Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Lewis & Clark College

James and the Will to Believe

Added on by jay odenbaugh.

James writes, 

The thesis I defend is, briefly stated, this: 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.

Given this claim, he argues religious belief can be reasonable. What is his argument? Is his argument sound? 

 

Young William James

Young William James