Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
BeliefA Pragmatic Picture$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Aaron Z. Zimmerman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198809517

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198809517.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 June 2019

Pragmatic Self-Deception

Pragmatic Self-Deception

Chapter:
(p.128) 6 Pragmatic Self-Deception
Source:
Belief
Author(s):

Aaron Z. Zimmerman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198809517.003.0006

To conclude the discussion, the author turns to James’s defense of the will to believe. Philosophers have tended to focus on the normative question of whether it is ever OK to adopt beliefs for pragmatic reasons. The “evidentialists” are prepared to criticize those who would resort to this sort of thing, and the intellectualists go further to argue that pragmatists are self-deceived. The author argues against these epistemic scolds. The social science of “positive illusions” confirms the coherence of James’s doctrine and provides an evidential basis for Bain’s theory of belief. Sometimes, we can ignore the evidence and believe what we want to believe knowing full well that this is what we are doing. The will to believe is real. Within limits, it can even be a good thing.

Keywords:   self-deception, will to believe, William James, positive illusions, pragmatism, self-promotion, evolution, Daniel C. Dennett, epistemic decision theory

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .