Idealism, Pragmatism, and the Will to Believe: Charles Renouvier and William James


Authors
Jeremy William Dunham
Durham University
Abstract
This article investigates the history of the relation between idealism and pragmatism by examining the importance of the French idealist Charles Renouvier for the development of William James's ‘Will to Believe’. By focusing on French idealism, we obtain a broader understanding of the kinds of idealism on offer in the nineteenth century. First, I show that Renouvier's unique methodological idealism led to distinctively pragmatist doctrines and that his theory of certitude and its connection to freedom is worthy of reconsideration. Second, I argue that the technical vocabulary and main structure of the argument from the ‘Will to Believe’ depend upon Renouvier's idealist theory of knowledge and psychology of belief, and that taking account of this line of influence is of crucial importance for establishing the correct interpretation of James's work
Keywords Idealism  Pragmatism  William James  Charles Renouvier  Belief  Nineteenth-Century French Philosophy
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2014.1002074
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References found in this work BETA

The American Pragmatists.Cheryl Misak - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
Words and Life.Hilary Putnam - 1994 - Harvard University Press.
Words and Life.Hilary Putnam & James Conant - 1994 - Philosophy 70 (273):460-463.
Science, Religion, and “The Will to Believe".Alexander Klein - 2015 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 5 (1):72-117.

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Citations of this work BETA

Practical Grounds for Belief: Kant and James on Religion.Neil W. Williams & Joe Saunders - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):1269-1282.
Will to Truth in the Philosophy of Pragmatism.D. Y. Snitko - 2017 - Anthropological Measurements of Philosophical Research 12:113-120.

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