1. Some more updates
updated some, and today I did the same:
1. Some more updates
A. On William James' "The will to believe"
I saw there is considerable interest in my
edition of William
believe", which has 95 notes to it, presently spread over three
I still don't have the eyes and health to prepare a better edition, but
my notes are good, and I corrected some links. The arrow links on the
do work, and one reason to mention this is that I find this essay of
James morally and intellectually despicable: I just cannot
believe he honestly meant what he said, because I know James
intelligent man, and I do believe this essay of his is a
piece of intentional obfuscation.
I have also sorted out the many links to my Philosophical
Dictionary in my abovementioned Notes, that should now work.
I do believe my edition plus notes is - now, at last - a good rejoinder
to James' text, which I really find quite dishonest:
James was far too intelligent not to know that he was bullshitting.
note that I am not attacking him on religious grounds,
but on logical grounds: Aquinas, for example, was mistaken in
his proofs of
God, but honestly tried; James does not honestly try,
argues on has a right to believe what one knows one has no evidence or
for, provided only one's belief is - claimed to be - religious, and he
also misled his readers on purpose, so far as I can tell, about the force, content and clarity of Clifford's "The Ethics of
Belief", that proposed and defended the thesis that
"it is wrong always,
everywhere, and for anyone, to believe
James goes to
considerable illogical length to make it appear as if Clifford was
mistaken and - "that
delicious enfant terrible Clifford" - perverse and childish.
anything upon insufficient evidence."
If Clifford was mistaken - and see my Notes to his "The Ethics of
Belief" - it was in demanding too much ("always, everywhere"), and that not because of religion,
but because of "ars levis, vita brevis" and the need for making
specific moral choices: One often must make assumptiions knowing
the assumptions one makes cannot there and then be justified with such
knowledge, resources and intellectual capacities as one has. An example
is a a doctor on a battlefield who has to make a decision whether to
operate someone or wait.
But that does not at all mean that James his intellectually right or
morally admirable for argueing that in religious matters one
has the right to believe what one pleases, as James effectively does:
That way lies religious fanaticism, intolerance and totalitarianism,
just as in politics.
And while there is something to be said for qualifying Clifford's
dictum if and when there are good moral practical reasons for doing so,
these do empathically not extend to religion or politics: It is
wrong to persecute persons for religious or political reasons, and especially
on such grounds a William James provides, viz. that one has a a
supposed right to believe something one knows one has no good evidence
for, if one's faith is strong and lively enough.
This would justify the beliefs of the inquisition and the KGB, namely
on William James' grounds for having "the right to believe", namely
that they hold their beliefs to be "living", "forced" and
"momentous", and thus feel justified adopting them.
Surely this also holds for religious suicide bombers, viz. that they
have the "living", "forced" and "momentous" religious belief that they
should blow themselves up amidst those who have another faith, because
their God is supposed to want and reward that.
To me that seems immoral and irrational to hold and to argue as if this
could conceivably be moral and rational (namely if only it were our
religion and one held those beliefs to be "living", "forced" and "momentous" for
But feel free to disagree: At least I gave rational arguments for my
opinions, and have now also sorted out the links: Check out James' "The will to
believe", with my notes to it, presently spread over three
C to see whether you agree with James or with Clifford and
B. Reformatting Nederlog
I also reformatted some of the links of October
in Nederlog that got
messed up by KompoZer or Seamonkey's Composer: The links at the tops of
files, under "Introduction" should now all work properly.
Other links in these files may still be broken, and
one problem with repairing them is that neiter KompoZer nor Seamonkey is as clear as it
should be on relative URLs.
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: