William James in Focus: Willing to Believe by William J. Gavin

The Pluralist 9 (3):121-126 (2014)

David W. Rodick
Saint Xavier University
William J. Gavin is a leading authority on the philosophy of William James. For over forty-five years, his work embodies Jamesian virtues of openness, interdisciplinarity, and novelty. His latest book is Jamesian in the best sense.Gavin investigates the “indissoluble marriage” between “radical empiricism” and “the will to believe”—perennial themes in the Jamesian corpus. Starting with an important heuristic distinction between “manifest” and “latent” meanings, Gavin guides the reader through a landscape where objectivity and subjectivity often collide, resulting in powerful experiential implications. Questions concerning belief, will, mortality, and God reflexively fold upon themselves in ways leading to the ..
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