Philosophy James Williams'

Topics: Truth, Decision making, Religion Pages: 3 (1067 words) Published: April 29, 2013
Argumentative Paper
In the sections “The subjective justification of belief” and “The will to believe”, William James develops his argument surrounding the idea that free will is not an illusion, and that the hypotheses you identify with can be quantified into different categories and inevitably will determine the path your life takes. His argument is very thorough but it is evident that there are several issues in his assessment of the subdivisions in the process, and the justification of the decisions we make. William James revolves his argument around free will and passion leading us to make the right decision, but does not account for the possibility of disastrous results, inability to determine if an option is momentous, and even allows for the problem of voluntary belief. In the first section, Lawhead explains that James is not simply stating you should believe whatever pleases you, but rather that logic and science cannot always guide us to answer vital questions clearly and correctly. This is because free will allows us to interpret things in many different ways. James concludes a general hypothesis that competing ideas in the universe will always side with the one that satisfies human need rather than denying it by following logical or scientific doctrine. He then further subdivides this idea into 3 sections that he later uses as a general argument in many of his works. The first, “The impossibility of the neural standpoint,” states that life raises issues continuously and we are forced to make decisions on one of our hypotheses. The second, “The insufficiency of reason,” recognizes that many of the important decisions we make can oftentimes be proven rationally. The third, “The reasonableness of subjective justifications”, states that in cases where we are left without any guidance from objective facts, we are justified to make a decision based upon subjective criteria. James is building upon his basic argument that free will determines the decisions...
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