The Will to Believe: And Other Essays in Popular Philosophy (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Longmans, Green, and Company, 1896 - Belief and doubt - 332 pages
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Review: The Will to Believe, Human Immortality, and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy

User Review  - Josh - Goodreads

James' essays, while certainly dated, are thoroughly worth engaging, especially if you're interested in the intersections of philosophy, theology, and science. It's one of those "classics" which, once read, you wonder why you hadn't read before. Read full review

Review: The Will to Believe, Human Immortality, and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy

User Review  - Ollie Austin - Goodreads

'Scepticism, then, is not avoidance of opinion; it is option of a certain particular kind of risk. Better risk loss of truth than chance of error, - that is your faith-vetoer's exact position ... Read full review

Contents

I
1
II
32
III
63
IV
111
V
145
VI
184
VII
216
VIII
255
IX
263
X
299

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 150 - With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man knead, And there of the Last Harvest sowed the Seed: And the first Morning of Creation wrote What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.
Page 160 - Ah Love! could you and I with Him conspire To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire, Would not we shatter it to bits and then Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!
Page 74 - Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth, And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own, And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own, And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers, And that a kelson of the creation is love...
Page 229 - They parted - ne'er to meet again! But never either found another To free the hollow heart from paining They stood aloof, the scars remaining, Like cliffs, which had been rent asunder; A dreary sea now flows between; But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder, Shall wholly do away, I ween, The marks of that which once hath been.
Page 25 - There are, then, cases where a fact cannot come at all unless a preliminary faith exists in its coming. And where faith in a fact can help create the fact, that would be an insane logic which should say that faith running ahead of scientific evidence is the 'lowest kind of immorality' into which a thinking being can fall.
Page 62 - These then are my last words to you: Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
Page 215 - It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it ? neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? but the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
Page 163 - Past utterance and past belief, And past the blasphemy of grief, The mysteries of nature's heart, And though no muse can these impart, Throb thine with nature's throbbing breast, And all is clear from east to west.
Page 44 - Despicable biped ! what is .the sum-total of the worst that lies before thee ? Death ? Well, Death ; and say the pangs of Tophet too, and all that the Devil and Man may, will or can do against thee ! Hast thou not a heart ; canst thou not suffer whatsoever it be ; and, as a Child of Freedom, though outcast, trample Tophet itself under thy feet, while it consumes thee ? Let it come, then ; I will meet it and defy it...
Page 26 - saving remnant' alone.) So proceeding, we see, first, that religion offers itself as a momentous option. We are supposed to gain, even now, by our belief, and to lose by our nonbelief, a certain vital good. Secondly, religion is a forced option, so far as that good goes. We cannot escape the issue by remaining sceptical and waiting for more light, because, although we do avoid error in that way if religion be untrue, we lose the good, if it be true, just as certainly as if we positively choose to...

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