The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy
THE WILL TO BELIEVE
AND OTHER ESSAYS IN
BY WILLIAM JAMES
LONGMANS GREEN AND CO
NEW YORK LONDON AND BOMBAY
By William James..
First Edition, February, 1897
Reprinted, May, 1897
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U.S.A.
My Old Friend,
CHARLES SAUNDERS PEIRCE,
To whose philosophic comradeship in old times
and to whose writings in more recent years
I owe more incitement and help than
I can express or repay.
- Hypotheses and options, 1. Pascal's wager, 5. Clifford's veto, 8. Psychological causes of belief, 9. Thesis of the Essay, 11. Empiricism and absolutism, 12. Objective certitude and its unattainability, 13. Two different sorts of risks in believing, 17. Some risk unavoidable, 19. Faith may bring forth its own verification, 22. Logical conditions of religious belief, 25.
- Temperamental Optimism and Pessimism, 33. How reconcile with life one bent on suicide? 38. Religious melancholy and its cure, 39. Decay of Natural Theology, 43. Instinctive antidotes to pessimism, 46. Religion involves belief in an unseen extension of the world, 51. Scientific positivism, 52. Doubt actuates conduct as much as belief does, 54. To deny certain faiths is logically absurd, for they make their objects true, 56. Conclusion, 61.
- Rationality means fluent thinking, 63. Simplification, 65. Clearness, 66. Their antagonism, 66. Inadequacy of the abstract, 68. The thought of nonentity, 71. Mysticism, 74. Pure theory cannot banish wonder, 75. The passage to practice may restore the feeling of rationality, 75. Familiarity and expectancy, 76. 'Substance,' 80. A rational world must appear congruous with our powers, 82. But these differ from man to man, 88. Faith is one of them, 90. Inseparable from doubt, 95. May verify itself, 96. Its rôle in ethics, 98. Optimism and pessimism, 101. Is this a moral universe?—what does the problem mean? 103. Anæsthesia versus energy, 107. Active assumption necessary, 107. Conclusion, 110.
- Prestige of Physiology, 112. Plan of neural action, 113. God the mind's adequate object, 116. Contrast between world as perceived and as conceived, 118. God, 120. The mind's three departments, 123. Science due to a subjective demand, 129. Theism a mean between two extremes, 134. Gnosticism, 137. No intellection except for practical ends, 140. Conclusion, 142.
- Philosophies seek a rational world, 146. Determinism and Indeterminism defined, 149. Both are postulates of rationality, 152. Objections to chance considered, 153. Determinism involves pessimism, 159. Escape via Subjectivism, 164. Subjectivism leads to corruption, 170. A world with chance in it is morally the less irrational alternative, 176. Chance not incompatible with an ultimate Providence, 180.
- The moral philosopher postulates a unified system, 185. Origin of moral judgments, 185. Goods and ills are created by judgments, 189. Obligations are created by demands, 192. The conflict of ideals, 198. Its solution, 205. Impossibility of an abstract system of Ethics, 208. The easy-going and the strenuous mood, 211. Connection between Ethics and Religion, 212.
- Solidarity of causes in the world, 216. The human mind abstracts in order to explain, 219. Different cycles of operation in Nature, 220. Darwin's distinction between causes that produce and causes that preserve a variation, 221. Physiological causes produce, the environment only adopts or preserves, great men, 225. When adopted they become social ferments, 226. Messrs. Spencer and Allen criticised, 232. Messrs. Wallace and Gryzanowski quoted, 239. The laws of history, 244. Mental evolution, 245. Analogy between original ideas and Darwin's accidental variations, 247. Criticism of Spencer's views, 251.
- Small differences may be important, 256. Individual differences are important because they are the causes of social change, 259. Hero-worship justified, 261.
- The world appears as a pluralism, 264. Elements of unity in the pluralism, 268. Hegel's excessive claims, 272. He makes of negation a bond of union, 273. The principle of totality, 277. Monism and pluralism, 279. The fallacy of accident in Hegel, 280. The good and the bad infinite, 284. Negation, 286. Conclusion, 292.—Note on the Anæsthetic revelation, 294.
- The unclassified residuum, 299. The Society for Psychical Research and its history, 303. Thought-transference, 308. Gurney's work, 309. The census of hallucinations, 312. Mediumship, 313. The 'subliminal self,' 315. 'Science' and her counter-presumptions, 317. The scientific character of Mr. Myers's work, 320. The mechanical-impersonal view of life versus the personal-romantic view, 324.