A Conversation for Belief

Absolute truth? Not really

Post 1


Excellent article, but I'm not sure it's fair to say that belief has to do with a conviction in the absolute truth of something. That's pretty much covered by *faith* (along with wishful thinking, credulity, etc). I would say that belief has more to do with an unconscious conviction in level of truth, generally (but not always) proportionally greater than any other options.

For instance, I believe Aberdeen to exist, but I cannot be certain of it. That doesn't stop it being a genuine belief. I believe there are no gods, but the absolute truth of that belief is a distinctly unreachable phenomenon (not least because nobody knows what a 'god' really is).

So I would say that your article is rather more about *certainty*, than it is about belief. There are only two axiomatic certainties:

1. I have experiences (from which I can extrapolate 'I exist' if I want, depending on my definition of existence).
2. There are only two certainties, and these are they.

Joss smiley - smiley

Absolute truth? Not really

Post 2

RFJS__ - trying to write an unreadable book, finding proofreading tricky

The first one I take to be a version of 'Cogito ergo sum'. It still has the problem that it presupposes an 'I'.

The second definitely isn't axiomatic, but I suspect that it was intended as a witticism anyway.

Is anything certain? Consider this:

Before you can be certain about the truth of any proposition, you need a method of testing its truth. (For the purposes of this argument the definitions of 'method' and 'test' can be extended to cover intuition, innate knowledge, etc.) So you start with method A. However, to be certain of whether method A works -- i.e. to be sure of the truth of the propostion, 'Method A produces true answers' -- you need to test it. You can't use method A to test itself, because that would be circular reasoning; if it doesn't work it might produce the false answer that it does work. So you need method B -- and, of course, you need to test it. You can't use method B for this, for the reason stated above. You can't use method A, because you can't be certain that it works. So you need method C -- and so on ad infinitum. Therefore you can never be certain of anything. I think. Or do I think? Maybe. Or not? Etc. (Or not?) smiley - erm

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