The ethics of belief

If a chemist tells me, who am no chemist, that a certain substance can be made by putting together other substances in certain proportions and subjecting them to a known process, I am quite justified in believing this upon his authority, unless I know anything against his character or his judgment.

The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.

So great was the noise they made, that a Commission was appointed to investigate the facts; but after the Commission had carefully inquired into all the evidence that could be got, it appeared that the accused were innocent.

What shall we say of him? It is only too possible for a child to grow up in London surrounded by an atmosphere of beliefs fit only for the savage, which have in our own time been founded in fraud and propagated by credulity.

And surely no triumph of social morality can be greater or nobler than that which has kept nearly half the human race from persecuting in the name of religion. The philosophical reflections of Victorian mathematicians are unlikely to be uppermost in our twenty-first-century minds.

Ethics of belief

He may quite honestly believe that this statement is a fair inference from his experiments, but in that case his judgment is at fault. But if my visitor were a real visitor, and for a long time gave me information which was found to be trustworthy, this would indeed be good ground for trusting him in the future as to The ethics of belief matters as fall within human powers of verification; but it would not be ground for trusting his testimony as to any other matters.

He had acquired his belief not by honestly earning it in patient investigation, but by stifling his doubts. The ethicist of belief will thus need to specify the type of value she is invoking, why and how she thinks it can ground doxastic norms, whether it is The ethics of belief only kind of value that does that, and if not what the priority relations are between norms based in different kinds of value.

Every time we let ourselves believe for unworthy reasons, we weaken our powers of self-control, of doubting, of judicially and fairly weighing evidence. But if an old whaler tells us that the ice is feet thick all the way up to the Pole, we shall not be justified in believing him.

Be thorough in your intellectual work. These are given as conceptions, not as statements or propositions; they answer to certain definite instincts which are certainly within us, however they came there. Upper Saddle River, NJ: In other words, it is prudent, given your ends, to withhold belief about the source of the aroma altogether, or even to believe, if possible, that he is not smoking pot but rather burning incense in your absence.

Such considerations apply even more obviously and clearly, if possible, to the store of beliefs and conceptions which our fathers have amassed for us in respect of the material world. Be wary of beliefs that align with your self-interest.

A awful privilege, and an awful responsibility, that we should help to create the world in which posterity will live.

We assume, then, that the unknown bright lines in the sun are like the known bright lines of the laboratory, and that hydrogen in the sun behaves as hydrogen under similar circumstances would behave on the earth. For although his tested character would justify me in believing that he spoke the truth so far as he knew, yet the same question would present itself—what ground is there for supposing that he knows?

Rather, the obligation always and only to believe on sufficient evidence governs our activities across time as well. Certainly not; we have no right to believe anything of this kind. We feel much happier and more secure when we think we know precisely what to do, no matter what happens, then when we have lost our way and do not know where to turn.

One argument for the claim that knowledge is the norm of belief seeks to infer that result from the claim that knowledge is the aim of belief. Could such a man speak falsely about solemn things? Certainly, we want to know a little more before this inference can be justified; and fortunately we do know this.

He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs. We may go beyond experience by assuming that what we do not know is like what we do know; or, in other words, we may add to our experience on the assumption of a uniformity in nature.

I cannot be sure, in the first place, that the celestial visitor is not a figment of my own mind, and that the information did not come to me, unknown at the time to my consciousness, through some subtle channel of sense. One reason that this position can seem counterintuitive is that an important role that norms often play is that of guiding action.

He set forth strict conditions for when it was OK to believe without intellectually adequate evidence. Rowman and Littlefield, — And although in the end he may have felt so sure about it that he could not think otherwise, yet inasmuch as he had knowingly and willingly worked himself into that frame of mind, he must be held responsible for it.

It is never lawful to stifle a doubt; for either it can be honestly answered by means of the inquiry already made, or else it proves that the inquiry was not complete. There Clifford argued for a strict form of evidentialism that he summed up in a famous dictum: In the first case he is lying, and his moral character is to blame; in the second case he is ignorant or mistaken, and it is only his knowledge or his judgment which is in fault.

A suspicion got abroad that the professors of this religion had made use of unfair means to get their doctrines taught to children. When we come to look into the matter, we find that we have really assumed the matter of the sun to be like the matter of the earth, made up of a certain number of distinct substances; and that each of these, when very hot, has a distinct rate of vibration, by which it may be recognised and singled out from the rest.The Ethics of Belief [William Kingdon Clifford, William James] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

William Kingdon Clifford's excellent treatise The Ethics of Belief is in 5/5(6). The “ethics of belief” refers to a cluster of questions at the intersection of epistemology, ethics, philosophy of mind, and psychology. The central question in the debate is whether there are.

The Ethics of Belief

Books W. K. Clifford and ‘The Ethics of Belief’ by Tim Madigan Jon Wainwright finds it easy to believe Tim Madigan. The philosophical reflections of Victorian mathematicians are unlikely to.

of over 20, results for "ethics of belief" The Ethics Of Belief Aug 12, by William Kingdon Clifford and William James. Paperback.

The Ethics of Belief (1877)

$ $ 9 95 Prime. The ethics of belief refers to a cluster of related issues that focus on standards of rational belief, intellectual excellence, and conscientious belief-formation.

Smith resumes his discussion of whether beliefs per se can be immoral. Some readers may recall that I began this series by discussing the ethics of belief, only to get sidetracked into considering.

The ethics of belief
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