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Pascal's Wager: Pragmatic Arguments and Belief in God

Jeff Jordan

Published in print:
2006
Published Online:
January 2007
ISBN:
9780199291328
eISBN:
9780191710698
Item type:
book
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291328.001.0001
Subject:
Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion

What if there is no strong evidence that God exists? Is belief in God when faced with a lack of evidence illegitimate and improper? Evidentialism answers yes. According to Evidentialism, it is ... More


Introduction: Towards an Acceptable Fideism

John Bishop

in Believing by Faith: An Essay in the Epistemology and Ethics of Religious Belief

Published in print:
2007
Published Online:
May 2007
ISBN:
9780199205547
eISBN:
9780191709432
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199205547.003.0001
Subject:
Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion

The question whether religious beliefs can be justifiable is typically taken to be about whether they can be epistemically justified, and hence, justified on the evidence. Fideism holds that ... More


Faith as Doxastic Venture

John Bishop

in Believing by Faith: An Essay in the Epistemology and Ethics of Religious Belief

Published in print:
2007
Published Online:
May 2007
ISBN:
9780199205547
eISBN:
9780191709432
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199205547.003.0005
Subject:
Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion

This chapter sets out a model of (theistic) faith as doxastic venture — understood, not as believing ‘at will’, but rather as taking a proposition to be true in one's practical reasoning while ... More


James, Clifford, and the Scientific Conscience

David A. Hollinger

in After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Protestant Liberalism in Modern American History

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
October 2017
ISBN:
9780691158426
eISBN:
9781400845996
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:
10.23943/princeton/9780691158426.003.0005
Subject:
History, American History: early to 18th Century

This chapter presents a comparative reading of W. K. Clifford's 1877 treatise, “The Ethics of Belief,” and William James' 1897 essay, “The Will to Believe.” It provides an interpretation of each in ... More


Introduction

Robert J. O'Connell

in William James on the Courage to Believe

Published in print:
1997
Published Online:
May 2019
ISBN:
9780823217274
eISBN:
9780823284962
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:
10.5422/fordham/9780823217274.003.0001
Subject:
Philosophy, American Philosophy

This introductory chapter discusses how William James' “The Will to Believe” has stimulated adverse criticisms, some of them fierce, as well as equally impassioned essays in defense. Philosophers ... More


Pascal's Wagers and James's Will to Believe

Jeffrey J. Jordan

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion

Published in print:
2005
Published Online:
April 2005
ISBN:
9780195138092
eISBN:
9780199835348
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/0195138090.003.0008
Subject:
Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion

Pragmatic arguments seek to justify the performance of an action by appealing to the benefits that may follow from that action. Pascal’s wager, for instance, argues that one should inculcate belief ... More


A Pragmatist's Progress: The Varieties of James's Strategies for Defending Religion

Kitcher Philip

in Preludes to Pragmatism: Toward a Reconstruction of Philosophy

Published in print:
2012
Published Online:
January 2013
ISBN:
9780199899555
eISBN:
9780199980154
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199899555.003.0011
Subject:
Philosophy, General

This chapter scrutinizes James's evolving attempts to reconcile religion and science. Although James is sometimes modest in aiming to preserve a form of religion independent of claims about ... More


The Right and Duty to Will to Believe

Peter Kauber

in Pragmatism with Purpose: Selected Writings

Published in print:
2015
Published Online:
January 2016
ISBN:
9780823264322
eISBN:
9780823266777
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:
10.5422/fordham/9780823264322.003.0001
Subject:
Philosophy, American Philosophy

This chapter examines the right and duty to will to believe, with particular emphasis on William James's work to show how a more robust ethics of belief is possible. At various points in the ... More


Into the Past: A Brief Foreword

Nicholas Freeman

in 1895: Drama, Disaster and Disgrace in Late Victorian Britain

Published in print:
2011
Published Online:
March 2012
ISBN:
9780748640560
eISBN:
9780748651399
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:
10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640560.003.0011
Subject:
History, British and Irish Early Modern History

This chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to serve as a subjective composite of a year that took millions of subtly distinct forms even as clocks and calendars divided it into the ... More


William James, Dickinson Miller, and C. J. Ducasse on the Ethics of Belief

Edward H. Madden

in Pragmatism with Purpose: Selected Writings

Published in print:
2015
Published Online:
January 2016
ISBN:
9780823264322
eISBN:
9780823266777
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:
10.5422/fordham/9780823264322.003.0002
Subject:
Philosophy, American Philosophy

This chapter examines the views of Dickinson Miller and C. J. Ducasse on William James's ethics of belief. In American philosophy, few papers have generated as much discussion as James's essay “The ... More


Outcomes and Over-beliefs

Robert J. O'Connell

in William James on the Courage to Believe

Published in print:
1997
Published Online:
May 2019
ISBN:
9780823217274
eISBN:
9780823284962
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:
10.5422/fordham/9780823217274.003.0006
Subject:
Philosophy, American Philosophy

This chapter explains how both critics and defenders share a number of assumptions about how William James' central thesis should be understood. They regularly suppose that the validity of his ... More


Dramatic Possibilities

Krister Dylan Knapp

in William James: Psychical Research and the Challenge of Modernity

Published in print:
2017
Published Online:
September 2017
ISBN:
9781469631240
eISBN:
9781469631264
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:
10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631240.003.0006
Subject:
Religion, Religious Studies

Chapter five traces James's role as an investigator of mental mediums purporting to communicate messages from the dead through automatic writing and trance speech. It examines the numerous mediums he ... More


The Spiritual Life and the Justification of Religious Belief

Mark R. Wynn

in Renewing the Senses: A Study of the Philosophy and Theology of the Spiritual Life

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
May 2013
ISBN:
9780199669981
eISBN:
9780191744297
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669981.003.0004
Subject:
Religion, Theology, Philosophy of Religion

For the most part, this text is not concerned with questions of justification. But these questions are, of course, central to current debate in the philosophy of religion, and this chapter considers ... More


Pragmatic Self-Deception

Aaron Z. Zimmerman

in Belief: A Pragmatic Picture

Published in print:
2018
Published Online:
May 2018
ISBN:
9780198809517
eISBN:
9780191846854
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/oso/9780198809517.003.0006
Subject:
Philosophy, Metaphysics/Epistemology

To conclude the discussion, the author turns to James’s defense of the will to believe. Philosophers have tended to focus on the normative question of whether it is ever OK to adopt beliefs for ... More


Round Kant or through Him?: On James’s Arguments for Freedom, and their Relation to Kant’s

Robert Stern

in Kantian Ethics: Value, Agency, and Obligation

Published in print:
2015
Published Online:
November 2015
ISBN:
9780198722298
eISBN:
9780191789113
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198722298.003.0013
Subject:
Philosophy, Moral Philosophy

This chapter argues that while William James claimed it is best to go ‘round Kant’ rather than ‘through him’, a consideration of James’s arguments against determinism display a clear Kantian ... More


Stuttering Conviction

Alexander Livingston

in Damn Great Empires!: William James and the Politics of Pragmatism

Published in print:
2016
Published Online:
September 2016
ISBN:
9780190237158
eISBN:
9780190237189
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190237158.003.0005
Subject:
Political Science, Political Theory, American Politics

Against criticisms that pragmatism’s antifoundationalism cannot account for political convictions without collapsing into a form of decisionism, this chapter examines James’s oration on Robert Gould ... More


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