When William James spoke about belief to the philosophy clubs of Yale and Brown in 1896, he forewarned his audience of the nature of his comments by describing them as a “sermon on justification by faith” (James 13), titling the talk “The Will to Believe.” Although there is disagreement about the substance of James’s remarks, it is fairly innocuous to assert that James thought they were appropriate because of the prevalence of the “logical spirit” of many (...) of those who practiced academic philosophy that led them to the conclusion that religious faith was untenable. Aware of his audience, James presents his view on the permissibility of religious faith on the terms and grounds familiar to professional philosophers. .. (shrink)
John L. Austin believed that in the illocution he had discovered a fundamental element of our speech, the understanding of which would disclose the significance of all kinds of linguistic action: not only proposing marriage and finding guilt, but also stating, reporting, conjecturing, and all the rest of the things men can do linguistically. 2 We claim that the illocution, the full-fledged speech-act, is central to religious utterances as well, and that it provides a perspicuity in understanding them not elsewhere (...) provided in the work of recent philosophy of religion. In particular we hold that understanding religious talk through the illocution shows the way in which the representative and affective elements are connected to one another and to the utterance as a whole. There may, further, be features in such an analysis which can be extended to other forms of discourse than religious. (shrink)
Gibson distinguishes among the properties of environmental things their affordances, which he identifies in terms of that which a thing offers an animal for good or ill. In large part, this article considers his conception of environmental affordances and visually perceiving them, with special attention to the concept of affordance that he exercises in the presentation of his conception. Particular emphasis is placed here on the distinction between the affordance properties of things themselves, and what it is that these things (...) afford an animal, what they enable owing to those properties, and the proposal that the affordances of environmental things are not experiential; they are not properties of the perceptual experiences produced in the process of perceiving them. This does not deny that experiences themselves too possess affordance properties — for example, they are such as to enable specific behaviors — but these affordances are not that which is perceived, according to Gibson, when engaged in the activity of straightforward perceiving. The stream of perceptual experience that is part and product of the latter activity is at all points outwardly directed, not directed upon itself. (shrink)
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 .. (shrink)
We all ‘know’ that public opinion came to prominence in the political vocabulary of the late eighteenth century. It may be that this dates its rise a bit late, but it is not relevant to argue the matter here. My concern is rather that we be equally aware of the purposes for which people made use of the concept. Here I wish to consider various possible contexts for speaking or writing of public opinion, or ‘opinion’, as it was usually called (...) prior to the mid-eighteenth century. It may be possible to define, more fully than heretofore, the work that the expression did in eighteenth-century thought. As contemporary students of public opinion have been learning, an answer to this question may not even be wholly irrelevant to the task of specifying the nature of public opinion in our own time. (shrink)
Discusses reflective seeing in the context of the works of J. J. Gibson (published 1963–79) and E. Husserl (published 1960–83). Topics discussed include (1) naive-realistic seeing, (2) the nature of visual experiences, (3) the relation of reflective seeing to naive-realistic seeing, and (4) levels of consciousness with reference to reflective seeing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).