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

Front Cover
Cosimo, Inc., Sep 1, 2006 - Philosophy - 332 pages
0 Reviews
Here, in one volume, are the collected essays of influential American philosopher WILLIAM JAMES (1842-1910), whose justifications of religious faith and explorations of questions of morality made him one of the most popular thinkers of the 19th century. In this volume, first published in book form in 1897, James ponders such conundrums as... . Is life worth living? . The sentiment of rationality . The dilemma of determinism . The moral philosopher and the moral life . Great men and their environment . The importance of individuals . What psychical research has accomplished . and more.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

I
1
II
32
III
63
IV
111
V
145
VI
184
VII
216
VIII
255
IX
263
X
299
XI
329
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 11 - Our passional nature not only lawfully may, but must, decide an option between propositions, -whenever it is a genuine option that cannot by its nature be decided on intellectual grounds; for to say, under such circumstances, "Do not decide, but leave the question open...
Page 19 - And now, after all this introduction, let us go straight at our question. I have said, and now repeat it, that not only as a matter of fact do we find our passional nature influencing us in our opinions, but that there are some options between opinions in which this influence must be regarded both as an inevitable and as a lawful determinant of our choice.

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2006)

William James, oldest of five children (including Henry James and Alice James) in the extraordinary James family, was born in New York City on January 11, 1842. He has had a far-reaching influence on writers and thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Broadly educated by private tutors and through European travel, James initially studied painting. During the Civil War, however, he turned to medicine and physiology, attended Harvard medical school, and became interested in the workings of the mind. His text, The Principles of Psychology (1890), presents psychology as a science rather than a philosophy and emphasizes the connection between the mind and the body. James believed in free will and the power of the mind to affect events and determine the future. In The Will to Believe (1897) and The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), he explores metaphysical concepts and mystical experiences. He saw truth not as absolute but as relative, depending on the given situation and the forces at work in it. He believed that the universe was not static and orderly but ever-changing and chaotic. His most important work, Pragmatism (1907), examines the practical consequences of behavior and rejects the idealist philosophy of the transcendentalists. This philosophy seems to reinforce the tenets of social Darwinism and the idea of financial success as the justification of the means in a materialistic society; nevertheless, James strove to demonstrate the practical value of ethical behavior. Overall, James's lifelong concern with what he called the "stream of thought" or "stream of consciousness" changed the way writers conceptualize characters and present the relationship between humans, society, and the natural world. He died due to heart failure on August 26, 1910.

Bibliographic information