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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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Problems and Prospects in the Ethics of Belief

Problems and Prospects in the Ethics of Belief

(p.63) Three Problems and Prospects in the Ethics of Belief
Pragmatism with Purpose

Peter Hare

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines problems and prospects in William James's ethics of belief. It argues for the relevance of so-called overbeliefs for modern views of epistemology. It argues that the development of such an ethics of belief will require collaboration between diverse philosophical traditions and between philosophy and science. More specifically, it calls for cooperation between those working in the tradition of pragmatist metaphysics, those working in analytic epistemology, and those working in cognitive science. To emphasize the need for such cooperation, it provides an overview of the relevant aspects of the current philosophical scene. It also discusses the notion of positive illusion and the consequences of applying moral terms to belief as opposed to terms of prudence only.

Keywords:   ethics of belief, William James, overbelief, epistemology, cooperation, pragmatist metaphysics, analytic epistemology, cognitive science, positive illusion

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