Project #162461 - Compare and Contrast

General Tutors

Subject General
Due By (Pacific Time) 01/14/2017 12:00 am

*Please read all of the instructions so you will address all of the points that are required for this assignment. 

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Case 1

W.K. Clifford wrote:

“To sum up: 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, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it -- the life of that man is one long sin against mankind..”

Is Clifford correct that it is wrong to believe something without good reasons? Please give an example of when an incorrect belief hurt innocent people. Does this mean we should never believe something without good reasons? Why or why not? What reasons support your claim?

Case 2

William James wrote:

“I began by a reference to Fitz James Stephen; let me end by a quotation from him. What do you think of yourself? What do you think of the world? . . . These are questions with which all must deal as it seems good to them. They are riddles of the Sphinx, and in some way or other we must deal with them. . . . In all important transactions of life we have to take a leap in the dark.... If we decide to leave the riddles unanswered, that is a choice; if we waver in our answer, that, too, is a choice: but whatever choice we make, we make it at our peril. If a man chooses to turn his back altogether on God and the future, no one can prevent him; no one can show beyond reasonable doubt that he is mistaken. If a man thinks otherwise and acts as he thinks, I do not see that anyone can prove that he is mistaken. Each must act as he thinks best; and if he is wrong, so much the worse for him. We stand on a mountain pass in the midst of whirling snow and blinding mist through which we get glimpses now and then of paths which may be deceptive. If we stand still we shall be frozen to death. If we take the wrong road we shall be dashed to pieces. We do not certainly know whether there is any right one. What must we do? ‘Be strong and of a good courage.' Act for the best, hope for the best, and take what comes. . . . If death ends all, we cannot meet death better."


James argues that each of us is free to follow our passional natures. We are free to believe whatever we like. According to James, it is not immoral to believe some things without good reason. What do you think? Please think of an example where following our passional natures in situations where intellectual reasoning is not possible may lead to bad consequences. Does this mean that James’ argument is wrong? Why or why not? What reasons support your claim?             


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