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This book offers a new interpretation of William James's ethical and religious thought. Michael Slater shows that James's conception of morality, or what it means to lead a moral and flourishing life, is intimately tied to his conception of religious faith, and argues that James's views on these matters are worthy of our consideration. He offers a reassessment of James's 'will to believe' or 'right to believe' doctrine, his moral theory, and his neglected moral arguments for religious faith. And he argues that James's pragmatic account of religion is based on an ethical view of the function of religion and a realist view of the objects of religious belief and experience, and is compatible with his larger conception of pragmatism. The book will appeal to readers interested in the history of modern philosophy, especially pragmatism, as well as those interested in moral philosophy, religion, and the history of ideas.Read more
- Provides readers with the most sustained analysis of James's ethical thought currently on offer
- Develops a distinctive interpretation of James's philosophy of religion
- Gives a detailed analysis of James's philosophical writings and presents his arguments in a clear, accessible manner
Reviews & endorsements
"Slater argues forcefully...[producing] a careful analysis of truth."
-Bob Lane, metapsychology.netSee more reviews
"Michael Slater has written a valuable, thorough, and thought-provoking book about William James's views on ethics, religious faith, and the mutually-dependent relations between them... This book is well worth reading for its insights into James and the immensity of the task James set for himself, as well as for its demonstration of, and attempt to resolve, a mass of seemingly contradictory tendencies in James's philosophy... brings out some of the richest aspects of James's philosophy and the enigmas it presents... do not skip over the footnotes -- they are often very rich."
-Ellen Kappy Suckiel, University of California, Santa Cruz, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"...helpful in explaining of the current terms of analytic moral philosophy, and he places James’s “The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life” within analytic moral philosophy...."
-Ellen Kappy Suckiel, University of California, Santa Cruz, American Journal of Theology and Philosophy
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- Date Published: October 2009
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521760164
- length: 258 pages
- dimensions: 234 x 160 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.56kg
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
Introduction: a practical faith
Part I. Practical Faith and the Will to Believe:
1. The will and the right to believe
2. James's Wager and the right to believe
Part II. Two Moral Arguments for Religious Faith:
3. James's religious ethics in 'The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life'
4. Overcoming pessimism in 'Is Life Worth Living'?
Part III. Piecemeal Supernaturalism and Practical Needs:
5. Religion and morality in the varieties of religious experience
6. A pragmatic account of religion
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