SAAP Annual Meeting 2015

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The Passional Nature and The Will to Believe

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Advocates of William James’ The Will to Believe tend to agree that a more appropriate title for the paper would have been The Right to Believe. In this paper, I argue that the right to believe thesis fails to capture James’ full view. James’ primary thesis is not an epistemic argument but an existential argument, which I argue is captured by the title The Will to Believe. In making this case, I will inquire into what James means by ‘our passional nature’, a concept that has received little investigation. I distinguish three components of the passional nature, which each inform a separate philosophical argument.


James Southworth    
University of Western Ontario


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