Study Questions and Discussion Questions
William James The Will to Believe
Study Questions to be answered and discussed in the SQs folder titled Will to Believe.
1. In his description of different kinds of options, briefly describe what James means by living and dead options.
2. Briefly describe what he means by forced and avoidable options.
3. Briefly describe what he means by momentous and trivial options.
4. What is the point James is making in the second paragraph of section II?
5. How would you summarize Pascals Wager as described by James?
6. How would you summarize James main point in section IV?
7. Please briefly describe the distinction James is making in section VII.
8. Briefly describe the main point James is making in section IX.
9. In section James describes what he terms "the religious hypothesis." What is that hypothesis which he says is pretty much universal among religions?:
10. Please try to summarize in a sentence or two what you understand James overall argument in this essay to be (he concludes it in the final 3-4 paragraphs of section X).
Discussion Questions, to be answered and discussed in the week four classroom folder.
1. Pick one or two ideas in this lecture that you found to be particularly interesting.
a. Explain what each idea is.
b. Explain what it is about that idea that you find particularly interesting.
2. Do you personally find James argument in this essay to be cogent and persuasive? Why or why not?
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