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William James' argument against William Clifford in 'The Will to Believe' is often understood in terms of doxastic efficacy, the power of belief to influence an outcome. Although that is one strand of James' argument, there is another which is driven by ampliative risk. The second strand of James' argument, when applied to scientific cases, is tantamount to what is now called the Argument from Inductive Risk. Either strand of James' argument is sufficient to rebut Clifford's strong evidentialism and show that it is sometimes permissible to believe in the absence of compelling evidence. However, the two considerations have different scope and force.


This is the Author's Accepted Manuscript. The version of record can be found here: Episteme , Volume 19 , Issue 1 , March 2022 , pp. 146 - 158 DOI:



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