Ralph Barton Perry

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Perry, Ralph Barton


Born July 3, 1876, in Poultney, Vt., died Jan. 22, 1957, in Cambridge, Mass. American idealist philosopher and representative of new realism.

Perry was a professor at Harvard University from 1913 to 1946. He studied under W. James and later became his biographer. After beginning his philosophical career with a critique of the idealism of J. Royce (1901-02), Perry published Present Philosophical Tendencies (1912), in which he formulated the basic tenets of the new realist theory of knowledge. He was one of the authors of the new realist manifesto (1910) and the anthology The New Realism (1912). In the mid-1920’s he began concentrating on ethical and political problems, viewing values as “functions of interest” (General Theory of Value, 1926, and other works). In his sociopolitical views, Perry was a proponent of bourgeois democracy.


The Thought and Character of William James, vols. 1-2. Boston, 1935.
Puritanism and Democracy. New York, 1944.
Realms of Value: A Critique of Human Civilization. Cambridge, Mass., 1968.


Hill, T. E. Sovremennye teorii poznaniia. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from English.)
Bogomolov, A. S. Burzhuaznaia filosofiia SShA 20 v. Moscow, 1974.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.