Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor S. Najm
The purpose of this dissertation is to defend William James's will to believe doctrine from the main lines of criticism which have been levelled against it throughout the last century. Principal among such criticisms are accusations that James fideistically advocated an intrusion of the subject into doxastic practice which opens the door to wishful thinking, and that he confused belief and hypothesis-adoption. My defense of James against such charges will be based upon analyses of two important but neglected components of his position--the "liveness" of certain options and propositions, and the "strenuous mood"--and upon a contextualization of the role assigned by James to "passional nature" within the terms of reference of his work on immediate experience.
Brown, Hunter, "William James's Will to Believe Revisited" (1996). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2365.