William Ernest Hocking (August 10, 1873 – June 12, 1966) was an American idealist philosopher at Harvard University. He continued the work of his philosophical teacher Josiah Royce (the founder of American idealism) in revising idealism to integrate and fit into empiricism, naturalism and pragmatism. He said that metaphysics has to make inductions from experience: "That which does not work is not true." His major field of study was the philosophy of religion, but his 22 books included discussions of philosophy and human rights, world politics, freedom of the press, the philosophical psychology of human nature; education; and more. In 1958 he served as president of the Metaphysical Society of America. He led a highly influential study of missions in mainline Protestant churches in 1932. His "Laymen's Inquiry" recommended a greater emphasis on education and social welfare, transfer of power to local groups, less reliance on evangelizing and conversion, and a much more respectful appreciation for local religions.