The Will to Believe: And Other Essays in Popular Philosophy

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Longmans, Green, 1896 - Faith - 332 pages
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Review: The Will to Believe, Human Immortality, and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy

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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  - 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

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Popular passages

Page 152 - 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 162 - 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 76 - 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 231 - 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 64 - 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 217 - 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 215 - He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha ; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains and the shouting.
Page 165 - 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 46 - 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 20 - I speak, of course, here of the purely judging mind. For purposes of discovery such indifference is to be less highly recommended, and science would be far less advanced than she is if the passionate desires of individuals to get their own faiths confirmed had been kept out of the game.

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