By Michael R. Slater
This ebook deals a brand new interpretation of William James's moral and non secular concept. Michael Slater exhibits that James's notion of morality, or what it ability to guide an ethical and flourishing existence, is in detail tied to his perception of spiritual religion, and argues that James's perspectives on those concerns are useful of our attention. He deals a reassessment of James's 'will to think' or 'right to think' doctrine, his ethical concept, and his ignored ethical arguments for non secular religion. And he argues that James's pragmatic account of faith is predicated on a moral view of the functionality of faith and a realist view of the gadgets of non secular trust and event, and is appropriate along with his better perception of pragmatism. The e-book will entice readers drawn to the heritage of contemporary philosophy, specifically pragmatism, in addition to these drawn to ethical philosophy, faith, and the heritage of rules.
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Extra info for William James on Ethics and Faith
Some options for belief, however – such as the choice whether or not to believe in God – are momentous on account of the consequences of their being true or false. When an option for belief is live, forced, and momentous it qualiﬁes as a genuine option, and on the further condition that it deals with an evidentially inconclusive matter there is nothing unlawful about our passional nature leading us to believe or disbelieve it. This is an epistemic claim, though James also makes the psychological claim that we cannot avoid making up our minds in such cases.
In “The Will to Believe,” this eﬀort centers on what he terms the religious hypothesis (WB, –), a generic and suitably broad formulation of the nature of religious belief which consists of two aﬃrmations: ﬁrst, that “the best things are the more eternal things, the overlapping things, the things in the universe that throw the last stone, so to speak, and say the ﬁnal word” (WB, ), and second, that “we are better oﬀ even now if we believe her ﬁrst aﬃrmation to be true” (WB, ). The unstated object of James’s religious hypothesis, and that which religious persons variously have overbeliefs about, is what James elsewhere calls an unseen order – a supernatural (but not wholly transcendent or extra-empirical) order of reality “in which the riddles of the natural order may be found explained” (WB, ) and in relation to which we ﬁnd our supreme good (VRE, ).
For Gale’s arguments, see The Divided Self of William James (), pp. –. Practical faith and the will to believe James’s oft-cited thesis in “The Will to Believe” comes in section IV: 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; for to say, under such circumstances, “Do not decide, but leave the question open,” is itself a passional decision – just like deciding yes or no – and is attended with the same risk of losing the truth.
William James on Ethics and Faith by Michael R. Slater