On William James's "The Will to Believe" and continuing our discussion from Episode 20 on James's conception of truth as described in his books Pragmatism and The Meaning of Truth, again including Dylan Casey.
This is a 31-minute preview of our vintage 1 hr, 38-minute episode which you can buy at partiallyexaminedlife.com/store or get for free with PEL Citizenship (see partiallyexaminedlife.com/membership). You can also purchase the full episode in the iTunes Store: Search for "Partially Examined Pragmatism faith" and look under "Albums."
Does pragmatism give ground for religious belief, like if I say it feels good for me to believe in God, is that in any sense a legitimate grounds for that belief? Is belief in science or rationality itself a form of faith? Is religious belief a "forced choice," or does it just not matter what you believe?
Also, we sort further through James on truth: truth is created by us, but what does that mean? That only statements actually verified or otherwise useful are true, or can have a truth value (true of false) at all? In saying that we create truth, does that make James a relativist, and if so, is that bad?
End song: "Who Cares What You Believe?" by Madison Lint (2001).