will to believe
Term coined by James in a lecture of the same name (1896) for the claim that he associated with pragmatism, that what we believe may be determined not just by evidence, but by the utility of the resulting states of mind. It thus becomes legitimate to believe in free will or to believe in God, because such states of mind have beneficial effects on the believer. The doctrine caused outrage from the beginning. See also Pascal's wager.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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