Teaching James's “The Will to Believe”

Teaching Philosophy 24 (4):325-345 (2001)
Abstract
Many readers have viewed William James's "The Will to Believe" as his most distinctive and resonating lecture. Yet for all the scholarly attention it has received, the complexities of the "pragmatic defence," and the issues it raises concerning evidential and pragmatic reasoning are still often misunderstood. In this paper I explicate a neglected "core" argument tied closely to James's thesis statement, and provide charts and other tools useful in presenting James' lecture in the philosophy classroom. This argument, based on the Ought-Implies-Can principle, is useful for highlighting differences between James's pragmatist and Clifford's evidentialist perspective. I first reconstruct this implicit Ought-Implies-Can argument in modus tollens form, and follow this with a Chart intended to clarify various steps James takes in support of the crucial second premise. My purpose is primarily to explicate this neglected argument in a reconstructed, "bare-bones" fashion for classroom study and evaluation
Keywords William James  The Will to Believe  Education  ethics of belief
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,392
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Max Carl Otto (ed.) (1942). William James. Madison, the University of Wisconsin Press.
Brian Zamulinski (2002). A Re-Evaluation of Clifford and His Critics. Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (3):437-457.
Graham Bird (1986). William James. Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-01-09

Total downloads

54 ( #30,112 of 1,102,930 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #36,687 of 1,102,930 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.