Introduction to PhilosophyNotesThis is not a substitute for coming to class Richard Lee
Philosophy 2003 C 001Copyright © 1999, Richard Lee Spring 1999
 

Self-Verifying Beliefs (James)

"In this case (and it is one of an immense class) the part of wisdom clearly is to believe what one desires; for the belief is one of the indispensable preliminary conditions of the realization of its object. There are then cases where faith creates its own verification. Believe, and you shall be right, for you shall save yourself; doubt, and you shall again be right, for you shall perish. The only difference is that to believe is greatly to your advantage." ("The Sentiment of Rationality")

"The desire for a certain kind of truth here brings about that special truth's existence; and so it is innumerable cases of other sorts. . . . And where faith in a fact can help create the fact, that would be an insane logic which should say that faith running ahead of scientific evidence is the 'lowest kind of immorality' into which a thinking being can fall." ("The Will to Believe" IX)


Richard Lee, rlee@comp.uark.edu, last modified: 18 February 1999