Posts tagged ‘william james’

November 19th, 2012

The Top 40 Philosophers of the Last 200 Years

by Max Andrews

Below is a list of the top forty philosophers within the last 200 years. The tally was composed of 600 votes.  On a side note, I’m quite please to see David Lewis making it up to 13 and C. S. Peirce at 20.

1. Ludwig Wittgenstein  (Condorcet winner: wins contests with all other choices)
2. Gottlob Frege  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 261–160
3. Bertrand Russell  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 280–137, loses to Gottlob Frege by 218–156
4. John Stuart Mill  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 280–135, loses to Bertrand Russell by 204–178
5. W.V.O. Quine  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 291–150, loses to John Stuart Mill by 214–198
6. G.W.F. Hegel  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 290–130, loses to W.V.O. Quine by 214–210
7. Saul Kripke  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 314–138, loses to G.W.F. Hegel by 224–213
8. Friedrich Nietzsche  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 290–117, loses to Saul Kripke by 209–207
9. Karl Marx  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 359–95, loses to Friedrich Nietzsche by 254–138
10. Soren Kierkegaard  loses to Ludwig Wittgenstein by 358–124, loses to Karl Marx by 230–213
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May 3rd, 2012

Are We Morally Obligated to Appropriate our Belief to the Evidence?

by Max Andrews

W.K. Clifford summarized this deontic model of rationality when he stated, “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.  If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind… the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.”[1] I will need to clarify a few of the nuances to Clifford’s epistemic ethic.  I would part ways with Clifford in his sea-worthy ship story with regards to his alternate ending.  The ship owner is not responsible or equally guilty for the shipwreck even though it never happened.  Such counterfactuals are absurd to consider as having deontic statuses since they do not pertain to reality.  I would merely suggest that someone’s wrongfulness for believing upon sufficient evidence is congruent and the wrongfulness is not congruent to the consequent of actions taken based on that belief.  William James’ position states that it is permissible to believe upon insufficient evidence and, perhaps, even obligatory for us to believe on insufficient evidence.  I disagree with James (see my argument for justification for the contrast).