Tagged: William James

William James: The will to believe.

“The Will to Believe”  is a lecture William James gave to the Philosophical Clubs of Yale and Brown Universities. Published in the New World, June, 1896.  It defends, in certain cases, the adoption of a belief without prior evidence of its truth. James wants to defend the rationality of religious faith, even when sufficient evidence of religious truth is lacking. James argues that to some degree, the evidence for whether or not certain beliefs are true, depends upon first adopting those beliefs without evidence. James argues, for instance, that it can be rational to have unsupported faith in one’s own ability to...