This article investigates the history of the relation between idealism and pragmatism by examining the importance of the French idealist Charles Renouvier for the development of William James's ‘Will to Believe’. By focusing on French idealism, we obtain a broader understanding of the kinds of idealism on offer in the nineteenth century. First, I show that Renouvier's unique methodological idealism led to distinctively pragmatist doctrines and that his theory of certitude and its connection to freedom is worthy of reconsideration. Second, I argue that the technical vocabulary and main structure of the argument from the ‘Will to Believe’ depend upon Renouvier's idealist theory of knowledge and psychology of belief, and that taking account of this line of influence is of crucial importance for establishing the correct interpretation of James's work.
 The rediscovery of Idealism is an unmistakable feature of contemporary philosophy. Heavily criticised by the dominant philosophies of the twentieth century, it is being reconsidered in the twenty-first as a rich and untapped resource for contemporary philosophical arguments and concepts. Since no one-volume introduction to Idealist philosophy has appeared for many years, this book will seek both to account for this renewed interest, and to provide a comprehensive portrait of the major arguments and philosophers in the Idealist tradition. Idealism is philosophy on a grand scale, combining micro and macroscopic problems into systematic accounts of everything from the nature of the universe to the particulars of human feeling. In consequence, it offers perspectives on everything from the natural to the social sciences, from ecology to critical theory. Since Idealism is sometimes considered anti-science, however, this book places particular emphasis on its naturalism.