Clifford's principle and James's options

Social Epistemology 20 (1):19 – 33 (2006)
In this paper I discuss William J. Clifford's principle, "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence" and an objection to it based on William James's contention that "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." I argue that on one central way of understanding the key terms, there are no genuine options that cannot be decided on intellectual grounds. I also argue that there is another way to understand the terms so that there are cases of the sort James describes, but then, as an objection to Clifford, the argument is needlessly complex, invoking concepts such as genuine options and intellectual undecidability, that play no crucial role.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/02691720600631645
 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: 23,674
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
Roderick M. Chisholm (1966). Theory of Knowledge. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,Prentice-Hall.
William James (1896). The Will to Believe. New York, Longmans, Green and Co..

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
John Zeis (2013). Holding the Faith True. Res Philosophica 90 (2):161-170.
John Zeis (2010). Evidentialism Versus Faith. Social Epistemology 24 (1):1 – 13.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

176 ( #23,047 of 1,903,102 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

12 ( #71,116 of 1,903,102 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

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