By Arnold Isenberg
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Extra resources for Analytical Philosophy and the Study of Art
In fact, Hare would go on to coauthor a book on Ducasse. In the final essay a mature Hare integrates forty years of philosophical wisdom with contemporary views in epistemology. The end result is a masterful work on philosophical naturalism. On e T h e R ight a n d Du t y to W i l l to Bel i ev e with Peter Kauber B R ights and duties to will to believe have too long been considered an embarrassing indulgence by philosophers who pride themselves on their methodological rigor. A fresh look at William James’s work will show how a more robust, though no less analytically rigorous, ethics of belief is possible.
James suggests there, “nature is but a name for excess; every point in her opens out and runs into the more; and the only question . . ” “We live,” James arrestingly asserts, “upon the front edge of an advancing wave-crest, and our sense of a determinate direction in falling forward is all we cover of the future of our path. . ” At the journey’s end, either in the sense of an individual’s life or in that of the cosmos’s ceasing to be, I imagine that such an understanding of experience and, intimately allied to this understanding, a naturalistic account of human knowing might be reaffirmed without reservation.
Given the foregoing discussion, one suspects that the willful acquisition of belief is taken to be so fraught with danger that any temptation to acquiesce in such a doctrine is to be strenuously resisted, regardless of the cogency of any arguments in favor of the less awesome right to believe. As it happens, there are good Jamesian grounds, too, for resisting the adoption of any unrestrained will to believe, while at the same time James refused to knuckle under to the pathological fears of his more squeamish (or perhaps less honest) contemporaries and thus abandon the will to believe altogether.
Analytical Philosophy and the Study of Art by Arnold Isenberg