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Belief According To James Essay

1020 words - 5 pages

According to James, belief is measured by actions of people within the society. Hypothesis and options are used in the description of beliefs. Hypothesis can be named to anything that proposes beliefs. It can be further classified as dead or alive. A live hypothesis is something real and viewed as true for anyone who proposes it. For example, in his submission, belief in Mahdi makes no electric connection with nature of any individual. This according to James is a dead hypothesis because beliefs are imaginary and does not produce light like electricity does. On the other hand, the hypothesis is alive according to followers of Mahdi. This is because the hypothesis among the believers is in their minds. Therefore, wherever there is willingness to act, beliefs are dominant.
Another aspect related to belief is option. Option can therefore be defined as the decision between two hypotheses. Options can further be divided into several types. Living or dead options, forced or avoidable, trivial or momentous are some of the classifications of options. A genuine option is one that posses momentous, living and forced kinds of options. A living option is one in which both hypotheses are alive. For example, “to be a theosophist or be a Mohammedan” can be classified as a dead option because both hypotheses are likely to be dead. On the other hand, “Be an agnostic or be a Christian” can be classified as live hypotheses because such hypotheses make appeals.
Moreover, several aspects are important when analyzing the genuine option according to James. For example, “choose between going out with your umbrella or without it”, this does not offer a genuine option because it is not forced. A person can easily avoid using the umbrella by not leaving the house. Similarly, “Either love me or hate me,” “either call my theory true or false”, the option can be avoided. A person remains indifferent for neither loving nor hating. On the other hand, “either accept the truth or go without it”, is a forced option because there is no any other alternative. A forced option is a dilemma based on complete logical disjunction because there are no possibilities for choices.
Finally, momentous option according to James is also related to beliefs. For example, if one was asked to join an expedition, the option would be a momentous one. This would probably be a similar opportunity and a person’s choice to be excluded from any kind of immorality. Any person who refuses to accept unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he or she tried and failed. Per contra, the option is tricky when an opportunity is not unique. Therefore, the later is termed unwise if the decision is reversible. Trivial options are normally related to the scientific life of nature (Earlymoderntexts 1). Moreover, a chemist may find a hypothesis live enough to spend a year in verification because of the belief he or she has. On the hand, belief is lost if the dentist does not...

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