Monday, October 11, 2010

William James quote

I've been desperate to finish a chapter of the philosophy textbook I've been writing for 5 years (Argh!).  In my revised schedule, I hoped to finish chapter 9, "Free or Fated?" last Monday.  I'm very close and might be able to finish it today.

Anyway, here is a quote from William James I liked today.  Not that anyone who actually sees this book will care, but I've pursued a rather controversal approach in quotes.  I believe it is valid to translate even English writers and so there is a small element of dynamic equivalence in my rendering:
"I cannot understand the belief that an act is bad without regret at its happening. I cannot understand regret without the admission of real, genuine possibilities in the world… The great point is that the possibilities are really here. Whether it be we who solve them or he working through us is no matter. At those soul-trying moments when fate’s scales seem to quiver, when good snatches the victory from evil or to the contrary shrinks from the fight, what is important is that we acknowledge that the issue is decided nowhere else than here and now. That is what gives the palpitating reality to our moral life and makes it tingle…"

William James, The Will to Believe

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