When should we believe?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by James R, Sep 26, 2022.

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  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    This is Part 2 of a survey of our members' thoughts on matters of knowledge and belief. Part 1 is here:

    What is Truth?

    Consider the following statements. Try to rank them on the following 7 point scale:
    Strongly agree - Agree - Slightly Agree - Neutral - Slightly disagree - Disagree - Strongly disagree

    Please post your beliefs/rankings of these statements. However, please enclose your answers in [spoiler][/spoiler] tags so that other people aren't influenced by your answers before thinking about the statements. It is better if you do not read other people's responses before posting your own.

    Here are the statements to consider:
    1. Believing something without evidence is admirable.
    2. When something cries out for an explanation, any answer is better than no answer.
    3. It is okay to accept that something is true or false because it is comforting.
    4. I give all claims the benefit of the doubt when I first encounter them.
    5. Everyone is justified in their beliefs until they are proven wrong.
    6. The most important criterion for my beliefs is that they match reality.
     
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  3. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    I usualy dont do very good on tests but im perty sure i Aced it.!!!

    1 Believing something without evidence is admirable.
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    7

    2 When something cries out for an explanation, any answer is better than no answer.
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    7

    3 It is okay to accept that something is true or false because it is comforting.
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    7

    4 I give all claims the benefit of the doubt when I first encounter them.
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    7

    5 Everyone is justified in their beliefs until they are proven wrong.
    7

    6 The most important criterion for my beliefs is that they match reality.
    1
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    clueluss: Is 1 strongly agree or strongly disagree?
     
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Im purty sur it's stwongly agre.
     
  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    1. Believing something without evidence is admirable.
      strongly disagree
    2. When something cries out for an explanation, any answer is better than no answer.
      strongly disagree
    3. It is okay to accept that something is true or false because it is comforting.
      strongly disagree but whatever gets you though the night could apply in some situations I guess
    4. I give all claims the benefit of the doubt when I first encounter them.
      disagree but the key is "all" claims. You someone says "I don't feel well today" I give them the benefit of the doubt
    5. Everyone is justified in their beliefs until they are proven wrong.
      somewhat agree, it depends on how harmful that belief is
    6. The most important criterion for my beliefs is that they match reality.
      strongly agree
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    This strikes me as a highly tendentious set of questions. I'm out.
     
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  10. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Of course they are but he is having fun, it's his site and we're all friends, right?

    If you play along we will all find that James R. believes in absolute Truth and that morals are based on absolute truth and therefore he is correct that morals aren't relative and are absolute.

    We will agree to disagree and everyone will be buddy buddies...

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    As the immortal Rodney King said, "Can't we just all get along?"

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  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I get on fine with both of you, I think. There are relatively few sane and educated people on this site.
     
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  12. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

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    I learned a new word, thanks.

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  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    .......and you are another of those I had in mind in post 8.

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  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    1. Believing something without evidence is admirable. Slightly disagree.

    My reason for saying that is threefold.

    a. I don't think that belief is an all-or-nothing thing. I assign propositions informal plausibility weights, but my skepticism makes me leery of absolute 100% consent or absolute 100% disagreement. Whatever I believe might still be wrong, and whatever I disbelieve might still be true (even if I judge those possibilities to be vanishingly remote).

    b. I think that my answer might vary depending on what we are talking about. I have a great deal of belief/trust in the principles of logic, but don't know of what kind of evidence could justify that belief in a non-circular manner.

    c. I'm not entirely comfortable in thinking of these matters in an 'ethics of belief' fashion as quasi-moral matters of right and wrong. I'm more inclined to think of it as 'what would it take to convince me'. When we are talking about objective matters in the physical world, that will typically require evidence.

    2. When something cries out for an explanation, any answer is better than no answer. Slightly disagree.

    Speculation might be a good way to generate hypotheses. And different people might find different hypotheses more or less congenial and thus weight them differently.

    But I would also say that if we don't know, intellectual honesty (ethics of belief!) requires that we admit it. That's why I consider myself an agnostic regarding the answers to the most fundamental metaphysical questions.

    3. It is okay to accept that something is true or false because it is comforting. - Disagree

    This is the William James version of pragmatism, the idea that if we have no reason to favor one possible answer over another, we are justified in going with the answer that "works" in our life, even if that's just psychological.

    I basically agree that we might favor some possible answers over others and thus weight them a little higher. We might even decide to conduct our lives as if something is true.

    But expanding it from there to a flat-out knowledge claim is a recipe for wishful-thinking in my opinion.

    4. I give all claims the benefit of the doubt when I first encounter them. - Agree.

    I'm willing to accept them as possibilities, however remote they might seem to me. I assign propositions weights and that weight will never be zero. But the weight will never be 100 either. It will be somewhere in the middle and that will depend on how plausible the claim seems to me to be.

    5. Everyone is justified in their beliefs until they are proven wrong. - Disagree

    This one depends crucially on how we interpret 'justified'. If the belief isn't justified, then it isn't justified. Of course, that raises the question of how beliefs are justified, which open a big epistemological can of worms.

    But if we interpret 'justified' in an ethics of belief way, to mean 'has the freedom to believe things that I don't believe, especially if I can't provide convincing reasons why those beliefs wrong', then I'm a huge believer in freedom of thought.

    6. The most important criterion for my beliefs is that they match reality. - Agree

    At least for factual matters about the objective physical world. It's less obvious for things like ethical principles.

    And there's the obvious objection that none of us possess the proverbial "God's eye view" that allows us to infallibly intuit what reality is. All that each of us has is our own version of what we think reality is. And that version is almost certainly wrong in some of its details.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
  15. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I'll change my#4 to "agree" but it depends on the interpretation. I give people the benefit of the doubt meaning if you say you saw a unicorn my mind isn't closed to evidence, if you have it.

    I initially answered "disagree" mainly based on the word "all". If you say you saw a unicorn I don't think "maybe you did, why would you lie?".

    However I'm guessing that most everyone is answering these questions in the same way once the exceptions are taken care of so I don't really see the point nor has one being shown.
     
  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    1. Believing something without evidence is admirable.
    Can you provide an example of something that might be believed without evidence?

    2. When something cries out for an explanation, any answer is better than no answer.
    "Cries out for"? Can you provide an example? I'm not sure of anything that I would consider "crying out for" an explanation, so maybe an example would help.

    3. It is okay to accept that something is true or false because it is comforting.
    Agree, if you mean in the absence of any other reason upon which to make a judgement, and in a situation where a judgement has to be made.

    4. I give all claims the benefit of the doubt when I first encounter them.
    Strongly disagree. There will be some claims that, upon first encountering, I know to be wrong. Why would I then give them the benefit of the doubt?
    Since there is at least one such claim, I can not give all claims the benefit of the doubt.
    If the question was "I tend to give claims..." then I would say I am neutral. I try to make "don't know" my default, and work from there.

    5. Everyone is justified in their beliefs until they are proven wrong.
    Strongly agree. But depends what you mean by "justified". In one sense, every belief is justified, no matter how tenuous, irrelevant, or even incorrect that justification may be. Someone else may not find that justification to be a good reason, and thus consider it an unjustified belief, but if the person holds that belief then their justification is a good enough reason for them.

    6. The most important criterion for my beliefs is that they match reality.
    Disagree. The most important criterion for my beliefs is that I think they match reality. I consider myself to be open to my beliefs being wrong.
     
  17. elte Valued Senior Member

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    1)disagree. 2)disagree 3)disagree 4)disagree 5)disagree 6)agree
     
  18. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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  19. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    1. Believing something without evidence is admirable.

    Agree. Given all the wholly invented moral, statutory, methodological, administrative principles and the canon of professions that people abide by and venerate. The prescriptive stuff, the "non-is" furniture espoused by society, some of which even a scientist's critical thinking will conveniently into go dormancy over, as long as it is administrative policy stemming from the proselytizing of scholarly secular sources rather than religious ones.

    2. When something cries out for an explanation, any answer is better than no answer.

    Agree. Given that throughout history something seems to inevitably get plugged into an _X_ placeholder; and to this day can still be done with "just so stories" that sound good because establishments pay or expect experts to provide answers. Not profit or bare maintenance eradicating "I don't know" platitudes that terminate media interviews and video discussions right out of the starting gate.

    3. It is okay to accept that something is true or false because it is comforting.

    Agree. Since going back to 18th-century origins, the political/philosophical Left is basically founded on the premise of the intellectual class concocting soothing and ethically pretentious BS to comfort, manipulate, and recruit the allegiance of the "doltish" masses (replacing the traditional priests and shamans). How absurd it would be to deny that it is not a prevailing view (it's okay), given how such leftangelicalism writhes deliciously in the hindquarter crevices and nooks of academia. (May it be blessedly so forever, effendi.)

    4. I give all claims the benefit of the doubt when I first encounter them.

    Disagree. Since no posturing, personal assertion of epistemological nobility can be absolute or escape being compromised in all times, places, circumstances.

    5. Everyone is justified in their beliefs until they are proven wrong.

    Disagree. Since aside from an unbridled authoritarian administration or some super-pervasive cancel culture achieving divine sphincter-hood, who's going to stop them from carrying on their beliefs if they are proven "wrong" according to the cognitive standards of _X_ discipline, enterprise, population group, movement, etc?

    6. The most important criterion for my beliefs is that they match reality.

    Disagree. Since as aforementioned in #1 response, we believe in and revere all sorts of manufactured "ought to" affairs not discovered under a rock and not piss-free from motivated reasoning/inference, biased background theories guiding interpretation, etc.

    _
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2022
  20. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    1 is strongly agree
     
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Interesting. Why?

    What viewpoint is being pushed by asking these questions, in your opinion?
     
  22. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Maybe you can explain, too.
    Well, you're fun. But that's beside the point.
    It's not my site. I already walked you through that, did I not?
    As for friends ... are we really all friends? I don't get the impression that you consider it important that we all be friends. If you did, you'd be trying harder to make friends, I think.
    What a strange thing to say.

    A better approach might be to ask, rather than to make assumptions. Maybe try that, next time.
     
  23. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    I was hoping you could introduce me to all your friends. You seem to have the gift of making friends.
     
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