The title of this article is the strong opinion of Louis Menand regarding William James’ world view. William James made it a lifetime pursuit to convince the masses that modern science and a religious faith can coexist. His development of the philosopy labeled as pragmatism allow introspective types to select from a variety of philosophical pathways which allow the the melding of science with the supernatural aspects of a faith based life.
James appeared to believe those who are certain about moral guidelines will slide into the chasm of ignorance based on their dogmatic and close minded perspective. He was a brilliant man who could never settle down into a single occupation. The only curriculum he completed was his MD degree from Harvard, but predictably never practicing or teaching medicine! Menard characterized this as conscious impulsivity, apparently to avoid the possibility of locking in on a profession or fixed point of view.
An example is the belief that abortion is always wrong irrespective of the mother’s or fetus’ health.