I just finished a “prototype” of my final paper for my Modern/Contemporary Philosophy class answering the question that has plagued modern philosophy in the West, “How, given the advent and advance of ‘the modern scientific worldview,’ can we capture ‘the fact of value:’ the fact that we all have and act from ideas about how to live?”. I had to consider three philosophers from a list and discuss their ideas regarding moral philosophy, evaluate their ideas, and select which philosopher I most agree with and then offer a conclusion regarding how to make sense of values.
First in a series of essays that I’m going to post this week is a discussion of ‘true religion’ as seen from the character of Philo in David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. As an alternative to commonly practiced religion which Philo calls ‘vulgar superstition,’ Philo proposes a ‘true religion’ that is free of superstition, zealotry, absurdity and impiety, and warped morality in which believers can only claim that God exists, yet make no claims about God. Read More
Here is my essay written for my Modern and Contemporary Philosophy class. I argue that William James’ criterion presented in “The Will To Believe” are untenable and one should not believe a proposition just because it makes them happy. True belief should be the goal and persons should not intellectually resign and let their emotions lead them to belief. Happiness can be had a a result of a rigorous intellectual process in which one is firmly grounded in belief. This paper was to only be around eight pages, so I didn’t get a chance to object to Clifford’s arguments (although I have done this a bit here) and otherwise had to limit myself. I would have also liked to talk about intellectual virtues and what it means to be a fulfilled epistemic agent, but I didn’t have the chance in this essay. I could have also elaborated more on absolute certainty and more about the benefits of critical thinking.
Background and Further Reading
Clifford, William K. “The Ethics of Belief.” 1999. Web. 31 Mar 2011. .
Pascal, Blaise. “Pensees .” Web. 31 Mar 2011.