William James 's Article Review Essay

William James 's Article Review Essay

Length: 1103 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In the article, "The Will to Believe", William James responds to W.K. Clifford who argued
that it "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient
evidence". James held the belief that it 's more important to accomplish truth than to avoid error a
and that it can in fact be reasonable to hold a belief without sufficient evidence. Both
philosophers, in my opinion, offer persuasive arguments; however, I feel that beliefs are
often a moral issue and the choice to believe can be an emotional or instinctual one rather then an
intellectual one. Therefore, I don 't support Clifford 's argument that it its wrong in every situation
to maintain beliefs based on insufficient evidence and plan to argue against his position on
religious faith as a form of knowing on the grounds that it is unconvincing and not practical.
To support his reasoning, Clifford provides an example of a ship-owner who was responsible
for the death of those on board. Even though the ship owner sincerely believed that the vessel
was safe despite his doubt, it was held on inadequate evidence and therefore morally wrong.
Clifford claimed that even if no harm had resulted, the ship-owner would still have been morally
wrong as it is not the consequence of the belief that is wrong, but the holding of the belief in the
first place. Clifford also asserts that unfounded beliefs are harmful to not only the believer but all
of mankind, calling it a “sin” , which I believe is a bit drastic and not applicable to all beliefs.
Some beliefs come from an instinctual and emotional state and harm the fate of mankind in no
I agree with Clifford when speaking of ideas that will have an apparent effect on the fate of
others, t...

... middle of paper ...

...h. James
believes that the risk of being wrong is sometimes worth the belief and that its okay to be found
wrong and risk being right. We often have to go on our quest for good without having
appropriate evidence, this is where trust and faith come in.
To a point,, I agree with Clifford’s’ evidentialist view, as in theory it is wise, however,
practically I believe it is not a plausable way to live your life because it would be near impossible
to find time to investigate “sufficient” evidence on which to base all beliefs that you come
across, whereas many of our beliefs are emotional and instincual, not intelligent. Also, an ethical
norm is decided by your moral compass, and this is very much an instinctual decision, not one
made based on knowledge. What it comes down to is two kinds of life, one full of doubt and
distrust, or one of faith. I choose faith.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Study of William Tyndale’s Life Essay

- The study of William Tyndale’s life is an interesting one; he translated the Bible into multiple languages, ultimately started the reformation of the Catholic Church, and found a use for the printing press. It is hard for one to decide if what he did is ethical (there seems to be a lot of gray space). Nonetheless, he did however have a substantial impact on the social, religious, and in some areas political lives of people continuing until the present day. He also changed how the Church would forever go about its religious business, and he also helped to print the very first book ever printed rather than written: the Bible....   [tags: bible, william tyndale, church]

Strong Essays
781 words (2.2 pages)

Judicial Review Essay

- After the 1800 election where Thomas Jefferson won, President John Adams proceed to fill the judicial branch with members of his own party, the Federalists. In response, Jefferson's party of the Republicans repealed the Judiciary Act of 1800. This act created new position on the bench for Federalist judges. The Supreme Court was threatened with impeachment if they overturned the repeal (Marbury v. Madison,1803). President Adams attempted to fill these new vacancies prior to the end of his term but some of the commissions were not delivered....   [tags: Justice System ]

Strong Essays
863 words (2.5 pages)

Marbury v. Madison: Judicial Review Essay

- In the case of Marbury v. Madison the power of judicial review was granted to the Supreme Court in 1801. The Constitution does not give power of judicial review. On Adams last day in office, several government officials upheld the case. Judicial review does not exist in countries that have a centralized or unitary form of government. The elected parliament declares it is the law of the land. Halsema Proposal to Netherlands has taken the initiative to start the process of judicial review. President John Adams and the Federalist lost the election to Thomas Jefferson....   [tags: Marbury v. Madison]

Strong Essays
1021 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Reviews of Notes of a Native Son

- Reviews of Notes of a Native Son Notes of a Native Son, a widely acclaimed and celebrated book by James Baldwin was subjected to many reviews upon its first publication. There were many opposing views between reviewers but almost all came to the conclusion that Baldwin’s use of words was extremely eloquent and intelligent. Specifically an article titled “Rage unto Order” by Dachine Rainer was very adamant about Baldwin’s genius as a writer but hardly did anything to explain or exemplify that fact....   [tags: James Baldwin]

Strong Essays
1236 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on James Madison

- James Madison He was a small man at 5 feet 4 inches tall, less than 100 pounds with penetrating eyes, a charming smile, and parchment skin. "James Madison Jr. born into a large Episcopalian family on March 16,1751 in Port Conway, Virginia, made a large political impact on the United States of America" (The Federalist 1). "He was frequently referred to as the father of the Constitution, for he made many provisions to it's making" (The Federalist 1). "His father James Madison Sr. one of the wealthiest landowner's of the area managed a large Piedmont farm, and married late to Nelly Conway in 1749." "There were eleven children born in all to the Madison family, only seven survived to adultho...   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
1355 words (3.9 pages)

Marbury V. Madison : The Legacy Of Judicial Review Essay

- Marbury v. Madison: The Legacy of Judicial Review John Marshall, Supreme Court Justice, created legal precedence in the historical case, Marbury v. Madison in 1803. Throughout history he is portrayed as the fountainhead of judicial review. Marshall asserted the right of the judicial branch of government to void legislation it deemed unconstitutional, (Lemieux, 2003). In this essay, I will describe the factual circumstances and the Supreme Court holdings explaining the reasoning behind Chief Justice Marshall’s conclusions in the case, Marbury v....   [tags: Supreme Court of the United States]

Strong Essays
1183 words (3.4 pages)

Judicial Review: Federalist 78, Alexander Hamilton Essays

- In Federalist 78, Alexander Hamilton argued that the Judicial Branch is the “least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution" and that it is “beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power” since it has “neither force nor will, but merely judgment.” [*] While it is true that Hamilton wrote the Federalist Papers as propaganda to garner support for the Constitution by convincing New Yorkers that it would not take away their rights and liberties, it is also true that Article III of the Constitution was deliberately vague about the powers of the Judicial Branch to allow future generations to decide what exactly those powers should be....   [tags: constitution, power, propaganda]

Strong Essays
1059 words (3 pages)

Article Review: The Teen Brain Essay examples

- The article under review in this paper is 'Neurodevelopment: How does the teen brain work?' by Kendall Powell (2006). this article appears to be credible based on the following: although the author is a freelance science writer, his work lead one to believe he knows what he is talking about. In addition, he provides several supportive resources to back up his topics. He has several other articles and writings available on the internet. However, while no educational background is available, he writing experience extends to PLoS, HHMI Bulletins, and the Los Angeles Times to name a few....   [tags: Article Review]

Strong Essays
1196 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Literature Review of 5 Articles

- Literature Review of 5 articles Based on secondary research of articles that our group had conducted, it led us to the problem statement that quality does not meet price. We accumulated five significant articles and utilized its information in order to generate the problem statement. What we noticed is that there were a lot of articles regarding quality issues related to Sony laptops. This made us question the high prices of Sony's offerings. The first article, entitled “Sony shares drop after VAIO recall," from the New York Times talked about the consequence of the 438,000 units of VAIO TZ laptops that were recalled last year....   [tags: Article Review]

Strong Essays
1466 words (4.2 pages)

Article Review: William F. Unsoeld, Characteristics of a True Leader Essay

- Article Review: William F. Unsoeld, Characteristics of a True Leader In our lives each of us has a certain desire to excel and succeed at one time. Some of us even have desires to accomplish such goals at all times. First, all of us are born with the light of Christ, which is what gives each of us the desire to seek out God and his perfect state. When this happens something inside of us drives to be better and to achieve perfection. At that time we are better than we can be on our own. Some people have that God given talent to be able to do that on a constant basis....   [tags: Article Review Analysis Leadership]

Free Essays
960 words (2.7 pages)