Humanities Center

Humanities Center

Events for 2023-2024

Next Event:

Works in Progress Series: Wai Hung Wong: “William James’s ‘Epistemic’ Principles of Rationality”

wai hung wong

Friday, December 1st

12:00 PM, Humanities Center, PAC 113

Wai-hung Wong is a professor in the Department of Philosophy specializing in epistemology and metaphysics.

William James’s celebrated essay “The Will to Believe” is widely regarded as an important contribution to the topics of evidentialism, reasons for belief, and the ethics of belief. Although most commentators interpret James as offering a pragmatic justification of faith, there are two principles of rationality James employs which appear to be epistemic in nature. If these principles are genuinely epistemic, James’s argument may have general implications for epistemology, and hence may have been unfairly neglected by epistemologists. The main purpose of this paper is to explain how the two principles in question look epistemic, but actually are not. James’s argument is, in the end, just a convoluted version of Pascal’s wager, albeit a cleverly disguised one.

2023-2024 Theme: Water

Water is at once both simple and complex.  A vital life element, essential to any species’ survival, water is threatened by human activity. Water is at the heart of politics and culture, news and information, science, and technology. We seek it; we fight over it; we yearn for it. It is an eternal inspiration for writers and artists. Whether it is drought or receding glaciers, atmospheric rivers or massive flooding, water is everywhere.

The Humanities Center is the interdisciplinary heart of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. Our purpose is to create and nurture a culture of ideas at Chico State and to engage our diverse intellectual community through public events.  During the 2023-24 year, the Humanities Center will host a series of lectures and films exploring our human relationships with water. 

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