Critique of william cliffords ethics of

Some explicitly reject any parallel between free will and free belief Wagner forthcoming. Section by section, I will attempt to summarize his main points and argument in as concise a manner as I can while not attempting to do a disservice to his work, after which I will add my commentary, compliments, questions and concerns.

A If S has end E, and if S's believing that p is likely to make E obtain, then S has a prima facie prudential obligation to believe that p. If he says it knowingly, then he is lying and his moral character is to blame; if he should say something untrue unknowingly, then he is either ignorant or mistaken, and it is only his knowledge or his judgment which is in fault.

The Ethics of Belief

Representationalists regard beliefs as structures in the mind that represent the propositions they affirm—usually in something like a mental language see Fodor and the entry on language of thought.

The point I think he misses is that there is a stark difference between odds and guarantees.

Critique of William Cliffords Ethics of Belief

After this, however, agreement breaks down. Perhaps he would not and would then proceed to touch another hot stove top; again getting burnt. Achieving these ends clearly does involve an increase in well-being on most conceptions of the latter. It sounds all well and good but clearly mankind has not suffered irrevocably from peoples beliefs up to this point and ultimately it returns back to the individuals themselves.

He says a Muslim will tell us that the character of his Prophet was so noble and majestic that it commands the reverence even of those who do not believe in his mission. Likewise, the moral norm to believe the best of others is often tragically in tension with the epistemic norm to believe what the evidence supports, with the prudential norm to believe whatever it takes in order to get ahead, and so on.

S has to know that he has E and that believing that p is likely to make E obtain. He goes on to say that even if my supposed visitor had given me such information, subsequently verified by me, as proved him to have means of knowledge about verifiable matters far exceeding my own; this would not justify me in believing what he said about matters that are not at present capable of verification by man.

Note too that the norms we considered above govern the positive formation of belief. Clifford's essay is chiefly remembered for two things: Let us put ourselves in his place; we shall find that the more completely we endeavour to realise what passed through his mind, the more clearly we shall perceive that the Prophet could have had no adequate ground for the belief in his own inspiration.

Upon being diagnosed with the disease himself, and in light of the fact that his goal is to survive, it will be prudent for this person to believe that he will survive, even if he knows that he and his doctors lack sufficient evidence for that belief.

Reply Mon 17 May, I don't think anyone would necessarily disagree with that assessment, but in the real world however, problems are not so clear cut. The point I think he misses is that there is a stark difference between odds and guarantees.

He may quite honestly believe that this statement is a fair inference from his experiments, but in that case his judgment is at fault. In this work, Schiller downplays the connection between James' doctrine and religious positions like God and immortality.

But at the same time they might think it permissible to abandon these strict standards in ordinary contexts where not much is at stake—for instance, the everyday belief that there is still some milk in the fridge. There may also be social norms that govern beliefs we form in our various communal roles as lawyers, priests, psychiatrists, friends, parents, etc.

It then becomes Mr. It seems possible to defend the view, for instance, that we ought only to believe on sufficient evidence—as the Evidentialists teach—but that our conception of the aims of belief might provide further and more determinate necessary conditions for permissible belief.

But, again, most epistemologists do not think we are typically able to tell, from the inside, whether we would know the proposition in question if we believed it. He then begins expressing his general thoughts on under what circumstances it is lawful to believe on the testimony of others and why.

Eventually, a commission is appointed to carefully investigate into the evidence and they conclude that the accused are innocent.

The Will to Believe

Clifford's contention that the owner was surely guilty of the deaths of those aboard due to his negligent belief in his ships seaworthiness because he did not acquire this belief by honestly earning it in investigation of the evidence. He that believes without having any Reason for believing, may be in love with his own Fancies; but neither seeks Truth as he ought, nor pays the Obedience due to his Maker, who would have him use those discerning Faculties he has given him, to keep him out of Mistake and Errour.

This problem continues on into infinity. Ethicists of belief who are not value monists often claim that there is a way of ordering norms or types of norms in terms of the relative strength or relative ease with which their claims on us can be defeated.

From our perspective, we have a very limited ability to be sure of something in the absolute sense. A few philosophers and psychologists argue that simply acquiring significant truth while avoiding significant falsehood is the only aim of belief, and thus that any doxastic obligations will be structured accordingly see David In addition to using theoretical arguments like these, ethicists of belief can connect doxastic norms by appealing to empirical data.

Bertrand Russell in Free Thought and Official Propaganda argued that one must always adhere to fallibilismrecognizing of all human knowledge that "None of our beliefs are quite true; all have at least a penumbra of vagueness and error", and that the only means of progressing ever-closer to the truth is to never assume certainty, but always examine all sides and try to reach a conclusion objectively.

Rather, the norms say that we do have these ends as a matter of natural or moral necessity, and thus that we prima facie ought to believe in such-and-such ways. With respect to reflective access conditions, it was noted earlier that Evidentialists cannot require that a rational subject always base beliefs on sufficient evidence that she knows or justifiably believes she has, for fear of an infinite regress.

Others argue that there are important aims in addition to, or even in lieu of, the aim of truth-acquisition—aims that can underwrite other doxastic norms VellemanSosaSosaGibbons To take a trivial illustration: Some explicitly reject any parallel between free will and free belief Wagner forthcoming.

And so by the same logic it might be taken to underwrite a categorical—albeit still prudential—norm of belief, especially in life-or-death cases such as that of the cancer diagnosis above. Clifford Ethics of Beliefs Argument Summary In: Philosophy and Psychology Submitted By clydeg Words Pages 5.

Summary of The ethics of belief William K. Clifford’s essay “The Ethics of Belief`” is divided into three separate subsections. These subsections are: The Duty of Inquiry, The Weight of Authority and The Limits of Interference.

Notes on Peter van Inwagen's Critique of Clifford's The Ethics of Belief Notes: Van Inwagen’s “Is it Wrong Always, Everywhere, and for Anyone to Believe Anything on Insufficient Evidence?” Preliminaries. William Kingdon Clifford’s essay “The Ethics of Belief” was originally delivered on April 11,to the learned debate organization critique, Clifford's evidentialism will then be examined in chapter five.

W. K. Clifford and the “Ethics of Belief” 3 to believe on such evidence as was before him that the ship could make. 33 A Critique of William K. Clifford‘s ―The Ethics of Belief‖ by Tony Frontuto (Philosophy ) nan Oxford mathematician and philosopher by the name of William K.

Clifford authored. 33 A Critique of William K. Clifford‘s ―The Ethics of Belief‖ by Tony Frontuto (Philosophy ) nan Oxford mathematician and philosopher by the name of William K. Clifford authored.

Philosophy Forum

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 norms of some sort governing our habits of belief-formation, belief-maintenance, and belief-relinquishment.

Critique of william cliffords ethics of
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ex-apologist: Notes on Peter van Inwagen's Critique of Clifford's The Ethics of Belief