On Oct 11, 2016, at 9:14 AM, Mike Palij <m...@nyu.edu> wrote:

> So, what's the source?  William James is often associated with
> the quote in Subject line but, like icebergs and Freud, no sources
> or references are given.  Or did I miss it?  Send me something.

I do not find that exact quote. However, the 5th para. of chapter 14 
(Association) of James’ Principles of Psychology expresses a similar idea: 

The truth must be admitted that thought works under conditions imposed ab 
extra. The great law of habit itself -- that twenty experiences make us recall 
a thing better than one, that long indulgence in error makes right thinking 
almost impossible -- seems to have no essential foundation in reason. The 
business of thought is with truth -- the number of experiences ought to have 
nothing to do with her hold of it; and she ought by right to be able to hug it 
all the closer, after years wasted out of its presence. The contrary 
arrangements seem quite fantastic and arbitrary, but nevertheless are part of 
the very bone and marrow of our minds. Reason is only one out of a thousand 
possibilities in the thinking of each of us. Who can count all the silly 
fancies, the grotesque suppositions, the utterly irrelevant reflections he 
makes in the course of a day? Who can swear that his prejudices and irrational 
beliefs constitute a less bulky part of his mental furniture than his clarified 
opinions? It is true that a presiding arbiter seems to sit aloft in the mind, 
and emphasize the better suggestions into permanence, while it ends by 
droopping out and leaving unrecorded the confusion. But this is all the 
difference. The mode of genesis of the worthy and the worthless seems the same. 
The laws of our actual thinking, of the cogitatum, must account alike for the 
bad and the good materials on which the arbiter has to decide, for wisdom and 
for folly. The laws of the arbiter, of the cogitandum, of what we ought to 
think, are to the former as the [p. 553] laws of ethics are to those of 
history. Who but an Hegelian historian ever pretended that reason in action was 
per se a sufficient explanation of the political changes in Europe? 

Christopher D Green
Department of Psychology
York University
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3
43.773895°, -79.503670°


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