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William James on the Courage to Believe$
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Robert J. O'Connell

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780823217274

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823217274.001.0001

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The Precursive Force of Over-beliefs

The Precursive Force of Over-beliefs

(p.84) 6 The Precursive Force of Over-beliefs
William James on the Courage to Believe

Robert J. O'Connell

Fordham University Press

This chapter argues that, contrary to what has been almost universally supposed, William James did not mean to affirm that humans' passional nature should intervene in the formation of their over-beliefs onlyafter their dispassionate intellects have failed to resolve the issues one way or the other. The fact of the matter is that, early and late, James consistently taught that the passional or volitional side de facto exercises a precursive influence on all such intellectual surveys, and that it would be idly asking for the psychologically impossible to insist on the reverse scenario. James clearly held that the “will” to believe exerts its influence before, during, and after the formation of humans' over-beliefs, directing, influencing, and virtually commanding all such surveys.

Keywords:   William James, humans, passional nature, over-beliefs, intellectual surveys, will

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