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Will to Believe, contains William Jame's Response to Clifford

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"The Will to Believe," contains William James' response to Clifford.

You are to write 200-300 words explaining James' response to Clifford's position. Be sure to include the following:

1. Explain James classification of hypotheses as alive or dead and the types of options used in deciding between alternative hypotheses.
2. Explain why James does not believe it is rational to suspend belief about the existence of God and like religious matters?
3. What does James say about the practicality of Clifford's claims pertaining to what we are permitted to believe?


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1. Explain James classification of hypotheses as alive or dead and the types of options used in deciding between alternative hypotheses.

James begins his classification of hypotheses by defining an option, which he describes as a "decision between two hypotheses" (O'connell, 1997, p. 8). He further postulates that a hypothesis must be genuine and must have three characteristics: (a) forced, (b) living, and (c) momentous. Hypotheses are thus based upon options. A living option is considered live to the person who sets forth the hypothesis as a real possibility. In other words making a decision on one's aspiration may be important to them, but may not appeal to someone else. He cites examples of beliefs in some religions that may appeal to some, but is a "dead" or no option for others, who are not drawn to the religion Thus, a live option appeals to a person's belief.
On the other hand, a genuine option involves a unique opportunity in which the stakes are significant and the decision irreversible. For instance, if one ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses William James's response to Clifford regarding the will to believe.

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