William James in Focus

William James in Focus

Willing to Believe
Gavin, William J.
Distribution: World
Publication date: 01/10/2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-00792-6
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William James (1842-1910) is a canonical figure of American pragmatism. Trained as a medical doctor, James was more engaged by psychology and philosophy and wrote a foundational text, Pragmatism, for this characteristically American way of thinking. Distilling the main currents of James's thought, William J. Gavin focuses on "latent" and "manifest" ideas in James to disclose the notion of "will to believe," which courses through his work. For students who may be approaching James for the first time and for specialists who may not know James as deeply as they wish, Gavin provides a clear path to understanding James’s philosophy even as he embraces James’s complications and hesitations.

Author Bio

William J. Gavin is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern Maine. He is author of William James and the Reinstatement of the Vague and Cuttin’ the Body Loose: Historical, Biological, and Personal Approaches in Death and Dying. He is former president of the William James Society.

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. James's Life: Will to Believe as Affirmation
2. "The Will to Believe": Policing versus Free-Roaming
3. The Principles of Psychology: Consciousness as a Constitutive Stream
4. The Varieties of Religious Experience: Mysticism as a Vague "Exemplar"
5. Pragmatism: Corridor as "Latent" and "The Will to Believe"
6. Metaphysics: Radical Empiricism and Pure Experience
7. "Pure" versus "Impure" Experience: Examples of Pure Experience
8. Challenges to "The Will to Believe"
Conclusion: Pragmatism, Death, and "The Will to Believe"

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