December 14, 2012

site:  Updates of James and Nederlog

1. Some more updates

About ME/CFS


Yesterday I 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 James' "The will to believe", which has 95 notes to it, presently spread over three files: Notes A, Notes B, Notes C.

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 top 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 was a very 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.

And 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, but dishonestly argues on has a right to believe what one knows one has no evidence or rational reasons 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
  anything upon insufficient evidence.

James goes to considerable illogical length to make it appear as if Clifford was mistaken and - "that delicious enfant terrible Clifford" - perverse and childish.

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 one).

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 files: Notes A, Notes B, Notes C to  see whether you agree with James or with Clifford and me.

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 the 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. 

About ME/CFS (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:
1. Anthony Komarof

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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