17 January 2013

Audio of "The Will to Believe" by William James

An audio recording of "The Will to Believe" (1:00:08) by William James, read by Doug Storm.  I read from the text of the essay at Gutenberg.

First presented to an audience in 1896, this essay was published in a volume entitled The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy (1897).  The volume was dedicated to Charles Sanders Peirce.  There is too much to be said about Peirce, James and Pragmatism for me to even know where to start.  But on one level, these men were friends and colleagues.  James was an academic and popular star (Gertrude Stein was even a student); Peirce, a pariah in that world who died in poverty (even while being the son of a hugely popular and influential Harvard astronomer and mathematician).

Peirce has been called the greatest genius produced by America.

I can say nothing cogent about his work.  I will post an essay by Peirce as a "partner" to this by James, "The Fixation of Belief" which Peirce published as part of a series in Popular Science (yep).


  1. hey there, just listened to your audio recording of The Will to Believe and it was fantastic! I was very impressed by your pronunciations of the non-English language phrases, and you have a great voice as well.

    1. Thank you. You're the first comment I've gotten on any of the audio recordings.

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  3. Douglas, thank you so much for recording this essay. I have some difficulty with reading at present, and your audio version is a great help. You have a wonderful reading voice and style.

    I know little of Peirce, but you've whetted my appetite with your comment that you prefer his essay ""The Fixation of Belief." A tantalizing thought!

    Best regards, and good luck with your work!