• Judaka
    1.3k
    Beliefs are can be judged by the coherency of the logic employed, their validity, their consistency and other evaluations which focus on essentially directly gauging the belief's quality. Regardless of this "quality", beliefs make up a person's understanding of themselves and what goes on around them. The impact of a belief on how a person perceives themselves and what goes on around them can also be measured as an impact on the effect of their perception or interpretation in other areas. These impacts on other areas could generally be characterised as emotional, psychological, financial, social and any number of additional categories.

    A case study for this could be narcissism, which encourages uneven and even delusional thinking. Biased to the extent that one is no longer fair or reasonable in their characterisations - particularly of themselves. A narcissist's confidence and self-assured nature relieve the pressure of normal stresses and anxieties, they're happier than the average person and benefit in a variety of other areas too. Of course, there are some downsides to being a narcissist but for argument's sake, let's say it's a net benefit.

    A few articles on this for those who have got an interest.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191029080728.htm
    https://www.bbc.com/news/education-50184281
    https://www.psychologymatters.asia/psychology_news/4874/advantages-of-being-narcissistic.html

    This is not a discussion about narcissism though, it is just an example that might reveal someone's preferences for validity versus product in thought.

    Another example could be viewing the objective vs relative morality debate through the consequences of each being held by the majority in a society as opposed to which is correct. For example, that one led to decreased crime, increased feelings of safety, purpose, belonging and so on and was thus producing superior effects. If you knew that the one which produced the superior effects was the one you believed to be incorrect, would you oppose its promotion or support it?

    Feel free to suggest any of your own examples for discussion on this topic.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    I think that your thread topic is a good one, viewing beliefs according to how they work for people. An individual's beliefs can contribute to wellbeing, or be detrimental, and I am sure that this is true on a social level too. It also leads me to think about the cognitive behavioral therapy approach, in which people are enabled to examine the underlying assumptions which they have in daily life.

    The example of narcissism is useful, and the links to the articles too. I had not come across much research on the way in which narcissism can be beneficial. However, that is because I have read mainly on the psychodynamic perspective, especially in relation to people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. They are usually experience narcissism in a way which attacks their sense of identity and wellbeing, rather than gaining strength from it. I would imagine that the reason why the focus has been upon the negative side of narcissism has been because those who struggle with the potential problems arising from it is are the ones who come to attention within psychiatry. However, I think that there are so many people who are rather grandiose, and the only problem which I see with this is they can be overpowering towards others who have less self esteem.

    Your approach is almost utilitarianism brought to the philosophy of beliefs. Thinking about other examples, I think that an interesting contrasting example to narcissism is belief in God, because for so many people that worked. But, that is not to say that it hasn't caused problems for many people, or social problems.
    But, the reason why I am thinking about this example, is connected to your previous thread on narration.

    I will explain what I mean. If you think about the religious person, their inner narrative is often in dialogue with a personal God In contrast to this, as many do not have religious beliefs, inner dialogue is often in connection with significant others and people in general. So, in that way, a sense of self is often based on others' opinions and the social construction of identity.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    881
    If you knew that the one which produced the superior effects was the one you believed to be incorrect, would you oppose its promotion or support it?Judaka

    Depends on who I'm addressing and where I am. If i'm posting on a philosophy forum as some random dude on the internet than I don't think the ideas I promote will have much of an effect on way or the other, so I just try to stick to saying whatever I think is true regardless of effects. But when I'm talking to kids for instance, an idea being correct or incorrect is hardly the only thing that matters. So yeah, how people will receive what you say matters, that's an important part of communication.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.4k
    This is not a discussion about narcissism though, it is just an example that might reveal someone's preferences for validity versus product in thought.Judaka

    Is narcissism an example of someone's preference? It's selection seems to be external, e.g. modernity is producing more narcissists.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    It makes sense that you brought up cognitive behavioural therapy because of how it is a deep dive into how thoughts can be invalid or detrimental. This kind of thing is central to how I evaluate beliefs, ideas and attitudes. I don't believe a belief is a good one just because it fails to clash with what could be or is factual, I want to evaluate its ability to produce desirable outcomes. It gets a bit trickier in philosophy because it's hard to argue on behalf of a philosophy on the basis of what it does for you personally, that's not a great debating technique. And for society, it's hard to isolate one particular idea like, moral relativism, for example, and conclude what it's responsible for doing or avoiding. I imagine for cognitive behavioural therapy, the therapist would still aim to ensure that your beliefs are valid and true, they wouldn't promote something like narcissism even if they recognised the benefits. I'm not sure about that, do you know?

    The example of narcissism is useful, and the links to the articles too. I had not come across much research on the way in which narcissism can be beneficial.Jack Cummins

    I couldn't say whether it was actually beneficial or detrimental on average, probably we would want to break it down by the nuance differences in narcissists but I'm sure some people are better off for it and some worse off for it. Personally, I encourage behaviours on the basis of an analysis of practical benefit, even if I know it's untruthful. If everyone thinks they're slightly better and more important than they actually are, without going too far, that seems nice to me.

    I will explain what I mean. If you think about the religious person, their inner narrative is often in dialogue with a personal God In contrast to this, as many do not have religious beliefs, inner dialogue is often in connection with significant others and people in general. So, in that way a sense of self is often based on others' opinions and the social construction of identity.Jack Cummins

    I agree religiosity must impact one's narration considerably and I'd be interested in seeing what emotional, psychological and moral benefits might be produced. I believe that these kinds of considerations are more important than being overly concerned about how probable one's religious beliefs are. We don't have to stop at such effects, we could try to measure or evaluate whatever criteria we might suspect to be affected and worthwhile to know about.

    The only thing that we need to be careful about is to not be too eager to accept the bad with the good. However, I think we can usually deal with these things without throwing everything out entirely. We can examine a religious narrator and spot particularities about their style which can be removed without attributing that undesirable characteristic as a necessary component of religious narration. We shouldn't be too eager to go to such extremes, even though I'm atheist, I think a religious narration that is overwhelmingly net beneficial can be achieved and that should be where the emphasis is placed.

    So, in that way a sense of self is often based on others' opinions and the social construction of identity.Jack Cummins

    Sure.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    881
    Feel free to suggest any of your own examples for discussion on this topic.Judaka

    To put a bit of a spin on the thread, and maybe this is not the direction you had in mind (so feel free to ignore it), I don't think public dialogue, the beliefs we bounce around in society, is about accuracy and validity in the first place. It think it's about where we want to go, and what we should do to get there... so not about "is" but about "ought be" (descriptive vs prescriptive).

    Beliefs about "ought be" are not truth-apt in the same way as descriptive "is" claims are. As a moral constructivist I think looking at what kind of effects moral beliefs produce is in fact the way in which you would assess the "accuracy" of that kind of belief.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    Fair, context is crucial.

    Though I don't pay attention to how I'm received on the internet, I know nobody cares. As for developing my thinking, I don't like the idea of being trapped in the matter of true answer to somebody else's question. A valid response to a question like "is God real" should be "why do you even care to debate this?". Well, maybe I won't actually post that response but that's what I think about their thread. Briefly looking over your threads, you do tend to ask questions beyond the scope of what is true. Your threads could be answered by speaking in terms of and often include a challenge of analysing pros and cons. So even though you say that you aim to speak about only what is true, it seems mostly you are questioning what we should or shouldn't be doing, which I like.

    I don't think public dialogue, the beliefs we bounce around in society, is about accuracy and validity in the first place. It think it's about where we want to go, and what we should do to get there... so not about "is" but about "ought be" (descriptive vs prescriptive).ChatteringMonkey

    It depends on the context but I'm not arguing against this understanding. If the context isn't appropriate for competing narratives of validity versus product such as "how should we address X" then I see this topic as irrelevant. Both how things are currently, where we want to go and how we should go about getting there are all relevant questions and they're all important.

    We can't only ask what is the situation with X, that is not a valid answer. We can't answer what to do without understanding how things are either. We need both.

    It's only situations where there's a competing narrative where this "versus' can apply. That a descriptive claim like "I am intelligent and beautiful" we get to choose to emphasise the reasonableness or validity of the claim versus how these beliefs are making the individual feel about themselves. Does that make sense? Or rather, do you agree with what I'm saying?

    Is narcissism an example of someone's preference? It's selection seems to be external, e.g. modernity is producing more narcissists.Kenosha Kid

    Perhaps someone's preference plays a role in that? But actually, I meant how we feel about narcissism could reveal our preferences. Like if we're asked to evaluate a narcissist, do we bemoan their inaccurate understanding or celebrate how happy, confident and stress-free they are? Assuming that's our view.
  • unenlightened
    5.7k
    Feel free to suggest any of your own examples for discussion on this topic.Judaka

    I suggest this example.

    Beliefs are can be judged by the coherency of the logic employed, their validity, their consistency and other evaluations which focus on essentially directly gauging the belief's quality.Judaka

    It is of the utmost important to acknowledge the difference between logic and psychologic. Psychologic is necessarily reflexive and self-referential. Thus the belief that beliefs can be evaluated in these ways, needs to evaluate itself first and foremost, or fall into performative contradiction.

    This is to assume that this is a belief, rather than a mere observation that folks do as matter of fact, or even of necessity, make such judgements and evaluations even if there is no rationale behind them.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    881
    Though I don't pay attention to how I'm received on the internet, I know nobody cares. As for developing my thinking, I don't like the idea of being trapped in the matter of true answer to somebody else's question. A valid response to a question like "is God real" should be "why do you even care to debate this?". Well, maybe I won't actually post that response but that's what I think about their thread. Briefly looking over your threads, you do tend to ask questions beyond the scope of what is true. Your threads could be answered by speaking in terms of and often include a challenge of analysing pros and cons. So even though you say that you aim to speak about only what is true, it seems mostly you are questioning what we should or shouldn't be doing, which I like.Judaka

    I hadn't looked at my posts quite in that way, but good observation, I do tend to think that what matters, or what is valuable, is the most important question.

    We can't only ask what is the situation with X, that is not a valid answer. We can't answer what to do without understanding how things are either. We need both.Judaka

    Yes I agree, you can't really make good judgements about where to go if you don't really know where you are.

    It's only situations where there's a competing narrative where this "versus' can apply. That a descriptive claim like "I am intelligent and beautiful" we get to choose to emphasise the reasonableness or validity of the claim versus how these beliefs are making the individual feel about themselves. Does that make sense?Judaka

    Yeah, you're talking about descriptive claims... Ok. Though question, because yes context matters. For the purpose of the thread I understand that you coined the question in terms of accuracy of a belief VS product or effect a belief has. But I do wonder if that dichotomy still holds in practice. In case of the narcissist maybe in practice its more a question of short term effects (hurt feelings, blow to the ego) vs long term effects (a more reasonable self-image) that is the effective difference. I know I used to be more cognizant of other peoples feelings and identity, but since have slided more to the idea that in the long term truth is probably more beneficial even if short-term it might have adverse effects on someone. Like, if you don't tell the narcissist that he has an inflated idea of himself, someone else down the line probably will or the world will confront him with his deluded self-image.

    So to conclude I would say that, if we would know for a fact that it would have bad effects on someone, short and long-term, then yes I wouldn't necessarily confront them with it... but usually I don't think we know that, it's hard to know what the effects will be, and so I would err on the side of accuracy because in general I think that is beneficial in itself.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    What is psychologic?


    In case of the narcissist maybe in practice its more a question of short term effects (hurt feelings, blow to the ego) vs long term effects (a more reasonable self-image) that is the effective difference.ChatteringMonkey

    If one's narcissism could be removed so easily then it's not long for this world anyway. The narcissism example is more to portray a case where one confers practical benefit through being uneven or wrong in their thinking. Another example could be a Christian who is charitable, compassionate, has a sense of belonging and more, this could potentially take precedence over an atheist's disapproval of what he sees as the Christian's incorrect beliefs or it might not. If the Christian is convinced to be an atheist, perhaps all of those valuable traits will diminish or disappear with the beliefs.

    Alternatively, there's the other example of:
    Another example could be viewing the objective vs relative morality debate through the consequences of each being held by the majority in a society as opposed to which is correct. For example, that one led to decreased crime, increased feelings of safety, purpose, belonging and so on and was thus producing superior effects. If you knew that the one which produced the superior effects was the one you believed to be incorrect, would you oppose its promotion or support it?Judaka

    Or anything you want to put forward. But if the discussion is about, whether narcissism is actually beneficial or not, whether it's better to get rid of it in the long-term, these questions fall outside the scope of this discussion. It only really gets interesting when we admit or speculate that the benefits exist but the belief is invalid, faulty, lopsided, wrong. Otherwise, the answer is obvious. I agree that if we have no strong feelings about whether there's a benefit to being inaccurate then we should try to be accurate.

    I will just add as a side note that it is entirely reasonable to say that narcissism should be challenged and my position is that both harmful and beneficial variants exist. I added it as an example because I've been thinking about it lately but in hindsight, I should've stuck to less controversial examples. :yum:
  • ChatteringMonkey
    881
    Another example could be a Christian who is charitable, compassionate, has a sense of belonging and more, this could potentially take precedence over an atheist's disapproval of what he sees as the Christian's incorrect beliefs or it might not. If the Christian is convinced to be an atheist, perhaps all of those valuable traits will diminish or disappear with the beliefs.Judaka

    That's maybe a better example, because it's I think well documented that de-conversion is actually a very difficult process that doesn't happen overnight. So one could rightly ask whether it would a good thing to try to de-convert some older religious person just because it would lead to more accurate beliefs.

    It only really gets interesting when we admit or speculate that the benefits exist but the belief is invalid, faulty, lopsided, wrong. Otherwise, the answer is obvious. I agree that if we have no strong feelings about whether there's a benefit to being inaccurate then we should try to be accurate.Judaka

    Right, here's the thing though, why would it be an interesting question if not because we assume that truth has some beneficial effects? What would an argument that says accuracy/truth should trump benefit regardless even look like? I don't think truth for truth sake makes a whole lot of sense... so I guess that is my answer, truth has utility, and insofar that utility doesn't weight up against the utility of say the belief a religious person has (or dis-utility that person would experience), truth isn't worth it.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    I know that your thread is not about narcissism, and that is only the example you are using. What I feel is that some people who seem to see your discussion as being part of psychology rather than philosophy, is the way in which the two overlap. I believe that the idea of narcissism is on this edge.

    The reason why I think this is because a couple of weeks ago I was discussing Nietzsche's and nihilism on another thread. During that discussion, the idea that reading and talking about Nietzsche could be seen as posturing arose. This lead me to reflect on narcissism, even though I did not mention this in the reply which I wrote. But, what I was thinking about at that time was the relationship between philosophy and narcissism, especially in the context of Nietzsche's ideas. It was in that context that I began wondering about how in the feeling of loss of a sense of a relationship with a personal sense of God that an inflated, narcissistic emphasis on the image of self in relation to other people may arise.

    I am aware that you are only using the idea of narcissism as an example, but I think that it is so interesting that you used this as an example. I believe that it is such an interesting area, for philosophy, not just psychology.
  • unenlightened
    5.7k
    What is psychologic?Judaka

    Hmm. I wonder why that is the question. I had thought the context gave the sense clearly enough. When one talks about faculties of the mind such as 'belief' and 'judgement' one is always speaking reflexively about something one is doing and being in speaking. This makes justification of ones' psychological theories rather difficult. This is what I am pointing out that you are not even trying to do in the op; rather you present as uncontroversial a measurable, and thus scientific psychology that does not even see the judgements and beliefs that it itself presents as factual (Beliefs), with not a hint of application of
    the criteria of judgement to the theory itself. This is completely usual in psychology, but a dreadfully naive piece of philosophy that largely explains why psychology always thinks that its new theory is correct and all its old ones were nonsense. In short, science presumes the observer, but psychology must observe the observer; insight is not logically the same as observation. One can even suggest that a psychological theory must either be itself narcissistic or psychopathic.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    That's maybe a better exampleChatteringMonkey

    It's just one foot down the rabbit hole of valuing practical benefit over accuracy and validity!

    Right, here's the thing though, why would it be an interesting question if not because we assume that truth has some beneficial effects. What would an argument that says accuracy/truth should trump benefit regardless even look like?ChatteringMonkey

    It's pretty much the status quo but no argument has to be made in 99% of cases. Just disregard benefit. How many debates about theism cross over into the territory of whether people should even be trying to convert each other? Or whether one outperforms the other in the area of benefit? Truth-value doesn't go that deep, you simply call the other party wrong, deluded, invalid, unreasonable and walk away.

    so I guess that is my answer, truth has utility, and insofar that utility doesn't weight up against the utility of say the belief a religious person has (or dis-utility that person would experience), truth isn't worth it.ChatteringMonkey

    I see. How would you determine when it's better to accept the utility of a belief or criticise someone for being wrong? And could you see yourself promoting a falsehood you knew to be false because you thought it'd be of benefit to others?
  • ChatteringMonkey
    881
    It's pretty much the status quo but no argument has to be made in 99% of cases. Just disregard benefit. How many debates about theism cross over into the territory of whether people should even be trying to convert each other? Or whether one outperforms the other in the area of benefit? Truth-value doesn't go that deep, you simply call the other party wrong, deluded, invalid, unreasonable and walk away.Judaka

    Yes and I think the tacit assumption there is that truth is valuable, which it is... generally. It's a bit like linking someones actions to those of nazi's or thugs, its an appeal to shared underlying valuations.

    I see. How would you determine when it's better to accept the utility of a belief or criticise someone for being wrong? And could you see yourself promoting a falsehood you knew to be false because you thought it'd be of benefit to others?Judaka

    I definitely have kept my opinion to myself on occasion, often that is with people I know very well that have certain beliefs and I know they are very unlikely to change their mind, because I tried before... in which case I don't see the point in trying to convince them otherwise.

    But actively promoting falsehood is difficult, because I do believe in the value of truth, and so it doesn't come naturally. I guess that it is - more than a benefit or utility calculation - more a matter of virtue-building for me. You try to practice good habits that you think will be good longterm, and actively promoting falsehoods seem counter to that even if it would be beneficial (which is, as I alluded to before, difficult to assess in practice anyway, that is one of the problems with consequentialism).

    So ultimately I do think there is something to telling the truth regardless. I seem to have completely changed my mind in the span of two post, which I have to admit does seem a bit questionable :-)... but thank you for pushing me on this point.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    But actively promoting falsehood is difficult, because I do believe in the value of truth, and so it doesn't come naturally. I guess that it is - more than a benefit or utility calculation - more a matter of virtue-building for me. You try to practice good habits that you think will be good longterm, and actively promoting falsehoods seem counter to that even if it would be beneficialChatteringMonkey

    Well, I at least agree that in 99.99% of cases, you should wish to be as accurate as possible. I don't think people should be willy-nilly making things up because it's convenient or useful to do so.

    Whether we're discussing this question about telling the truth, forcing others to conform to your understanding of what is true, leveraging your doubt about what is true and making convenient assumptions, aiming to be accurate in your understanding versus aiming for concrete practical benefits like what you might get out of narcissism, actively promoting falsehood to others and deceiving them, can all be regarded differently. Your dedication to truth isn't compromised by restraining yourself from trying to convert someone to atheism, it's certainly not the same as preaching there is a God because you believe people will be better off believing there is one. Believing you are incredibly handsome and intelligent when you're just average may not even infringe on the truth - there's some subjectivity to these matters.

    In aiming to be accurate, valid, logical, reasonable, we can stray from what is true and enter into consistency and reasonableness. A narcissist may not be technically saying anything untrue, their views are just lopsided, in a way that can often lead to conclusions that are unlikely to play out as they expect.

    Your response of "tell the truth regardless" in the context of converting someone and purposefully spreading falsehood seems to have two different meanings.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.4k
    But actually, I meant how we feel about narcissism could reveal our preferences.Judaka

    Ah, I getcha! Thanks for clarifying.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    I don't think I could restate your criticism back to you in a way that you'd agree with, I'll take the blame for that and if you don't want to engage further that's fine but I'll try and you could correct me.

    You are saying that one's judgements of something being valid or invalid are using the same faculty of reason as the thing they're characterising as valid or invalid, thus if one's judgement is flawed then it's the worst tool to be used to determine what those flaws are or something like that? You want to include a discussion or admission about the flaws of the observer, to levy criticism at the "insight" of the observer?

    This is what I am pointing out that you are not even trying to do in the op; rather you present as uncontroversial a measurable,unenlightened

    I didn't make any normative statement that people should do those things listed, they just can and do attempt to make such judgements. I see them as relative, subjective, whatever, I'm not defending them as having any particular status. It is just so that people have views on the supposed validity or invalidity of their ideas, including psychological ones, and act in accordance with these beliefs. Less controversially with beliefs on other subjects. I don't think I did the things you're accusing me of not doing but what do I have to differently and why?
  • unenlightened
    5.7k
    It is just so that people have views on the supposed validity or invalidity of their ideas, including psychological ones, and act in accordance with these beliefs.Judaka

    It is certainly true that people have views on the validity of their views, the truth of their beliefs, and so on.

    {I would suggest that they think their views are valid and their beliefs are true, and as soon as they think their beliefs are untrue, they stop believing them, and as soon as they think their view is invalid, they take a different view. I call it 'changing one's mind'. It is just so that I do it, and I think everyone else does too. }

    All the above in curly brackets amounts to something we might call 'folk psychology', the first principle of which is that we all operate very broadly the same way, such that we agree about what it means to believe, or to make a judgement. And I feel fairly safe in saying that whenever someone believes something it means they think it is true.

    Beliefs are can be judged by the coherency of the logic employed, their validity, their consistency and other evaluations which focus on essentially directly gauging the belief's quality.Judaka

    And I assume (as per my own folk psychology views above) you feel fairly confident in the above claim, (unless you are bullshitting). So I am asking you to judge the coherency of your logic,

    the validity of your claim, and make those other evaluations as to whether or not your own belief as here stated is of any quality at all. Is it reasonable? Can you reason to it?

    I didn't make any normative statementJudaka

    I'm going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that although you didn't explicitly make a normative statement, you are not just making factual statements or fictional statements at random. And thus you are actually recommending that we should do these things, at least if we want to be taken at all seriously on a philosophy site. That would be my position, anyway.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    It is certainly true that people have views on the validity of their views, the truth of their beliefs, and so on.unenlightened


    I made a factual statement about what people do.

    Beliefs are can be judged by the coherency of the logic employed, their validity, their consistency and other evaluations which focus on essentially directly gauging the belief's quality. Regardless of this "quality", beliefs make up a person's understanding of themselves and what goes on around them. The impact of a belief on how a person perceives themselves and what goes on around them can also be measured as an impact on the effect of their perception or interpretation in other areas. These impacts on other areas could generally be characterised as emotional, psychological, financial, social and any number of additional categories.Judaka

    This is to say that whatever "quality" a person thinks their beliefs have, they (these beliefs, as things which factually exist) act upon a person. They also (as things that exist) act upon us in ways we could attempt to measure or explain. That a person's evaluation of their beliefs or the consequences of their beliefs is flawed or done imperfectly wasn't the main subject of this thread.

    Can a belief be judged (including the possibilities of that judgement being done imperfectly, unsoundly, unwisely, inaccurately, subjectively) in all the ways I said? Yes. What logic am I employing that is different from yours?
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