William James on Risk, Efficacy, and Evidentialism

Episteme 19 (1):146-158 (2022)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
William James’ argument against William Clifford in The Will to Believe is often understood in terms of doxastic efficacy, the power of belief to influence an outcome. Although that is one strand of James’ argument, there is another which is driven by ampliative risk. The second strand of James’ argument, when applied to scientific cases, is tantamount to what is now called the Argument from Inductive Risk. Either strand of James’ argument is sufficient to rebut Clifford's strong evidentialism and show that it is sometimes permissible to believe in the absence of compelling evidence. However, the two considerations have different scope and force. Doxastic efficacy applies in only some cases but allows any values to play a role in determining belief; risk applies in all cases but only allows particular conditional values to play a role.
Reprint years
2022
PhilPapers/Archive ID
MAGWJO
Upload history
Archival date: 2020-05-29
View other versions
Added to PP index
2020-05-29

Total views
180 ( #37,254 of 69,040 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
57 ( #13,857 of 69,040 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.