The Will to Believe and Human Immortality

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"The Will to Believe" by William James

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Please enter the message. Please verify that you are not a robot. Would you also like to submit a review for this item? You already recently rated this item. Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: 1 2 3 4 5. Preview this item Preview this item. Easy to understand, yet, brilliant and penetrating, the books were written specifically for laymen and they are still stimulating reading for readers concerned with important questions of belief in an age of science.

Human Immorality: Two supposed Objections to the Doctrine, reprinted here from the corrected second edition, examines the questions of survival after death, and provides an unusual philosophical rebuttal to the theory that thought and personality necesscarily die with the brain.

The Will to Believe, Human Immortality and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy by William James

Read more Allow this favorite library to be seen by others Keep this favorite library private. Of this would I know. With the contention that reality, as such, is fundamentally spiritual, he tried to prove immortality, maintaining that nothing could destroy the soul. Aristotle conceived of reason as eternal but did not defend personal immortality, as he thought the soul could not exist in a disembodied state. The Epicureans , from a materialistic standpoint, held that there is no consciousness after death, and it is thus not to be feared.

The Stoics believed that it is the rational universe as a whole that persists. Individual humans, as the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote, simply have their allotted periods in the drama of existence.

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The Roman orator Cicero , however, finally accepted personal immortality. Albertus Magnus defended immortality on the ground that the soul, in itself a cause, is an independent reality. John Scotus Erigena contended that personal immortality cannot be proved or disproved by reason. Benedict de Spinoza , taking God as ultimate reality, as a whole maintained his eternity but not the immortality of individual persons within him. The German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz contended that reality is constituted of spiritual monads.

Human beings, as finite monads, not capable of origination by composition , are created by God, who could also annihilate them. However, because God has planted in humans a striving for spiritual perfection, there may be faith that he will ensure their continued existence, thus giving them the possibility to achieve it. The French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal argued that belief in the God of Christianity—and accordingly in the immortality of the soul—is justified on practical grounds by the fact that one who believes has everything to gain if he is right and nothing to lose if he is wrong, while one who does not believe has everything to lose if he is wrong and nothing to gain if he is right.

The German Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant held that immortality cannot be demonstrated by pure reason but must be accepted as an essential condition of morality. A related argument held that denying an eternal afterlife of reward and punishment would lead to the repugnant conclusion that the universe is unjust. In the late 19th century, the concept of immortality waned as a philosophical preoccupation, in part because of the secularization of philosophy under the growing influence of science.

In the we see the world invisible to him because dog's we live in both worlds.


In human life, although we only see our world, and his within it, yet encompasslife. But " may be may be " one now hears the positivist " what use can a scientific contemptuously exclaim life have for maybes? So far and is productive or originative at all, his entire vital function may be said to have to deal with maybes. Not a victory is gained, not a deed of faithfulness or courage is done, except. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true.

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Suppose, for instance, that you are climbing a mountain, and have worked yourself into a position from which the only escape is by a Have faith that you can successfully terrible leap. But mistrust yourself, and think of all the sweet things you have heard the scientists say of maybes, and you will hesitate so long that, at last, all unstrung and trembling, and launching yourself in a moment of despair, you roll in the abyss.

In such a case and it belongs to an enormous class , the part of wisdom as well as of courage is to believe what is in the line ofyour needs, for only by such belief is the need fulfilled. Refuse to believe, and you shall in-. It is only by risk-. Now, it appears to me that the question whether life is. It does, indeed, depend on you the to the nightmare view and surrender you. Pessimism, completed by your act, is true beyond a doubt, so Your mistrust of life has refar as your world goes.

But suppose, on the other hand, that instead of giving way to the nightmare view you cling to it that this world is not the ultimatum. Suppose you find yourself a very well-spring, as Wordsworth says, of ".

Zeal, and the virtue to exist by faith soldiers live by courage ; as, by strength heart, the sailor fights with roaring seas. Suppose, however thickly evils crowd upon you, that your unconquerable subjectivity proves to be their match, and that you find a more wonderful joy than any passive pleasure can bring in trusting ever in the Have you not now made life worth larger whole. What sort of a thing would these on living life really be, with your qualities ready for a tussle with it, if it only brought fair weather and gave these higher faculties of yours no scope?

This life is worth living, we can say, since it. Now, in this description of faiths that verify themselves I have assumed that our faith in an invisible order is what inspires those efforts and that patience which make this visible order good for moral men.

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But will our faith in the unseen world fitness for successful. I confess that I do not see why the very existence of an invisible world may not in part depend on the personal response which any one of us may make to the reliit. God himself, in short, may draw vital strength and increase of very being from our fidelity. For my own part, I do not know what the sweat and blood and tragedy of this life mean, if they mean anything short of this. If this life be not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private the-.

But were something with all our idealities and faithfulnesses, are needed to redeem ; and first of all to redeem our own hearts from atheisms and fears. For such a half-wild, half-saved universe our nature is adapted. The deepest thing in our atricals it. Binnenleben as a German doctor lately has called it , this dumb region of the heart in which we dwell alone with our willingnesses and unwillingAs through the cracks nesses, our faiths and fears. Here is our deepest organ of communication with the nature of things and compared with these concrete movements of our soul all abstract the veto, for statements and scientific arguments ;.

These, then, are my last words to you: Be not Believe that life is worth living, and life. The scientific will belief help your proof that you are right may not be clear before the day of judgment or some stage of being which that expression may serve to symbolize is reached.

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But the faithful fighters of this hour, or the beings that then and there will represent them, may then turn to the faint-hearted, who here decline to go on, with words like those with which Henry IV. When he gets the marks, he may know that he has got the rationality. The transition is one of them. Shall we then say that the feelthe absence ing of rationality is constituted merely by state of puzzle is full 1 This from an article essay as fax as page 75 consists of extracts Thereafter it is a reprint of an printed in Mind for July, Just as we feel no particular.

When enjoying crave, or to aspire. Conceived in such modes, being vouches for itself and.

The Will to Believe and Human Immortality The Will to Believe and Human Immortality
The Will to Believe and Human Immortality The Will to Believe and Human Immortality
The Will to Believe and Human Immortality The Will to Believe and Human Immortality
The Will to Believe and Human Immortality The Will to Believe and Human Immortality
The Will to Believe and Human Immortality The Will to Believe and Human Immortality

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