• Mackensie
    2
    W.K. Clifford’s Argument on Evidentialism:
    1. If all beliefs are important and affect mankind, then it is wrong to believe something with insufficient evidence.
    2. All beliefs are important and have some effect on mankind.
    C. Therefore, it is wrong to believe something with insufficient evidence.

    My counterargument to Clifford:
    1. If all beliefs are important and affect mankind, then it is wrong to believe something with insufficient evidence.
    2. My belief that coffee is the most delicious drink in the universe is not important and does not affect all of mankind.
    C. Therefore, it is not wrong to believe something with insufficient evidence.

    My belief that coffee is the most delicious drink in the universe has no rational grounding. It just so happens to be the drink that fires the right neurons causing me to most pleasure from drinking it. My enjoyment of coffee has no effect on mankind. If I were to have a good or bad cup of coffee, it would not result in me causing the downfall of western society and it also would not detract from my ability to contribute something monumental to society—such as curing cancer. I simply enjoy it, with no other reason to support my opinion. With this in mind, there does in fact exist an opinion without grounds, but does not affect all of mankind. Therefore, Clifford is making a hasty generalization in his argument.

    Another issue I had with Clifford in “The Ethics of Belief” is when he wrote “when an action is done, it is right or wrong forever.” Looking back to my example about coffee, if I suddenly decide that I do not like coffee anymore, then it is not wrong forever. Clifford’s statement prevents people from changing their minds. If his principle were applied to, where participants constantly evaluate arguments and ideas, there would be no room for intellectual growth as a result of an analysis of other ideas. It would be extremely difficult to learn and develop new ideas.
  • TheMadFool
    7.1k
    I don't know but your coffee preference - you thinking it to be the most delicious drink in the world - is subjective and the word on that is "De gustibus non est disputandum". There's no problem believing anything at all if it's a matter of taste.

    I think W. K. Clifford's notion of epistemic responsibility is centered on objective beliefs, beliefs that, all taken together, form the framework of knowledge we operate within.

    The difference between the two is that there's no such thing as a wrong subjective belief and if there are any consequences that follow from differences in such beliefs, they're trivial - at most a pointless verbal duel - but objective beliefs are a whole new ballgame in that you can be wrong and the consequences can be serious, even deadly.

    The real is that which hurts you badly, often fatally, when you don't respect it, and is as unavoidable as it is whatever preceeds-resists-exceeds all (of our) rational categories and techniques of control (e.g. ambiguity, transfinitude, contingency, uncertainty, randomness). The real encompasses reason (Jaspers) and itself cannot be encompassed (Spinoza / Cantor) ... like that 'void within which all atoms swirl' (Epicurus). Thus, Rosset's principle of 'indispensible yet insufficient' reason (à la Zapffe, Camus, Meillassoux-Brassier). — 180 Proof

    @180 Proof...a penny for your thoughts.
  • wonderer1
    1


    FYI, your counterargument commits the fallacy of denying the antecedent.
  • Olivier5
    233
    I never understood this belief that all beliefs are bad. It’s absurd. We are not zombies, we put our heart into things, and believe all sorts of things without sufficient evidence, all the time. Why is that necessarily bad?
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.