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Pragmatism with PurposeSelected Writings$
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Peter Hare, Joseph Palencik, Douglas Anderson, and Steven A. Miller

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264322

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264322.001.0001

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William James, Dickinson Miller, and C. J. Ducasse on the Ethics of Belief

William James, Dickinson Miller, and C. J. Ducasse on the Ethics of Belief

Chapter:
(p.50) Two William James, Dickinson Miller, and C. J. Ducasse on the Ethics of Belief
Source:
Pragmatism with Purpose
Author(s):

Edward H. Madden

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823264322.003.0002

This chapter examines the views of Dickinson Miller and C. J. Ducasse on William James's ethics of belief. In American philosophy, few papers have generated as much discussion as James's essay “The Will to Believe.” After reading the title of the essay The Will to Believe as separately published in 1896, Miller engaged in extensive correspondence with James. In one of these letters, James refers to Miller as his “most penetrating critic and intimate enemy.” The ideas developed by Miller in this correspondence he brought together in an 1899 paper published in Ethics. Miller continued to develop his criticism of the Jamesian doctrine of the will to believe for more than half a century. This chapter also considers Miller's correspondence with Ducasse in the 1940s and 1950s regarding the topic of the right to believe.

Keywords:   ethics of belief, Dickinson Miller, C. J. Ducasse, William James, philosophy, correspondence, letters, will to believe, right to believe

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