of Josiah Royce

Josiah Royce (November 20, 1855 – September 14, 1916) was an American objective idealist philosopher.

Royce, born in Grass Valley, California on November 20, 1855. He was the son of Josiah and Sarah Eleanor (Bayliss) Royce, whose families were recent English emigrants, and who sought their fortune in the westward movement of the American pioneers in 1849. He received the B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley (which moved from Oakland to Berkeley during his matriculation) in 1875 where he later accepted an instructorship teaching English composition, literature, and rhetoric. After some time in Germany, where he studied with Hermann Lotze, the new Johns Hopkins University awarded him in 1878 one of its first four doctorates, in philosophy. At Johns Hopkins he taught a course on the history of German thought, which was “one of his chief interests” because he was able to give consideration to the philosophy of history. After four years at the University of California, Berkeley, he went to Harvard in 1882 as a sabbatical replacement for William James, who was at once Royce's friend and philosophical antagonist. Royce's position at Harvard was made permanent in 1884 and he remained there until his death, September 14, 1916.

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