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William James The Will to Believe Review Notes

by: D'Angel Brooks

William James The Will to Believe Review Notes Phil 2010

Marketplace > Georgia State University > Phil 2010 > William James The Will to Believe Review Notes
D'Angel Brooks

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About this Document

These notes are just a review of William James' The Will to Believe .
Introduction to Philosophy
Dr. Edward Cox
Class Notes
Evidence, insufficient, sufficient
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This 1 page Class Notes was uploaded by D'Angel Brooks on Saturday September 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Phil 2010 at Georgia State University taught by Dr. Edward Cox in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views.


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Date Created: 09/24/16
William James, The Will to Believe James believes that for most of out beliefs, we lack sufficient evidence and that it is impossible/impractical to acquire that evidence.  It is sometimes acceptable to believe without sufficient evidence if the belief is pragmatically valuable and choice is unavoidable.  Sufficient evidence is not always available when choice is necessary James critiques W.K. Clifford  By requiring sufficient evidence so that we avoid false beliefs, Clifford rules out too many true beliefs.  Most beliefs are not based on evidence; it is impossible or impractical to base all beliefs. James' Examples of Rational BIES  Scientific beliefs  Philosophical beliefs  Moral beliefs  Interpersonal beliefs  Social beliefs  Political beliefs Rational BIE – we should believe with insufficient evidence if (but only if) live, momentous, forced, beneficial Critiques of James' Criteria – benefit of belief depends on its truth, rationality independent of benefit/harm, evidential basis for beliefs always beneficial in the long-run.


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