Montague, William Pepperell

Montague, William Pepperell

(1873–1953) philosopher; born in Chelsea, Mass. A longtime teacher at Barnard College and Columbia University (1903–47), he was one of the "new realists" to coauthor a famous 1912 article expounding an alternative to the idealism then dominant in philosophy. He gave important lecture series and chaired American delegations to international philosophical meetings; his works include The Ways of Knowing (1925).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Montague, William Pepperell


Born Nov. 24, 1873, in Chelsea, Mass.; died Aug. 1, 1953, in New York. American idealist philosopher and representative of the new realist movement.

In 1920, Montague became a professor at Columbia University. He was one of the authors of the new realist manifesto (1910) and of the collection The New Realism (1912). Montague later sought to synthesize new realism and personalism. In the 1930’s he was an adherent of religious realism. Toward the end of his life, his views tended toward Thomism. Claiming to have achieved a synthesis of idealism and materialism, Montague called this synthesis animistic materialism, or hylopsychism. Montague regarded matter and the psyche as two different forms of energy; he considered matter as the mechanical system of kinetic energy and thought as the hierarchical system of potential energy concentrated in the brain. Montague supported the theory of emergent evolution, which he interpreted mechanistically as the appearance of a new quality as the result of the constant increase of one factor of development compared to others.


The Ways of Knowing. London [1925].
Belief Unbound. New Haven-London [1940].
The Illusion of Nominalism, [no place] 1948.
Great Visions of Philosophy. La Salle, 1950.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.