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February 25, 2010

my first act of free will

I finished the first part of Renouvier's Second Essaie and saw no reason why his definition of free wil - the sustaining of a thought because I choose to when I might have other thoughts - need be the definition of an illusion. At any rate, I will assume for the present--until next year--that it is no illusion. My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will...Not in maxims, not in contemplations, but in accumulated acts of thought lies salvation...Hitherto, when I have felt like taking a free initiative, like daring to act originally, without carefully waiting for contemplation of the external world to determine all for me, suicide seemed the most manly form to put my daring into: now, I will go a step furthur with my will, not only act with it, but believe as well; believe in my individual reality and creative power.

William James

Posted by amin at 9:49 AM

the ultimate test of a truth

The ultimate test for us of what a truth means is indeed the conduct it dictates or inspires. But it inspires that conduct because it first foretells some particular turn to our experience which shall call for just that conduct from us....the effective meaning of any philosophic proposition can always be brought down to some particular consequence, in our future practical experience, whether active or passive; the point lying rather in the fact that the experience must be particular, than in the fact that it must be active.

William James - Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results

Posted by amin at 9:36 AM