My “Methodological Rationalism” approach: 

(REMS) Reason, Evidence & Methodological Skepticism

We don’t really defend atheism, to me as much as present reason and evidence to why theism is unjustified, unwarranted and found baseless to the point that atheism is almost like a default conclusion; it is reasonable when the belief proposition of theism fails as it always will. I have been told that me challenging or correcting people’s religious falsehoods was harmful. I say, “what”, ((sarcastically)) then responded, “yes”, just like challenging or correcting people’s lies is harmful…. Well, ok it’s harmful to falsehoods keeping their unjustified persuasive power.

My style when doing atheist outreach is basically to challenge with valid and reliable reason and evidence with a “reflective equilibrium” to what appears to be, has some high likelihood of being or has some strong confirmation.

The rationale of why reason is first, is because if you can’t reason with them and at times this is obviously a factor with some people, just stop as all things revolve around reason. Thus, roughly stated as rationalism (which for me is reasonable use or application of things in philosophy methods or tools like reason, logic, axiology, ontology and epistemology, etc.), and empiricism (which for me is reasonable use or application of things in philosophy methods or tools like evidence ie. facts like science, history, and archeology, etc.) as well as navigating all this with “methodological skepticism” is stead of (Philosophical skepticism) which is an approach that subjects all knowledge claims to scrutiny with the goal of sorting out true from false claims.

To me when assessing belief, one should think about the Correspondence Theory of Truth
 
I like the correspondence theory of truth to analyze beliefs or statements if they are true. People may think or analyze in a similar way without knowing the term or the method as it is reasonable and uses thinking that could be equally reached by critical thinking. The difference is having a go to standard helps clarify thinking quickly with a high accuracy. The correspondence theory of truth states that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes (i.e., corresponds with) that world. Correspondence theories claim that true beliefs and true statements correspond to the actual state of affairs. Ref
Empiricism and Rationalism in relation to epistemology?
 
Well, both, no matter how both may tend to differ are still philosophies that are together under the umbrella of epistemology, their argument lies in the understanding of the warrant, which is under the wider epistemic umbrella of the theory of justification. Well, defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one’s own mind? Understood more broadly, epistemology is about issues having to do with the creation and dissemination of knowledge in particular areas of inquiry. This article will provide a systematic overview of the problems that the questions above raise and focus in some depth on issues relating to the structure and the limits of knowledge and justification. The theory of justification is the part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. Epistemologists are concerned with various epistemic features of belief, which include the ideas of justification, warrant, rationality, and probability. Of these four terms, the term that has been most widely used and discussed by the early 21st century is “warrant”. Loosely speaking, justification is the reason that someone (probably) holds a belief. If “A” makes a claim, and “B” then casts doubt on it, “A”‘s next move would normally be to provide justification. The precise method one uses to provide justification is where the lines are drawn between rationalism and empiricism (among other philosophical views). Much of the debate in these fields are focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification. 12 Rationalism is any view appealing to intellectual and deductive reason (as opposed to sensory experience or any religious teachings) as the source of knowledge or justification. I personally lean to a  type of modern rationalism similar to what was held during the middle of the 20th Century where there was a strong tradition of organized Rationalism (represented in Britain by the Rationalist Press Association, for example), which was particularly influenced by free thinkers and intellectuals. However, Rationalism in this sense has little in common with traditional Continental Rationalism, and is marked more by a reliance on empirical science. It accepted the supremacy of reason but insisted that the results be verifiable by experience and independent of all arbitrary assumptions or authority. (1) Rationalism, since the Enlightenment, historically emphasized a “politics of reason” centered upon rational choice,utilitarianism, secularism, and irreligion – the latter aspect’s antitheism later ameliorated by utilitarian adoption of pluralistic rationalist methods practicable regardless of religious or irreligious ideology. In this regard, rationalism, as a methodology, became socially conflated with atheism, In the past, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, the term ‘rationalist’ was often used to refer to free thinkers of an anti-clerical and anti-religious outlook. The use of the label ‘rationalist’ to characterize a world outlook which has no place for the supernatural is becoming less popular today; terms like ‘humanist‘ or ‘materialist‘ seem largely to have taken its place. (2) Moreover, both rationalism and empiricism are known as two major approaches to natural philosophy. Empiricism involved the method of inductive reasoning, which was applied on experience, including observation and experimentation. Rationalism, while not discounting induction entirely, maintained that deductive reasoning was the means to establish true knowledge. Deduction is reasoning from given premises to necessary conclusions. (3) The modern scientific method synthesizes rationalism and empiricism. The logic of the rationalist is combined with the observational experience of the empiricist. There is an overwhelming consensus, though, that empiricism is the main emphasis. No matter how much logical deduction and mathematical analysis is used, at some point the world must be checked for the confirmation of a belief. The modern scientific method synthesizes rationalism and empiricism. The logic of the rationalist is combined with the observational experience of the empiricist. There is an overwhelming consensus, though, that empiricism is the main emphasis. No matter how much logical deduction and mathematical analysis is used, at some point the world must be checked for the confirmation of a belief. Historically, however, spurred on by the power of mathematics and the tendency to conclude that we know something even though complete empirical observations are not available, rationalism has played both a constructive and creative role in development of science. The criticism of those who are too rationalistic and who create ivory-tower fantasies from speculative logic, overlooks the fact that many great discoveries have been made by scientists sitting at desks or standing in front of chalkboards. It is difficult for many people today to imagine that the Earth is moving and not the Sun. We do not experience ourselves moving at 1,000 miles per hour; instead we “observe” the Sun to move. That a belief is inconsistent with our common observational experience is not by itself a conclusive argument that it is false. Empirical scientists do believe in the ability of the human mind to figure things out. Any fundamental inconsistency between common sense and reason is seen as nature’s way of taunting us, of revealing one of her important secrets. The confidence in the logical and mathematical powers of human thinking has been a key ingredient in the development of modern science. “Theory Must Agree With Reality” (4) Radical skepticism cannot be reasonable, we should nonetheless take his method seriously enough that we remain diffident in our judgments – that we not take things dogmatically, but rather critically, ready to recognize evidence that can challenge the rational acceptability of those judgments. So long as we do not take ‘clear’ and ‘distinct’ as rigidly, it is not a bad rule to include nothing more in one’s judgments than what presents itself to one’s mind so clearly and distinctly that one has no reason to doubt it. This is what reasonable persons do, to many it is now the norm. (5) A question to believers: “if your religion was false would you want to know about it?” If you’re sure of your response is that truly coming from a place of open honesty. We must never forget that just because an idea or belief has mass approval or a wide acceptance, this tells nothing of its truth status, its accuracy, or any provable validity.

The Rational Imperative, How Does One Know Things?

I am aggressive with ideas, but I am kind to people. My motto is attack thinking not people. I do not respect religion, but I respect people. I do not believe in religion as it has a high potential for bad, but I believe in the potential for good in people. That is my style as a Firebrand Atheist that is a Humanistic Person.

My Atheist Activism Acknowledged in College Paper: http://damienmarieathope.com/2015/11/20/my-atheist-activism-acknowledged-in-college-paper-2/

I often say to believers on the street, no, you don’t believe in god or religion. What you do or did was were told, (most often by family) this is what you need to believe or this is what we believe and you say ok, only after that as an adult, (especially when challenged) you try to support this post-acceptance commitment as if it has a rationalization. You are attempting to support that you did not choose wrong overlooking any faults or defects in order to feel justified and the psychological desire to stay consistent to that commitment. So, what you likely have now is a kind of Post-purchase rationalization. Which is also known as Buyer’s Stockholm Syndrome, a cognitive bias whereby someone who has purchased an expensive product or service overlooks any faults or defects in order to justify their purchase. It is a special case of choice-supportive bias. This rationalization is based on the Principle of Commitment and the psychological desire to stay consistent to that commitment. (6)

Ontology, Epistemology, & Axiology Debating Tools

(OEA challenge protocol; is part of my, Methodological Rationalism approach) adopt rationality assumptions, as necessary constraints on interpretation, as well as practical issues in addressing methodological problems faced by gatherers: “Ontology”, inquisitors: “Epistemology”, & judgers: “Axiology.”
 
Debate court:
 
1. Ontology “Reality” questions/assertion: Witness gives evidence about the claim.
 
2. Epistemology “Truth” questions/assertion: Lawyer searches for warrant or justification for the claim.
 
3. Axiology “Goodness-for” questions/assertion: Judge assesses and value judges because of qualities in or lacking in the claim.
 
Always try to follow this attack order: gatherers: “Ontology”, inquisitors: “Epistemology”, & judgers: “Axiology”
 
*Ontology, (understanding the thingness of things; like what is or can be real, like not god)
 
-What is your claim?
-What aspects must be there for your claim?
-What makes your claim different than other similar claims?
 
*Epistemology, (understanding what you know or can know; as in you do have and thing in this reality to know anything about this term you call god, and no way of knowing if there is anything nonnaturalism beyond this universe and no way to state any about it if there where)
 
-How do know your claim?
-How reliable or valid must aspects be for your claim?
-How does the source of your claim make it different than other similar claims?
 
*Axiology (understanding what is good or valuable as well as what is evil or unvaluable like how the stories about theist theistic gods are often racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic intersexphobic, xenophobic, etc. Thus they are directly against humanity and thus are evil and unvaluable. Unvaluable; as in the god concept you have is evil and demonstrably harmful and thus is highly unvaluable to humanity)
 
-Why are your objects of proposed value subjective psychological states or objective physiological external world states for your claim?
-Why do your purposed descriptive words fit qualities for valuation (such as “powerful”, “knowing”, and “present” in the Omnipotent: all-powerful, Omniscient: all-knowing, and Omnipresent: all-present god assertion) your claim?
-Why is your value-for, worth-for, and/or goodness-for claims different than other similar claims?
 

(REMS) Reason, Evidence & Methodological Skepticism

We don’t really defend atheism, to me as much as present reason and evidence to why theism is unjustified, unwarranted and found baseless to the point that atheism is almost like a default conclusion; it is reasonable when the belief proposition of theism fails as it always will. I have been told that me challenging or correcting people’s religious falsehoods was harmful. I say, “what”, ((sarcastically)) then responded, “yes”, just like challenging or correcting people’s lies is harmful…. Well, ok it’s harmful to falsehoods keeping their unjustified persuasive power.

My style when doing atheist outreach is basically to challenge with valid and reliable reason and evidence with a “reflective equilibrium” to what appears to be, has some high likelihood of being or has some strong confirmation.

The rationale of why reason is first, is because if you can’t reason with them and at times this is obviously a factor with some people, just stop as all things revolve around reason. Thus, roughly stated as rationalism (which for me is reasonable use or application of things in philosophy methods or tools like Reason “rationalism” tools: ontologyepistemology, and axiology, etc.), and Evidence “empiricism” tools: (which for me is reasonable use or application of things in philosophy methods or tools like evidence ie. facts like science, history, and archeology, etc.) as well as navigating all this with “methodological skepticism” is stead of (Philosophical skepticism) which is an approach that subjects all knowledge claims to scrutiny with the goal of sorting out true from false claims.

Legal burden of proof and Philosophic burden of proof: Understanding and utilizing evidence and evidence critique. There is a common need to grasp the issues surrounding “evidence”, deconstructing evidence-based claims and the pathways in thinking needed to control what is offered or accepted as evidence, is it really even evidence or does it matter to supporting a assertion. Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion. This support may be strong or weak. The strongest type of evidence is that which provides direct proof of the truth of an assertion. At the other extreme is evidence that is merely consistent with an assertion but does not rule out other, contradictory assertions, as in circumstantial evidence. In law, rules of evidence govern the types of evidence that are admissible in a legal proceeding. Types of legal evidence include testimony, documentary evidence, and physical evidence. The parts of a legal case which are not in controversy are known, in general, as the “facts of the case.” Beyond any facts that are undisputed, a judge or jury is usually tasked with being a trier of fact for the other issues of a case. Evidence and rules are used to decide questions of fact that are disputed, some of which may be determined by the legal burden of proof relevant to the case. Evidence in certain cases (e.g. capital crimes) must be more compelling than in other situations (e.g. minor civil disputes), which drastically affects the quality and quantity of evidence necessary to decide a case. Scientific evidence consists of observations and experimental results that serve to support, refute, or modify a scientific hypothesis or theory, when collected and interpreted in accordance with the scientific method. In philosophy, the study of evidence is closely tied to epistemology, which considers the nature of knowledge and how it can be acquired.  The burden of proof is the obligation of a party in an argument or dispute to provide sufficient evidence to shift the other party’s or a third party’s belief from their initial position. The burden of proof must be fulfilled by both establishing confirming evidence and negating oppositional evidence. Conclusions drawn from evidence may be subject to criticism based on a perceived failure to fulfill the burden of proof. Two principal considerations are: 1) On whom does the burden of proof rest? Or 2) To what degree of certitude must the assertion be supported? The latter question depends on the nature of the point under contention and determines the quantity and quality of evidence required to meet the burden of proof. In epistemology, the burden of proof (Latin: onus probandi (shorthand for Onus probandi incumbit ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat)) is the obligation on a party in a dispute to provide sufficient warrant for their position. Holder of the burden: When two parties are in a discussion and one asserts a claim that the other disputes, the one who asserts has a burden of proof to justify or substantiate that claim. An argument from ignorance occurs when either a proposition is assumed to be true because it has not yet been proved false or a proposition is assumed to be false because it has not yet been proved true. This has the effect of shifting the burden of proof to the person criticizing the proposition. While certain kinds of arguments, such as logical syllogisms, require mathematical or strictly logical proofs, the standard for evidence to meet the burden of proof is usually determined by context and community standards and conventions. In public discourse: Burden of proof is also an important concept in the public arena of ideas. Once participants in discourse establish common assumptions, the mechanism of burden of proof helps to ensure that all parties contribute productively, using relevant arguments. Proving a negative: A negative claim is a colloquialism for an affirmative claim that asserts the non-existence or exclusion of something. There are many proofs that substantiate negative claims in mathematics, science, and economics including Arrow’s impossibility theorem. A negative claim may or may not exist as a counterpoint to a previous claim. A proof of impossibility or an evidence of absence argument are typical methods to fulfill the burden of proof for a negative claim. Example: Atheist internet personality Matt Dillahunty gives the example of a large jar full of gumballs to illustrate the burden of proof. The number of whole gumballs in the jar is either even or odd, but the degree of personal acceptance or rejection of claims about that characteristic may vary. We can choose to consider two claims about the situation, given as: 1. The number of gumballs is even. or 2. The number of gumballs is odd. Either claim could be explored separately; however, both claims represent the same proposition and do in fact ask the same question. Odd in this case means “not even” and could be described as a negative claim. Before we have any information about the number of gumballs, we have no means of checking either of the two claims. When we have no evidence to resolve the proposition, we may suspend judgment. From a cognitive sense, when no personal preference toward opposing claims exists, one may be either skeptical of both claims or ambivalent of both claims. If there is a claim proposed and that claim is disputed, the burden of proof falls onto the proponent of the claim. If there is no agreeably adequate evidence to support a claim, the claim could be considered to be an argument from ignorance. RefRef Rationalism is any view appealing to intellectual and deductive reason (as opposed to sensory experience or any religious teachings) as the source of knowledge or justification. I personally lean to a  type of modern rationalism similar to what was held during the middle of the 20th Century where there was a strong tradition of organized Rationalism (represented in Britain by the Rationalist Press Association, for example), which was particularly influenced by free thinkers and intellectuals.

However, Rationalism in this sense has little in common with traditional Continental Rationalism, and is marked more by a reliance on empirical science. It accepted the supremacy of reason but insisted that the results be verifiable by experience and independent of all arbitrary assumptions or authority. (1)

Rationalism, since the Enlightenment, historically emphasized a “politics of reason” centered upon rational choice,utilitarianism, secularism, and irreligion – the latter aspect’s antitheism later ameliorated by utilitarian adoption of pluralistic rationalist methods practicable regardless of religious or irreligious ideology. In this regard, rationalism, as a methodology, became socially conflated with atheism, In the past, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, the term ‘rationalist’ was often used to refer to free thinkers of an anti-clerical and anti-religious outlook. The use of the label ‘rationalist’ to characterize a world outlook which has no place for the supernatural is becoming less popular today; terms like ‘humanist‘ or ‘materialist‘ seem largely to have taken its place.(2)

Moreover, both rationalism and empiricism are known as two major approaches to natural philosophy. Empiricism involved the method of inductive reasoning, which was applied on experience, including observation and experimentation. Rationalism, while not discounting induction entirely, maintained that deductive reasoning was the means to establish true knowledge. Deduction is reasoning from given premises to necessary conclusions. (3)

The modern scientific method synthesizes rationalism and empiricism. The logic of the rationalist is combined with the observational experience of the empiricist. There is an overwhelming consensus, though, that empiricism is the main emphasis. No matter how much logical deduction and mathematical analysis is used, at some point the world must be checked for the confirmation of a belief. The modern scientific method synthesizes rationalism and empiricism. The logic of the rationalist is combined with the observational experience of the empiricist. There is an overwhelming consensus, though, that empiricism is the main emphasis. No matter how much logical deduction and mathematical analysis is used, at some point the world must be checked for the confirmation of a belief. Historically, however, spurred on by the power of mathematics and the tendency to conclude that we know something even though complete empirical observations are not available, rationalism has played both a constructive and creative role in development of science.

The criticism of those who are too rationalistic and who create ivory-tower fantasies from speculative logic, overlooks the fact that many great discoveries have been made by scientists sitting at desks or standing in front of chalkboards. It is difficult for many people today to imagine that the Earth is moving and not the Sun. We do not experience ourselves moving at 1,000 miles per hour; instead we “observe” the Sun to move. That a belief is inconsistent with our common observational experience is not by itself a conclusive argument that it is false. Empirical scientists do believe in the ability of the human mind to figure things out. Any fundamental inconsistency between common sense and reason is seen as nature’s way of taunting us, of revealing one of her important secrets. The confidence in the logical and mathematical powers of human thinking has been a key ingredient in the development of modern science. “Theory Must Agree With Reality” (4)

Radical skepticism cannot be reasonable, we should nonetheless take his method seriously enough that we remain diffident in our judgments – that we not take things dogmatically, but rather critically, ready to recognize evidence that can challenge the rational acceptability of those judgments. So long as we do not take ‘clear’ and ‘distinct’ as rigidly, it is not a bad rule to include nothing more in one’s judgments than what presents itself to one’s mind so clearly and distinctly that one has no reason to doubt it. This is what reasonable persons do, to many it is now the norm. (5)

A question to believers: “if your religion was false would you want to know about it?” If you’re sure of your response is that truly coming from a place of open honesty. We must never forget that just because an idea or belief has mass approval or a wide acceptance, this tells nothing of its truth status, its accuracy, or any provable validity.

The Rational Imperative, How Does One Know Things?

I am aggressive with ideas, but I am kind to people. My motto is attack thinking not people. I do not respect religion, but I respect people. I do not believe in religion as it has a high potential for bad, but I believe in the potential for good in people. That is my style as a Firebrand Atheist that is a Humanistic Person.

My Atheist Activism Acknowledged in College Paper: http://damienmarieathope.com/2015/11/20/my-atheist-activism-acknowledged-in-college-paper-2/

I often say to believers on the street, no, you don’t believe in god or religion. What you do or did was were told, (most often by family) this is what you need to believe or this is what we believe and you say ok, only after that as an adult, (especially when challenged) you try to support this post-acceptance commitment as if it has a rationalization. You are attempting to support that you did not choose wrong overlooking any faults or defects in order to feel justified and the psychological desire to stay consistent to that commitment.

So, what you likely have now is a kind of Post-purchase rationalization. Which is also known as Buyer’s Stockholm Syndrome, a cognitive bias whereby someone who has purchased an expensive product or service overlooks any faults or defects in order to justify their purchase. It is a special case of choice-supportive bias. This rationalization is based on the Principle of Commitment and the psychological desire to stay consistent to that commitment. (6)

I am a rationalist and support reasonable skepticism, thus, I am not a skeptic though I somewhat am a fan. Lol

I do not call myself a skeptic, I do not doubt that which is unreasonable to require doubt. I am a rationalist who uses methodological skepticism and also may utilize scientific skepticism. Methodological skepticism is a way of using the process of doubting in order to arrive at certainty. And scientific skepticism is the practice of questioning whether claims are supported by empirical research and have reproducibility, as part of a methodological norm pursuing “the extension of certified knowledge” Some people who doubt what is rational or proven say they are skeptics or being skeptical they are denialists or possibly using philosophic skepticism. Philosophical skepticism is distinguished from methodological skepticism in that philosophical skepticism is an approach that questions the possibility of certainty in knowledge. Whereas methodological skepticism is an approach that subjects all knowledge claims to scrutiny with the goal of sorting out true from false claims. Methodological skepticism, is a systematic process of being skeptical about (or doubting) the truth of one’s beliefs, it is similar to scientific skepticism. Likewise, scientific skepticism is different from philosophical skepticism, which questions our ability to claim any knowledge about the nature of the world and how we perceive it. Scientific skeptics believe that empirical investigation of reality leads to the truth, and that the scientific method is best suited to this purpose. Scientific skeptics attempt to evaluate claims based on verifiability, reliability, and often adhering to falsifiability discouraging acceptance of claims on faith or anecdotal evidence. There does seem to be a lot of improper use of the term skeptic attached to conspiracy theories and denialism. In human behavior, denialism is exhibited by individuals choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid dealing with an uncomfortable truth. Then again, I have skepticism for “extreme philosophical skepticism or universal skepticism philosophy”. Radical skepticism about the external world is the idea that we cannot have accurate knowledge about the physical world outside of our minds. That idea, if true, would block the truth-seeker’s attempt to gain knowledge by assessing the natural world. Sure, reasonable skepticism gets us to a good solid starting point to remove flawed beliefs but there is a need to move beyond skepticism if it removes any sureness of things that are actually demonstrative as true then to me it can become pseudo skeptic and denialist thinking. Granted I do think all claims or beliefs we think are true should be open to challenge and reassessment and if found wanting corrected or abandoned. Scientific skepticism is also called rational skepticism, and it is sometimes referred to as skeptical inquiry. I see philosophy as a set of tools, some are viral, some not needed as much but still useful, other not very useful but still needed and others just some gimmick people were conned into buying that is entirely unusual and even harmful. I am not anti-skeptical or anti-skeptic it is just not the accurate label for my thinking. if the term “Skeptic” was limited to only methodological skepticism I would champion the term as well. I think skeptic should automatically infer the methodological skepticism approach and likewise denialist thinking should not be seen as a true philosophical approach to skepticism as there is a difference between a skeptic and denialist. Denialist “pseudo-skeptics” are often religionists, magical thinkers, conspiracy theorist, supporters of woo woo, and other whack jobs these days. Religion and other magical thinking woo woo distorts reality. How can we expect people to make rational decisions when they believe in non-reality as if it is reality? Reasonable skepticism to me is or should be more about the process of applying reason and critical thinking to determine validity or reliable reason or evidence. It’s the process of finding a supported conclusion, not the justification of a preconceived conclusion. 1234


 

Rationalism, Freethinker, Humanism & Secular humanism?

I am a am a rationalist, freethinker, humanist and a secularist.

*Rationalism is a philosophy in which a high regard is given to reason (specifically logic) and to empirical observation.

*Freethinker a person who forms his or her own opinions about important subjects (such as religion and politics) instead of accepting what other people say.

*Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over established doctrine or faith (fideism).

*Secular humanism is a comprehensive, nonreligious lifestance incorporating: A naturalistic philosophy. A cosmic outlook rooted in science. A consequentialist ethical system.


Basics of my Methodological Rationalism Epistemology Approach

 Epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion. Ref
 
I generally follow the standard in philosophy JTB: Justified True Beliefs.
Justified / True / Beliefs
 
Justified?
To established justification, I use the philosophy called Reliabilism.
 
“Reliabilism is a general approach to epistemology that emphasizes the truth-conduciveness of a belief-forming process, method, or another epistemologically relevant factor. The reliability theme appears both in theories of knowledge and theories of justification.” Ref
 
True?
*For the true part, I use the philosophy called The Correspondence Theory of Truth.
 
“The correspondence theory of truth states that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world and whether it accurately describes (i.e., corresponds with) that world.” Ref
Beliefs?
*For the beliefs part, I use what philosophy calls The Ethics of Belief.
 
“The “ethics of belief” refers the intersection of epistemology, philosophy of mind, psychology, and ethics. The central is norms governing our habits of belief-formation, belief-maintenance, and belief-relinquishment. It morally wrong (or epistemically irrational, or imprudent) to hold a belief on insufficient evidence. It morally right (or epistemically rational, or prudent) to believe on the basis of sufficient evidence, or to withhold belief in the perceived absence of evidence. It always obligatory to seek out all available epistemic evidence for a belief.” Ref I was asked about The Gettier Problem, well, to me Edmund Gettier only points out that more than just JTB is needed as there may be some beliefs outside of simply JTB which I do, I feel all stages need analysis and support not just some simple use of JTB. With my Methodological Rationalism Epistemology Approach, I try to show how to build accuracy in beliefs, of course, there are always many non-accurate ways beliefs may be arrived at, analyze or maintained, as well as updated or remove beliefs if found to be in error. We conceptualize epistemological attitudes and beliefs as components of metacognitive knowledge. As such, they serve an important function in regulating the use of epistemic strategies such as knowledge-based validation of information and checking arguments for internal consistency. Ref Epistemic Attitudes: Belief, Disbelief and Suspended Judgement. click here is an interesting but complicated article on this subject. To me when assessing belief, one should think about reliabilism.I usually try to use a reliabilism approach to epistemology which emphasizes the truth-conduciveness of a belief-forming process, method, or other epistemologically relevant factors. The reliability theme appears in theories of knowledge, of justification, and of evidence. “Reliabilism” is sometimes used broadly to refer to any theory that emphasizes truth-getting or truth indicating properties. Ref

 

Why I Am A Rationalist

by Bertrand Russell

The Rational Habit Of Mind Is A Rare One

I am, in this age when there are a great many appeals to unreason, an unrepentant Rationalist. I have been a Rationalist ever since I can remember, and I do not propose to cease to be so whatever appeals to unreason may be made. We have listened to a speech, by which I think we were all much moved, about the pioneers in the past who have done what they could to promote the cause of freedom of thought. I suppose it is for me to speak about the great need of continuing this work in our own day, and about how much there is that remains for all who sympathize with its objects to accomplish. We are not yet, and I suppose men and women never will be, completely rational. Perhaps, if we were, we should not have all the pleasures that we have at present; but I think complete rationality is so distant a prospect that we need not be much alarmed by it, and the nearest approach that we are likely to get is sure to be all to the good. I certainly find that there is a very great deal of irrationality still about in the world. While Professor Graham Wallas was speaking about the bequests that have been made to the Rationalist Press Association I was thinking: What is its creed, what is its dogma, and what is going to be the, so to speak, doctrine that these benefactions are going to be devoted to propagating? You have, of course, to be a little careful, when you find yourself landed with endowments and benefactions, lest you should become another endowed church. (Laughter.) As far as I can see, the view to which we are committed, one which I have stated on a former occasion, is that we ought not to believe, and we ought not to try to cause others to believe, any proposition for which there is no evidence whatever. That seems a modest proposition, and if you can stick to that you will be fairly sure that you are not going to become a sort of ossified endowed church. We ought not to commit ourselves to dogmatic negations any more than to dogmatic affirmations; we ought merely to say that there are a great many propositions about which men and women feel pretty certain, but, concerning which they have no right to feel certain, and it is our business as Rationalists to try to make them see that those things are not certain. I am told that that is a very wicked position to maintain. I have here a book recently published which I commend to your attention. You may or may not know that some little time ago, under the auspices of the National Secular Society, I delivered a lecture on “Why I am Not a Christian.” Now, It appears that I did not know why it is that I am not a Christian; and here is a book which will tell you why I am not — by Mr. H. G. Wood, who is a somewhat eminent member of the Society of Friends, a body for which I have the greatest respect. His book is called Why Mr. Bertrand Russell is Not a Christian. It seems that the reasons are not those which I thought they were. He says in one sentence: “The main reason why he is not a Christian is that he simply does not know what religion is.” One might say that Mr. Wood is not an Agnostic because he does not know what Agnosticism is. After all, I had all the benefits of a Christian education, and he did not have the benefits of an Agnostic education; so that possibly the argument might be considered two-edged. Nevertheless, I commend the book to your attention, and you will then know why it is that I am not a Christian. There is a very large amount of Rationalist work required in the world. I think the battle is quite as fierce as ever it was. Take, for example America. America is a very important country. What America thinks today the rest of the world will be forced to think tomorrow, and therefore what America thinks is important. There are some hopeful features about America. I was recently on a boat going to America, and a minister of religion on the boat invited me to speak to his congregation about my views on religion. I said: “Yours must be a very broad-minded congregation”; and this minister of religion, somewhat to my surprise, replied: “Oh, of course, I do not believe in God.” I met other ministers of religion in America who took the same line. That, I must say, somewhat surprised me; but they are, I am afraid, rather a small minority, and the great bulk of Americans are still extremely theological. Moreover, we have to face the very serious position due to the growth of the Roman Catholic Church in America, because, as far as I can see, the Roman Catholic Church is likely to dominate America in another fifty or a hundred years by the sheer increase of numbers, and not by rational propaganda. That is a very grave matter, and a matter which I think will affect the whole of the civilized world very much. Of course, you know that already in Boston, which was once the home of advanced Protestantism, the Roman Catholics rule the whole place; and there is a censorship upon literature more severe than in any other part of America. I expect you know that in America men are still sent to prison for Atheism, not only in Fundamentalist States, but even in States of the East, and altogether there is in that part of the world an enormous need of propaganda on these matters. It is very important to all of us, because the Americans tend more and more to rule the world, and we shall find ourselves in a very difficult position unless we can more or less liberalize them — a mission, I may say, in which I have done what I can, and my wife has also. We have to realize that the attitude of Rationalism, which I defined as that of not believing a proposition or causing others to believe it unless there is at least some reason for supposing it to be true, is by no means widespread. Take the matter of education, concerning which Professor Graham Wallas spoke. In most countries of the world a great many extremely dubious propositions are taught to the young with great emphasis, and the young grow up accepting those extremely dubious propositions. If by any chance you attempt, as my wife and I are attempting at this moment, to bring up a small number of young people free from superstition, you find yourself in a very difficult situation. You find, of course, that the public money which goes to education will not be given to any education that involves no element of superstition; you find that support is extremely difficult to obtain; you find that altogether it is thought that, whatever grown men and women may be allowed to think, the young, at any rate, ought to believe a whole lot of absurdities, and that it is quite impossible for the young to attain the necessary minimum of virtues unless you produce an extremely large number of very bad arguments in favor of that virtue-arguments which, of course, they will see through as soon as they get a little older; but it is thought that what they do then when they see through them does not so much matter. I cannot quite take that view. I think that any virtue that you may believe in should be one that you can support from the very first without appealing to anything that you do not yourself believe. Education will have to be quite enormously transformed if that view is accepted. I believe that it is at present illegal in every country of the world except Russia to teach children in the kind of way which skilled medical practitioners would consider the best for their mental health. That is one point upon which irrational convictions as generally held interfere, and there are a number of ways in which it is at present impossible to educate rationally without coming up against the authorities. The authorities are organized upon a basis of certain irrational dogmas, and those dogmas are not all of them theological. Some are theological, and some are of other sorts; but the rational habit of mind is a very rare one. I think that we ought to do all that we can to bring before the world the importance of the attitude that we are not going to believe a thing unless there is some reason to think that it is true. I know that that is thought to be very shocking. It is supposed that there are a lot of things that you ought to believe because good people believe them, and not because there is any reason for them. I do not take that view. I think anything that is worth believing must have some positive ground in its favor. There are always new grounds being alleged in favor of irrationality; perpetually new things come up. Take, for example, the kind of use that has been made by some people of psycho-analysis. If you read the works of the founder of psycho-analysis, you find an entirely rationalist attitude; but if you listen to some of the minor disciples you will imagine that this doctrine has swept away the idea that opinions can be based upon reason at all. That, of course, is not the truth of it. You will always find a number of clever people engaged in perversions of anything that comes up — engaged in saying that the latest results of science prove that the people who always opposed science are after all in the right. That is where there is always humbug. Anybody who tells you that the latest results of science prove something, he himself not being a scientist, you may be pretty sure is talking nonsense. Ref