William James's Relationship Between Belief And Evidence?

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The question of relationship between belief and evidence is important to the development of society today.The concern is what exactly we are to believe when there is no evidence available William James was a leading American psychologist and philosopher in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. James maintains that pure reason is never the final determinant of what we believe(Warren). Does our will to have beliefs come from families , Society , our enviorment or because we have no other choice but to believe in something.We cannot always postpone belief until we have received sufficient evidence of what is in front of us. The question we now must ask is , The Will to believe : Is the will to believe intellectual or unintellectual?

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The first attempts to distinguish between intellectual and unintellectual grounds as objective epistemological categories. The second instead distinguishes between public and private, and subjectively intellectual and unintellectual reasons. However, some questions do not have such a reasonable answer. In these cases, James points out, the only criteria for picking one answer over another is something like an a priori light of reason. These criteria are too subjective to yield universal truths so philosophers who rely on them always come up with conflicting answers. Author Chris Hookway argues that, in appropriate circumstances, it can be rational or appropriate to form or retain beliefs when you possess relatively little, or even no, relevant evidence. Correctness of the belief cannot be settled intellectually. Others concern the practical urgency of settling whether to engage , and the lack of alternative courses of action which do not depend upon this belief.There are two laws, and we can only follow one of them on any specific occasion. James says that we shouldn’t will to believe something where the option is avoidable and trivial. If the risks attached to believing a falsehood are greater than the benefits incurred by believing the truth, either because the risk is very great or because the benefit is very small(James 1897). An unattached …show more content…
I have to disagree with the thoughts that uninterllectual thinking is a source of selfishness towards others. In My opinion I think we may adopt beliefs for unintellectual reasons, like simplicity or the desire for the existence of the divine. Simplicity is just as intellectual a reason for believing something as is empirical evidence. When a choice is made it should only affect the person who is making the decision not all those around that person or involved in the subject.Each individual has a mindset of their own and yes it can be said that others shape the midset of those around them .The second belief I also agree with that a belief adopted for unintellectual reasons could create intellectual reasons for maintaining that belief. This argument differs from the first argument in two ways. First, the evidence is entirely determinate, second, it does not attempt to give a definition of what someone should accept as an intellectual reason. It only points out that we can influence a

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