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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 Metaphors of Belief

The Metaphors of Belief

(p.107) 8 The Metaphors of Belief
William James on the Courage to Believe

Robert J. O'Connell

Fordham University Press

This chapter focuses on the various metaphors that William James employed in his discussions of belief. The fondness James had for such analogies may partially account for his defenders' tendency to think up other outcome illustrations to argue, misguidedly, for the soundness of his views. But those misguided uses should not blind readers to appreciating the valid appeal these analogies had for James, or lead them to underestimate their “carry-over” value for his central thesis. The chapter also shows that between the two types of Jamesian illustration—life's “ethical symphony” and the appropriate overtures of friendship—there is a set of kinship features that makes them both more exquisitely shaped than perhaps even James imagined for pointing to the dynamics of the “believing” attitude.

Keywords:   William James, metaphors, analogies, Jamesian illustration, ethical symphony, friendship, believing

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