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Name:  John Holladay
Title:  Professor of Humanities  /  Room C212.
Office Hours:   Monday/Wednesday/Friday  11-Noon   Tuesday / Thursday 11-Noon


152 Western Philosophy Study Questions

William James

"The Will To Believe"

1.     How does James define "live hypothesis," "dead hypothesis," and "belief"? How are they measured? Give original examples of each.

                    2.     What are the categories of "options"? Define and give original examples of each.

                    3.     How does our will affect the intellect in its perceptions of truth?

                           Can we believe simply because we want to believe? Explain with examples.

                    4.     Explain Pascal's Wager.   Why does James feel it fails in what it attempts to do?

                   5.     What is the attitude of the scientist toward belief?

                   6.   Why do "Logicians" rule out our willing nature? Give an example.

7. What part does James feel our passional nature play in deciding between certain options? Give an example.

8. Believing truth and shunning error are two different laws. How do they differ? Give examples that make some sense of his A, B, C, D formula in section VII.

          9.       Describe the most useful kind of scientific investigation.

                  10.      What sorts of knowledge does he feel the "pure intellect"

                 of science cannot decide?

                   11.      How can faith in a fact help create the fact?

                   12.      Explain the two things religion says.

                 What makes the religious option momentous and forced?

13.    What evidence could you give to show that James believes there is no such thing as an agnostic?

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