Review Questions For James
  1. What, according to James, is an option? Recount in detail James's different categories of option.
  2. Briefly recount Pascal's wager, as James describes it. What is James's assessment of Pascal's wager?
  3. At the end of section II James recounts the views of those who hold that our "passional nature" has no place in the formation of beliefs—in particular the views of Clifford. Briefly describe Clifford's view as James summarizes it. What does James say about this view at the beginning of section III?
  4. In section IV James sets out his central thesis. What is that thesis?
  5. Briefly recount James's "two ways of looking at our duty in the matter of opinion" as he presents them in section VII. With what philosophical tradition does James associate his strategy for believing.
  6. In section VIII James gives the conditions under which he considers it permissible to "will ourselves to believe". What are these conditions? What sorts of questions does James think are typical of the sort that meet these conditions?
  7. Briefly explain James' application of the will to believe to what he calls "the religious hypothesis".
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