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In this essay Rorty takes up the issue of what James is really getting at in his "Will to Believe", and in the process Rorty adds some corrections to James and fills in a great deal of background about 20th and 21st century takes on belief and truth. 

His ultimate question is: is religious faith intellectually responsible and if it is in what way is it? His answer, to make the long essay short, is that it is under the condition that the act of faith fall under his characterization of romanticism. So, Rorty is for his redefinition of religious faith but in the process he decisively rejects any idea that there is some real being outside us to which we owe anything and to whom/which we are to look for guidance. tr is not that Rorty denies that we can believe anything  we like in a religious sense. All he wants to establish is that such beliefs have to remain private, which means that they cannot be advanced in any publicforum as if they were claims deserving consideration as utilitarian descriptions of reality.

Let me be clearer: Rorty believes first that no religious claim can have anything to do with prediction and control and second that this privileges faith claims that bear exactly no resemblance to claims that assert prediction and control. Thus the vaguer and less God-centered the faith claim is the better it is because the easier it is to hold and use. Claims that make specific assertions about God and his interactions with the world appear to say that religious believers know things about forces that will help them control and predict the future. But Rorty thinks such claims, when made publicly as candidates for shared belief, are strictly non-starters. They cannot stand up to any ordinary test for predictive and controlling claims. We can freely believe such claims in what he calls a 'symbolic' way, act as if these were true, but always understand that such claims are entirely indefensible in any public discussion.

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