The Will to Believe: and other essays in popular philosophy, Human Immortality (Both books bound as one)

The Will to Believe: and other essays in popular philosophy, Human Immortality (Both books bound as one)

by William James

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Overview

The Will to Believe: and other essays in popular philosophy, Human Immortality (Both books bound as one) by William James

This volume contains the complete texts of two books by America's most important psychologist and philosopher. Easy to understand, yet brilliant and penetrating, the books were written specifically for laymen and they are still stimulating reading for readers concerned with important questions of belief in an age of science.
In the essays, under the heading The Will to Believe, James discusses, first, the interrelationships of belief, will, and intellect, examining such questions as: How does man believe? How do intellectual considerations color belief? How much of a role do irrational elements play even in rigorously logical thought? Chance versus determinism, free will versus fate, pluralism versus monism are discussed in succeeding sections. James also covers psychical research, Hegelianism, and Spencer's philosophy.
Human Immortality: Two Supposed Objections to the Doctrine, reprinted here from the corrected second edition, examines the questions of survival after death, and provides an unusual philosophical rebuttal to the theory that thought and personality necessarily die with the brain.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486202914
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 06/01/1956
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 5.45(w) x 8.03(h) x 0.89(d)

Table of Contents

THE WILL TO BELIEVE
  Hypotheses and options
  Pascal's wager
  Clifford's veto
  Psychological causes of belief
  Thesis of the Essay
  Empiricism and absolutism
  Objective certitude and its unattainability
  Two different sorts of risks in believing
  Some risk unavoidable
  Faith may bring forth its own verification
  Logical conditions of religious belief
IS LIFE WORTH LIVING
  Temperamental Optimism and Pessimism
  How reconcile with life one bent on suicide?
  Religious melancholy and its cure
  Decay of Natural Theology
  Instinctive antidotes to pessimism
  Religion involves belief in an unseen extension of the world
  Scientific positivism
  Doubt actuates conduct as much as belief does
  "To deny certain faiths is logically absurd, for they make their objects true"
  Conclusion
THE SENTIMENT OF RATIONALITY
  Rationality means fluent thinking
  Simplification
  Clearness
  Their antagonism
  Inadequacy of the abstract
  The thought of nonentity
  Mysticism
  Pure theory cannot banish wonder
  The passage to practice may restore the feeling of rationality
  Familiarity and expectancy
  Substance'
  A rational world must appear congruous with our powers
  But these differ from man to man
  Faith is one of them
  Inseparable from doubt
  May verify itself
  Its rôle in ethics
  Optimism and pessimism
  Is this a moral universe?? what does the problem mean?
  Anæsthesia versus energy
  Active assumption necessary
  Conclusion
REFLEX ACTION AND THEISM
  Prestige of Physiology
  Plan of neural action
  God the mind's adequate object
  Contrast between world as perceived and as conceived
  God
  The mind's three departments
  Science due to a subjective demand
  Theism a mean between two extremes
  Gnosticism
  No intellection except for practical ends
  Conclusion
THE DILEMMA OF DETERMINISM
  Philosophies seek a rational world
  Determinism and Indeterminism defined
  Both are postulates of rationality
  Objections to chance considered
  Determinism involves pessimism
  Escape via Subjectivism
  Subjectivism leads to corruption
  A world with chance in it is morally the less irrational alternative
  Chance not incompatible with an ultimate Providence
THE MORAL PHILOSOPHER AND THE MORAL LIFE
  The moral philosopher postulates a unified system
  Origin of moral judgments
  Goods and ills are created by judgments
  Obligations are created by demands
  The conflict of ideals
  Its solution
  Impossibility of an abstract system of Ethics
  The easy-going and the strenuous mood
  Connection between Ethics and Religion
GREAT MEN AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT
  Solidarity of causes in the world
  The human mind abstracts in order to explain
  Different cycles of operation in Nature
  Darwin's distinction between causes that preserve a variation
  "Physiological causes produce, the environment only adopts or preserves, great men"
  When adopted they become social ferments
  Messrs. Spencer and Allen criticised
  Messrs. Wallace and Gryzanowski quoted
  The laws of history
  Mental evolution
  Analogy between original ideas and Darwin's accidental variations
  Criticism of Spencer's views
THE IMPORTANCE OF INDIVIDUALS
  Small differences may be important
  Individual differences are important because they are the causes of social change
  Hero-worship justified
ON SOME HEGELISMS
  The world appears as a pluralism
  Elements of unity in the pluralism
  Hegel's excessive claims
  He makes of negation a bond of union
  The principle of totality
  Monism and pluralism
  The fallacy of accident in Hegel
  The good and the bad infinite
  Negation
  Conclusion
  Note on the Anæsthetic revelation
WHAT PSYCHICAL RESEARCH HAS ACCOMPLISHED
  The unclassified residuum
  The Society for Psychical Research and its history
  Thought-transference
  Gurney's work
  The census of hallucinations
  Mediumship
  The 'subliminal self'
  Science' and her counter-presumptions
  The scientific character of Mr. Myer's work
  The mechanical-impersonal view of life versus the personal-romantic view
INDEX

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