.Every dilemma based on a complete logical disjunction, with no possibility of not choosing, is an option of this forced kind. Indeed we may wait if we will, --I hope you do not think that I am denying that, --but if we do so, we do so at our peril as much as if we believed. We must know the truth; and we must avoid error—these are our first and great commandments as would-be knowers; but they are not two ways of stating an identical commandment, they are two separable laws. We feel, too, as if the appeal of religion to us were made to our own active good-will, as if evidence might be forever withheld from us unless we met the hypothesis half-way. What might have been gained in human knowledge, if - say - Galois, Abel, Clifford and Ramsey had lived to be 60! Not where it comes from but what it leads to is to decide. James' main defense of his theory of truth is his claim that no other account of "truth" or "correspondence" or "agreement with reality" can be given except for the pragmatist account. He disagrees about the approach of Clifford and the skeptics -- holding back belief until the evidence has come in.
Now, to most of us religion comes in a still further way that makes a veto on our active faith even more illogical. And James thinks that under these circumstances, each of us is free to follow our passional natures and to believe whatever we would like to believe. Then again, few will claim that is a rational belief, even though all may admit to having had such a belief that usually had to be qualified somewhat, often by learning more of the beloved's real properties.
It seems only, as far as James is concerned, because the eager convert to be feels his choice is forced and momentous and live - which are all no good reasons to believe something, but at most only to be interested in something, rationally speaking. What might have been gained in human knowledge, if - say - Galois, Abel, Clifford and Ramsey had lived to be 60! Objection 2 warrants further discussion over "voluntarism". Also, this is a pragmatic sort of justification - "increases one's chances on successfully acting to realize some of one's desires" - that ought to be based on rational probabilities, and also may be easily abused, without proper care, e. Scepticism, then, is not avoidance of option; it is option of a certain particular kind of risk.
You may remain indifferent to me, neither loving nor hating, and you may decline to offer any judgment as to my theory.
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. Besides, if one survives, it may be others have to pick up the medical bills. What must we do? Also, it should be mentioned here that James does not at all discuss in his essay that to believe what one knows has no good evidence for may cause one to do things that are quite dangerous to others and to one's self: If one acts on the basis of false beliefs, chances are one will cause someone some harm.
As I made clear, I think, I completely disagree with James, as it seems to me that he argues that one may believe what one knows to be very unlikely, on the mere ground that one would personally be pleased if the hypothesis were true. It is not intellect against all passions, then; it is only intellect with one passion laying down its law. For his own part, he says, there are worse things in the world than being a dupe.
So suppose that you are involved in an important political struggle like the civil rights movement and you know from hard experience that struggles of this sort succeed only if people have faith that they can and will succeed, no matter what the objective evidence says. Here James considers and largely agrees with the criticism of Pascal's Wager that we either should not or are unable to believe or disbelieve at will. We call anything that is proposed for our belief an hypothesis, and any question about which of two hypotheses to accept an option. Introductory comments.
They are measured by his willingness to act. It does allow us to use "degree of belief" to refer to strength of belief, and "degree of rational belief" here also named "degree of probability" for the strength of belief if measured in terms of known evidence and rational measures for strengths of belief, as articulated by the axioms and theorems of the calculus of probabilities. Finally, an option is momentous if a great deal hangs on how you choose, and especially if the opportunity is fleeting.
Third, one main reason James does this is that he - in effect: he is not as blunt as I am - wants to insist one may adopt religious hypothesis that are quite incredible provided one finds them interesting: James is in fact argueing that in cases of religious beliefs wishful thinking is allowed and indeed may be desirable. That duty is to guard ourselves from such beliefs as from a pestilence which may shortly master our own body and then spread to the rest of the town Although it may indeed happen that when we believe the truth A, we escape as an incidental consequence from believing the falsehood B, it hardly ever happens that by merely disbelieving B we necessarily believe A. Again, there may be good reasons for the belief, but confusing one's mere degree of belief with one's probability, also in case 3 , will probably lead to more mistakes - if indeed the theory is right, or more probably so than not. Science - real science, not pseudoscience, of which there also is a lot - is the only kind of human belief that is based on the desire to find the truth about parts or all of reality by logical reasoning and experimental testing of hypotheses.
These are questions with which all must deal as it seems good to them. Were we scholastic absolutists, there might be more excuse. He is actively playing his stake as much as the believer is; he is backing the field against the religious hypothesis, just as the believer is backing the religious hypothesis against the field. For Clifford, the moral crime lies in the negligence and in the creation of risk, not in the bad consequences themselves. You can easily avoid it by not going out at all.