Winter 1983 • Vol. V No. 1 Nonfiction |

The Right to Believe: William James’s Reinterpretation of the Function of Religious Belief

As a condition of freedom and progress in intellectual pursuits, the great American philosopher Charles Peirce issued the recommendation: "Do not block the way of inquiry." With this advice his fellow pragmatists William James and John Dewey were fully in accord. Responsive to the technical sense in which Peirce understood the notion of inquiry, Dewey carefully elaborated the idea into a comprehensive theory of the intelligent control of experience. Along somewhat different but still related lines, William James set forth a philosophy of pluralism in which the variety and immediacy of experience are primary and authentic traits and growth and novelty are genuine features of existence. One year before his death in 1910 he wrote, "I think the center of my whole Anschauung, since years ago when I read Renouvier, has been the belief that something is doing in the universe, and that novelty is real."1 His mention of Renouvier is revealing; coming at the end of a philosophic lifetime,

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The Maze Maker

By Simone Oettli

As a condition of freedom and progress in intellectual pursuits, the great American philosopher Charles Peirce issued the recommendation: "Do not block the way of inquiry." With this advice his […]

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