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This I Believe Beginning in 1951, radio pioneer Edward R. Murrow asked Americans from all walks of life to write essays about their most fundamental and closely held beliefs. Half a century later ...

This Believe Essays

For example, if you are crossing a road, and a car is racing toward you, you may need to act quicklyeither continue across or return to the side from which you camebut you do that you have made the correct choice in order to act. As most voters embrace faith as a mode of belief formation, they inevitably elect people who say what the voters wish to hear, yet do what is not in the public interest. I am all the while, however, so profoundly convinced that my own position is correct, that your invitation has seemed to me a good occasion to make my statements more clear.

Let us take the latter facts up first. Faith is prejudicea judgment or opinion formed before the facts are known. Balfour gives the name of authority to all those influences, born of the intellectual climate, that make hypotheses possible or impossible for us, alive or dead.

I can, though i must begin by setting up some technical distinctions that will help us in the end. We see in this country many people whose faith in their various forms of christianity forces them to reject any form of evolutionary theory. But because it is not enough to say, it is wrong to believe on unworthy evidence, without saying also what evidence is worthy, we shall now go on to inquire under what circumstances it is lawful to believe on the testimony of others and then, further, we shall inquire more generally when and why we may believe that which goes beyond our own experience, or even beyond the experience of mankind.

James remarks (omitted in the quote above) about many beliefs not being an act of will or volition seem quite correctalong with his remarks about the influence of sentiments in some cases see sections ii & iii, p. If death ends all, we cannot meet death better. Central africa tells his tribe that a certain powerful medicine in his tent will be propitiated if they kill their cattle, and that the tribe believe him.

Manufacturers of bad products also benefit from people having beliefs without evidence, and must therefore encourage, or at least keep quiet in a culture that favors faith, for the sake of company profits. James seems to have forgotten some of his own remarks contained earlier in his essay, such as italics added logic which should say that faith running ahead of scientific evidence is the lowest kind of immorality into which a thinking being can fall. Is it possible to believe that a system which has succeeded so well is really founded upon a delusion?  Not only have individual saints found joy and peace in believing, and verified those spiritual experiences which are promised to the faithful, but nations also have been raised from savagery or barbarism to a higher social state.

Indeed, such an objection would amount to stating that james, had he understood its implications, would reject his own thesis. It will also be of no use to object that to say that one who believes something for which no evidence could possibly be obtained, either for or against, is to say that one believes nonsense, for that would mean that james thesis only justifies belief in nonsense. All of the essays wereaddressed to the citizens of the state of new york. I must first indulge in a bit more of preliminary work. First, it may be observed that james confuses actions and beliefs.

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This Believe Essays

The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy ...
The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy, and Human Immortality [William James] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The work of William James contributed greatly to the burgeoning fields of psychology, particularly in the areas of education
This Believe Essays Our faith is faith in some one elses faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case. It leaves us bare and powerless where we thought that we were safe and strong. I cannot do so for this plain reason, that a rule of thinking which would absolutely prevent me from acknowledging certain kinds of truth if those kinds of truth were really there, would be an irrational rule. I confess i do not see how this logic can be escaped. If we are to discuss the question at all, it must involve a living option. The desire for a certain kind of truth here brings about that special truths existence and so it is in innumerable cases of other sorts. Their sincere convictions, instead of being honestly earned by patient inquiring, were stolen by listening to the voice of prejudice and passion, A concern for the truth gives an interest in evidence, lest one should lose that which one loves, and let ones belief fall upon some unworthy object.
  • The Will to Believe : and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy ...

    Daddy, let me out! Emanating from their apartment. It is also clear that it is beneficial to society as a whole, for, not only would there be an improvement in politics, there would also be fewer people ready to deceive, for there would be fewer gullible people ready to be cheated. However, it is clear that they do affect actions. If there were only one prophet, indeed, it might well seem a difficult and even an ungracious task to decide upon what points we would trust him, and on what we would doubt his authority seeing what help and furtherance all men have gained in all ages from those who saw more clearly, who felt more strongly, and who sought the truth with more single heart than their weaker brethren. Trotter, the modern library, 1941, section xiv, no.

    If this were the position that james were defendingthat we may have faith whenever we wishit would not have been necessary for him to introduce his distinctions regarding a genuine option. Truth, will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than christianity, and end in loving himself better than all. The inquisitors were simply acting upon their faithas, indeed, all who have faith act upon it. Central africa tells his tribe that a certain powerful medicine in his tent will be propitiated if they kill their cattle, and that the tribe believe him. The inconceivability of the opposite the capacity to be verified by sense the possession of complete organic unity or self-relation, realized when a thing is its own other,are standards which, in turn, have been used.

    James statements about the distinction between knowing the truth and avoiding error are another matter there are two ways of looking at our duty in the matter of opinion, ways entirely different, and yet ways about whose difference the theory of knowledge seems hitherto to have shown very little concern. William james the will to believe is based upon the first edition of , longmans, green and co. At any rate, it seems the fittest thing for the empiricist philosopher. James claim that one can measure ones belief by ones actions indeed, how else could one?  Also, if beliefs did not affect actions, it would seem to be wholly insignificant what anyone believed. A whole train of passengers (individually brave enough) will be looted by a few highwaymen, simply because the latter can count on one another, while each passenger fears that if he makes a movement of resistance, he will be shot before any one else backs him up. Would such a result, the outcome of what james apparently regards as a noble faith, be better than the loss of a few possessions?  Eventually, perhaps, train robbing would no longer even be attempted if all passengers behaved in such a manner. Scribners sons, 1962), p 231-234, and also as a critique of the will to believe in 5the following excerpt from a letter of by clifford to lady pollock, with an editors remarks, printed in cliffords         to-morrow we go by a spanish boat to almeira, and thence by diligence or another boat to malaga. Evidently, then, our non-intellectual nature does influence our convictions. The state of things is evidently far from simple and pure insight and logic, whatever they might do ideally, are not the only things that really do produce our creeds. The second half is the method of investigation how to measure these quantities, what instruments are required for the experiment, and how are they to be used?  The student who begins to learn about electricity is not asked to believe in ohms law  he is made to understand the question, he is placed before the apparatus, and he is taught to verify it.

    The Will to Believe : and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy - Kindle edition by William James. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.


    About the Text of the printed book. The text of William Kingdon Clifford’s “The Ethics of Belief” is based upon the first edition of Lectures and Essays, Macmillan and Co., 1879, edited by Leslie Stephen and Frederick Pollock.
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    You, on the other hand, may think that the risk of being in error is a very small matter when compared with the blessings of real knowledge, and be ready to be duped many times in your investigation rather than postpone indefinitely the chance of guessing true. By setting a bad example to others, we encourage them to like errors, so that, even if it were possible to act on ones faith no more than by a statement here and there, the effects upon society will be incalculable. Our experience is that manuscripts exist which are said to be and which call themselves manuscripts of the history of thucydides that in other manuscripts, stated to be by later historians, he is described as living during the time of the war and that books, supposed to date from the revival of learning, tell us how these manuscripts had been preserved and were then acquired Buy now This Believe Essays

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    Huxley belabors the bishops because there is no use for sacerdotalism in his scheme of life. The postulate that there is truth, and that it is the destiny of our minds to attain it, we are deliberately resolving to make, though the sceptic will not make it. It is an assumption of uniformity in nature, and can only be checked by comparison with many similar assumptions which we have to make in other such cases. When we stick to it that there truth (be it of either kind), we do so with our whole nature, and resolve to stand or fall by the results. Often, the source of this interest is the desire to believe something for which one has insufficient evidence.

    To sum up  it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence This Believe Essays Buy now

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    It is only truth as technically verified that interests her. Not having the belief that you like me does not entail having the belief that you do not like me one may have no belief about it at all, or, in other words, be an agnostic with respect to that question. Throughout the breadth of physical nature facts are what they are quite independently of us, and seldom is there any such hurry about them that the risks of being duped by believing a premature theory need be faced. To avoid accusations of misrepresentation, it will be well to consider the matter in james words to anything that may be proposed to our belief and just as the electricians speak of live and dead wires, let us speak of any hypothesis as either         it will facilitate our discussion if we keep all these distinctions well in mind Buy This Believe Essays at a discount

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    There are two ways of looking at our duty in the matter of opinion,ways entirely different, and yet ways about whose difference the theory of knowledge seems hitherto to have shown very little concern. If, on the other hand, people made wise choices in the purchase of manufactured (and other) goods, the companies that persisted in making bad products would lose money and eventually go out of business (unless, of course, they also made worthwhile products, but then they would only profit from their good products, so that they would be motivated to make the good and not the bad products). It is known to medical observers that solitude and want of food are powerful means of producing delusion and of fostering a tendency to mental disease Buy Online This Believe Essays

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    It is only too possible for a child to grow up in london surrounded by an atmosphere of beliefs fit only for the savage, which have in our own time been founded in fraud and propagated by credulity. The buddha says that there is no god, and that we shall be annihilated by and by if we are good enough. Balfour gives the name of authority to all those influences, born of the intellectual climate, that make hypotheses possible or impossible for us, alive or dead. There is this,there is that there is indeed nothing which some one has not thought absolutely true, while his neighbor deemed it absolutely false and not an absolutist among them seems ever to have considered that the trouble may all the time be essential, and that the intellect, even with truth directly in its grasp, may have no infallible signal for knowing whether it be truth or no Buy This Believe Essays Online at a discount

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    Although it may indeed happen that when we believe the truth         believe truth!  Shun error!these, we see, are two materially different laws and by choosing between them we may end by coloring differently our whole intellectual life. The reason for this is clear from the above remarksone must reject all conflicting faiths if one is to embrace a particular faith. When i was in graduate school, a fellow student stated, with apparent sincerity, that he believed that the inquisition was good. Much of its activity is hidden and shrouded in mystery, though it clearly pressures individuals within the church to comply with its demands. No matter what the child does, thenor what it looks likeone cannot tell whether it is lucifer or not This Believe Essays For Sale

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    They believe so completely in an anti-christian order of the universe that there is no living option  christianity is a dead hypothesis from the start. He knew that she was old, and not over-well built at the first that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs. When i look at the religious question as it really puts itself to concrete men, and when i think of all the possibilities which both practically and theoretically it involves, then this command that we shall put a stopper on our heart, instincts, and courage, and till doomsday, or till such time as our intellect and senses working together may have raked in evidence enough,this command, i say, seems to me the queerest idol ever manufactured in the philosophic cave For Sale This Believe Essays

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    We might know about ones beliefs by ones actions, but ones beliefs are distinct from ones actions. No simplicity of mind, no obscurity of station, can escape the universal duty of questioning all that we believe. And secondly, and more importantly, how could one tell if someone got hurt?  After all, if the couple had burned lucifer, then they did not harm a little girl at all. If we decide to leave the riddles unanswered, that is a choice if we waver in our answer, that, too, is a choice  but whatever choice we make, we make it at our peril. This is why we ought not to do evil that good may come for at any rate this great evil has come, that we have done evil and are made wicked thereby Sale This Believe Essays







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