Klein on James on the Will to Believe

Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 5 (1):118-28 (2015)
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This commentary explores the disagreement between Alex Klein and Cheryl Misak about the core insights of American Pragmatism, against a background of agreement. Both take the history of early American pragmatism to be a vital part of the history of analytic philosophy, not a radical break with it. But Misak argues that James seeks to loosen the usual epistemic standards so that religious and scientific belief can both be justified by a unitary set of evidentiary rules, and Klein argues that James’s aim is not primarily to seek a rationale or justification for religious belief. At the heart of the debate is a matter still very much alive in philosophy of science: the nature and status of indispensability arguments or arguments purporting to show that we need to assume some things in order to conduct inquiry.



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Cheryl Misak
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Citations of this work

Idealism, Pragmatism, and the Will to Believe: Charles Renouvier and William James.Jeremy Dunham - 2015 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (4):1-23.
Was William James an Evidentialist?Henry Jackman - 2022 - Southwest Philosophy Review 38 (1):81-90.

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