William James on the courage to believe
William James's celebrated lecture on "The Will to Believe" has kindled spirited controversy since the day it was delivered. In this lively reappraisal of that controversy, Father O'Connell contributes some fresh contentions: that James's argument should be viewed against his indebtedness to Pascal and Renouvier; that it works primarily to validate our "over-beliefs"; and most surprising perhaps, that James envisages our "passional nature" as intervening, not after, but before and throughout, our intellectual weighting of the evidence for belief. For this second edition, Father O'Connell has added extensively to sharpen his arguments: that James's "deontological streak" saves him from "wishful thinking" and weaves together the attitudes of right, readiness, willingness, and will to believe, and that "willing faith" lends "the facts" their aura of believability.
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active admits Alpinist ambiguity appeal arguing attitude believe called character claim conclusion contention create the facts Davis decide decision deontological streak Dooley Dooley's Ducasse earlier empiricism epistemological essay eudaemonism eudaemonistic evidence evils feel fideism friendship genuine option God's existence heart Hick Hick's hope human illustrations implies intellectual issues James's argument James's lecture Jamesian John Hick kind of faith L. T. Hobhouse later live logic Madden matter meaning melioristic ment metaphor mind monism monist moral mood moral universe objective outcome over-beliefs Pascal Pascal's Wager passional nature passional side Pensees Perry philosophical pluralistic popular lectures Pragmatism precursive influence proposition question reason refers religion Religious Experience religious hypothesis risk sense sort speak strenuous mood suggest temperament theism theistic hypothesis thesis things thinkers thought tion true truth universe verification vision volitional voluntaristic W. K. Clifford weltanschaulich Wernham William James wishful thinking