Saturday, March 18, 2017

Episode 8: The Will to Believe

Read the original essay here.

Download the mp3 here.

Part of this lecture serves as a partial response to The Ethics of Belief, the reading-fodder for the previous episode. James identifies some important psychological realities and subtle distinctions that Clifford glosses over. If you ask me to pit them against one another, then I'm with Clifford. I don't think James was quite fair. He totally ignored Clifford's Bastatian, proto-Hayekian point about the macroeffects, the subtle and distributed effects, the side effects, the unnoticed negative externalities, of promoting less than maximally true beliefs.

However. This essay's logic is, so far as I can tell, insecapable. I'm astonished that no one has ever adopted this essay's theses as a foundational epistemological principle, that I've never seen debates one way or the other on the matter. Having read the essay several times in the course of producing this episode, I must say that I agree with it.

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