Some try to say that science and religion ear not that different saying they both use faith.
This is utter nonsense, not only does science not use faith as a method for anything, religion and science are completely different epistemologies. Scientists reason differently than most nonscientists because of a standardized focus on scientific based reasoning and scientific epistemology. Science is a system where justified true beliefs are derived from objective methodologies such as the scientific method and religion is a system of unjustified beliefs based on subjective faith or revelation. We must not confuse beliefs, religion is beliefs built from myths devoid of corroborating evidence. Science uses corroborating evidence to establish what is true and that offers something worthy to believe.
Basic outline of scientific epistemology:
Science: Hypotheses (Rationalism/Deductive, Inductive, or Abductive Reasoning etc.) + Testing (Empiricism/Systematic Observation) – Checking for errors (Skepticism/Fallibilism) + Interpret/Draw a Conclusion (Rationalism/Deductive, Inductive, or Abductive Reasoning etc.) *if valid* = Scientific Laws (describes observed phenomena) or Scientific Theory (substantiated and repeatedly tested explanation of phenomena) = Justified True Belief = Scientific Knowledge = Epistemic Certainty supportive of correctability
*being epistemic certainty is believing a truth has the highest epistemic status, often with warranted psychological certainty but it may not, neither is it a requirement*
Basic outline of religious epistemology:
Religion: Culture/Testimony/ Myths/Scriptures/Revelation/Prophecies (arbitrary and unjustified way of coming to ideas or Idealism) + Mysticism, Supernaturalism, Spirtualism, or Theology (arbitrary and unjustified to form explanations, Idealism or misuse of Rationalism; often self-justified or even believe they are beyond a need for justification) – Denial of Relevant Alternatives and Basis (Fideism/Dogmatic Foundationalism/Pseudo-Skepticism/Anti-Rationalism/Anti-Empiricism or Anti-Skepticism) + Superstition, Falsehood, Misconception, Fantasy, or Delusion (unsubstantiated ideas and unjustified way of coming to ideas or Idealism) = Religion Reality Theory = Unjustified Untrue Faith Belief = Religion Faith or Beliefs as Knowledge = Unwarranted Psychological Certainty supportive of incorrectability
*being psychologically certain believing a truth does not mean that something is not actually false*
Problems in the Basic outline of One’s Epistemology?
“Damien, Hello! I went to University for biology and genetics, but it turns out the real research that I’m interested in is, “how many people there are in the world” and “How many soul-existences there are in the world?” In my research, I’ve decided there cannot be more than 1 million people in the entire world who are a soul-existence, and that I am definitely one of them. For my question to you, I want to know how that I can prove that I am not an animal-human, and that I have a soul and existence that is supernatural and is protected by a God or a religion. How do I prove that I’m a soul-existence? Is there a medical test that can be done? How about a brain scan?” – Challenger
My response, “hello back! I am an Ignostic Atheist and don’t even acknowledge that the word soul, supernatural ever god has any real meaning outside of myths. Thus its like saying that you have a magical fairy living in you and you are just a meat machine it uses. It’s talking as if what is being claimed without evidence is involving real facts, when its just make believe. How do you know if, where, how, why the term soul entails and what valid method did you employ to establish such claimed knowledge, and is the method you have confirmed reliable in other non magical claims? If its believed to be a justified method, how are you confirming that you are property equipped to utilize it fully to trust what you think it could show?”
“Damien, thanks for responding. As for the soul, I’ve been searching for the truth for many years now. I’m certain that the soul is real, as is immortality, but it’s not a christian thing and their whole religion isn’t really true. I have had about 3 supernatural experiences in my life, when something happened to me that couldn’t be explained by my scientific education. The most recent of which is a levitating leaf that was floating in my yard for over 2 minutes, and must have been levitated by something that was invisible, like a spirit or soul. I have pictures of that event and a youtube video I made of it. My understanding of a soul is that the existence of a person does not need to be tied down into a body, but could live forever in something much, much larger than a body, like a building or a habitat. It might even be that there are heavens on the Earth just for souls that have left the body, to live in an environment forever. However, despite all of my research on this over the past 6 years: I have to say that I have found very few other people talking about it, or proving it. It seems to me to be one of the most hushed up topics in the world, and I can’t find similar minded people to discuss it with. *Ok I am going to brake it down for you* As for the soul, I’ve been searching for the truth for many years now. ” – Challenger
My response, “but the question is how are you looking a closed mind bent only one finding some proof to confirm what you have believed before the evidence gives you such warrant and rejecting anything that could discount your beliefs or a truly open mind willing to stay with the truth of the evidence even if it means you must stop believing? It sounds to me like you may be using confirmatory bias where new facts or information even reasonable ones, do not change thinking and only things that are acknowledged conform with one’s beliefs. And it sounds to me like you may be using correspondence bias where we unfairly or unjustly apply a double standard to the validity of a belief or piece of information, positively if we think supports our belief and negatively if not.”
“Damien, I’m certain that the soul is real, as is immortality, but it’s not a christian thing and their whole religion isn’t really true.” – Challenger
My response, “you claim certainty but there are three types of certainty,
1. Psychological Certainty is deeply believing a thing to be true, however being psychologically certain believing a truth does not mean that something is not actually false.
2. Epistemic Certainty: being epistemic certainty is believing a truth has the highest epistemic status, often with warranted psychological certainty but it may not, neither is it a requirement.
3. Incorrectability/Incorrigibility: a belief can be certain in this sense without being incorrigible; this may happen, for example, when the subject receives a very compelling bit of counterevidence to the (previously) certain belief and gives it up for that reason.
*epistemic: relating to knowledge or to the degree of its validation*
You do not have Epistemic Certainty of Souls…
“I have had about 3 supernatural experiences in my life, when something happened to me that couldn’t be explained by my scientific education.” – Challenger
My response, “you don’t know they were supernatural you believe they were. Scientists reason differently than most non-scientists because of a standardized focus on scientific based reasoning and scientific epistemology. Basic outline of scientific epistemology:
Science: Hypotheses (Rationalism/Deductive, Inductive, or Abductive Reasoning etc.) + Testing (Empiricism/Systematic Observation) – Checking for errors (Skepticism/Fallibilism) + Interpret/Draw a Conclusion (Rationalism/Deductive, Inductive, or Abductive Reasoning etc.) *if valid* = Scientific Laws (describes observed phenomena) or Scientific Theory (substantiated and repeatedly tested explanation of phenomena) = Justified True Belief = Scientific Knowledge = Epistemic Certainty supportive of correctability
“The most recent of which is a levitating leaf that was floating in my yard for over 2 minutes, and must have been levitated by something that was invisible, like a spirit or soul.” – Challenger
My response, “the floating / levitating could be a demonstration of Bernoulli’s Principle. This principle explains how heavier than air objects like airplanes fly. Bernoulli discovered that the faster air flows over the surface of something, the less the air pushes on that surface. This in turn creates lower pressure. The air goes evenly around all sides of the outside of the object. Gravity tries to pull down while the pressure under from the moving air forces it up. All the forces acting on the object become balanced and things can levitate in mid air. Airplanes fly due to this principle. Air rushes over the tops of it’s wings. The fast moving air creates less pressure than the slow moving air under the wings. The greater air pressure beneath the wings generates upward force, or lift, that allows airplanes to fly. Now get out your leaf blower and do some flying toilet paper and floating leafs!”
“I have pictures of that event and a youtube video I made of it.” – Challenger
My response, “here is a youtube video demonstration of Bernoulli’s Principle: https://vimeo.com/13647441”
*just one of many natural explanations*
“My understanding of a soul.” – Challenger
My response, “where did you get this claimed understanding and what method did you use to validate or confirm it and why or how do you know the source is credible and not just wishful thinking.”
“My understanding of a soul is that the existence of a person does not need to be tied down into a body.” – Challenger
My response, “even if a soul was true for the sake of rational argument what proof do you have it can exist beyond the body? Not what you believe but what valid and reliable reason and evidence as well as confirmed method are you employing and what credible source is assisting you to say you know?”
“But Damien, souls could live forever in something much, much larger than a body, like a building or a habitat.” – Challenger
My response, “even if a soul was true for the sake of rational argument what proof do you have it could live forever beyond the body? Not what you believe but what valid and reliable reason and evidence as well as confirmed method are you employing and what credible source is assisting you to say you know?”
“It might even be that there are heavens on the Earth just for souls that have left the body, to live in an environment forever. However, despite all of my research on this over the past 6 years: I have to say that I have found very few other people talking about it, or proving it. It seems to me to be one of the most hushed up topics in the world, and I can’t find similar minded people to discuss it with.” – Challenger
My response, “because Soul Theory = Unjustified Untrue Faith Belief = Magical Thinking Beliefs as Knowledge = Unwarranted Psychological Certainty supportive of incorrectability. (arbitrary and unjustified way of coming to ideas or Idealism)”
The Rationalist Desire for Epistemically Credible Thinking
As a rationalist, when I debate or challenge a position or thinking I want the epistemically provable truth, as I am not only closed to my own ideas, rather, I am just as will to adapt my position if given strong warrant or justification supported by valid and reliable reason and evidence with epistemic credibility.
“Incorporating a prediction into future planning and decision making is advisable only if we have judged the prediction’s credibility. This is notoriously difficult and controversial in the case of predictions of future climate. By reviewing epistemic arguments about climate model performance, we discuss how to make and justify judgments about the credibility of climate predictions. Possibly proposing arguments that justify basing some judgments on the past performance of possibly dissimilar prediction problems. This encourages a more explicit use of data in making quantitative judgments about the credibility of future climate predictions, and in training users of climate predictions to become better judges of value, goodness, credibility, accuracy, worth or usefulness.” Ref
Definition of epistemic,
of or relating to knowledge or knowing
Epistemic for example can refer to those who “have a high epistemic threshold and do exhaustive analysis to create near certainty, or at least very high conviction, about their
epistemically credible thinking, beliefs or claims of knowledge. Wherever it is used, epistemic traces back to the knowledge of the Greeks. It comes from epistēmē, Greek for “knowledge.” That Greek word is from the verb epistanai, meaning “to know or understand,” a word formed from the prefix epi- (meaning “upon” or “attached to”) and histanai (meaning “to cause to stand”). The study of the nature and grounds of knowledge is called epistemology, and one who engages in such study is an epistemologist. Ref
“Certainty is the acceptance of a fact without doubt. It is a level of confidence attributed to particular knowledge. We are certain when we know something is true, and have no doubts. The term “degrees of certainty” is used to describe how close we are to being certain. Certainty, though, is the upper limit. It is the state where no more doubts exist. When should one be certain? When all knowledge supports the conclusion, and none denies it. If one has a valid reason for doubting something, one should not be certain. If one, for instance, knows there are facts that are unknown, and important in validating the knowledge, one should not be certain. If, however, one believes that all of the relevant information is known, and it all points to the knowledge being true, one should be certain. Certainty is contextual. It is based on one’s current knowledge. It is possible to be certain, and still be wrong. Human beings are not omniscient. They can form conclusions, but there is the possibility of error. Humans need knowledge, though, and need a basis for accepting knowledge as true. They cannot live constantly doubting every piece of knowledge. To survive, they must be able to accept knowledge as true, and act accordingly. The term certainty is often used to describe knowledge without the possibility of doubt. This is omniscience. It is an improper use of the term. Certainty could have no meaning when applied to an omniscient being, since it wouldn’t have the capacity for doubt. It only has meaning when applied to human beings. Its meaning allows the possibility of error, but the contextual lack of doubt.” Ref
Certainty: “I know” vs “I believe”
“Certainty is often explicated in terms of indubitability. What makes possible doubting is “the fact that some propositions are exempt from doubt, are as it were like hinges on which those turn.” Do you certainty that you are reading this in English? I would think all are comfortable accepting that this is written in English you would likely say you have knowledge of this. But like knowledge, certainty is an epistemic property of beliefs. Although some philosophers have thought that there is no difference between knowledge and certainty, it has become increasingly common to distinguish them. On this conception, then, certainty is either the highest form of knowledge or is the only epistemic property superior to knowledge. One of the primary motivations for allowing kinds of knowledge less than certainty is the widespread sense that skeptical arguments are successful in showing that we rarely or never have beliefs that are certain (a kind of skeptical argument) but do not succeed in showing that our beliefs are altogether without epistemic worth, there is an argument that skepticism undermines every epistemic status a belief might have and there is an argument that knowledge requires certainty, which we are capable of having. As with knowledge, it is difficult to provide an uncontentious analysis of certainty. There are several reasons for this. One is that there are different kinds of certainty, which are easy to conflate. Another is that the full value of certainty is surprisingly hard to capture. A third reason is that there are two dimensions to certainty: a belief can be certain at a moment or over some greater length of time. There are various kinds of certainty. A belief is psychologically certain when the subject who has it is supremely convinced of its truth. Certainty in this sense is similar to incorrigibility, which is the property a belief has of being such that the subject is incapable of giving it up. But psychological certainty is not the same thing as incorrigibility. A belief can be certain in this sense without being incorrigible; this may happen, for example, when the subject receives a very compelling bit of counterevidence to the (previously) certain belief and gives it up for that reason. Moreover, a belief can be incorrigible without being psychologically certain. For example, a mother may be incapable of giving up the belief that her son did not commit a gruesome murder, and yet, compatible with that inextinguishable belief, she may be tortured by doubt. A second kind of certainty is epistemic. Roughly characterized, a belief is certain in this sense when it has the highest possible epistemic status. Epistemic certainty is often accompanied by psychological certainty, but it need not be. It is possible that a subject may have a belief that enjoys the highest possible epistemic status and yet be unaware that it does. In such a case, the subject may feel less than the full confidence that her epistemic position warrants. I will say more below about the analysis of epistemic certainty and its relation to psychological certainty. Some philosophers also make use of the notion of moral certainty. For example, in the Latin version of Part IV of the Principles of Philosophy, Descartes says that “some things are considered as morally certain, that is, as having sufficient certainty for application to ordinary life, even though they may be uncertain in relation to the absolute power of god”. Thus characterized, moral certainty appears to be epistemic in nature, though it is a lesser status than epistemic certainty. In the French version of this passage, however, Descartes says that “moral certainty is certainty which is sufficient to regulate our behaviour, or which measures up to the certainty we have on matters relating to the conduct of life which we never normally doubt, though we know that it is possible, absolutely speaking, that they may be false”. Understood in this way, it does not appear to be a species of knowledge, given that a belief can be morally certain and yet false. Rather, on this view, for a belief to be morally certain is for it to be subjectively rational to a high degree. Although all three kinds of certainty are philosophically interesting, it is epistemic certainty that has traditionally been of central importance. In what follows, then, I shall focus mainly on this kind of certainty. In general, every indubitability account of certainty will face a similar problem. The problem may be posed as a dilemma: when the subject finds herself incapable of doubting one of her beliefs, either she has good reasons for being incapable of doubting it, or she does not. If she does not have good reasons for being unable to doubt the belief, the type of certainty in question can be only psychological, not epistemic, in nature. On the other hand, if the subject does have good reasons for being unable to doubt the belief, the belief may be epistemically certain. But, in this case, what grounds the certainty of the belief will be the subject’s reasons for holding it, and not the fact that the belief is indubitable. A second problem for indubitability accounts of certainty is that, in one sense, even beliefs that are epistemically certain can be reasonably doubted. According to a second conception, a subject’s belief is certain just in case it could not have been mistaken—i.e., false. Alternatively, the subject’s belief is certain when it is guaranteed to be true. This is “truth-evaluating” sense of certainty. As with the claim of knowing that a proposition is certain, which entails that such a proposition is a true proposition or the claim of knowing is inacurate. Certainty is, significantly stronger than lesser forms of knowledge.” Ref
“Epistemic uncertainty is the scientific uncertainty in the model of the process. It is due to limited data and knowledge. The epistemic uncertainty is characterized by alternative models. For discrete random variables, the epistemic uncertainty is modelled by alternative probability distributions. For continuous random variables, the epistemic uncertainty is modelled by alternative probability density functions. In addition, there is epistemic uncertainty in parameters that are not random by have only a single correct (but unknown) value. The terms randomness and uncertainty have also been used for aleatory variability and epistemic uncertainty, respectively; however, these terms are commonly used in generic ways. As a result, they are often mixed up when used in hazard analysis. The terms “aleatory variability” and “epistemic uncertainty” do not roll off the tongue easily. This unfamiliarity causes people to stop and think about what they are trying to say before using them. The overall goal is to have a clear terminology that will avoid misunderstandings.” Ref
Conceptions of Certainty?
*In a general way a Paradigmatic Conception of Certainty (logical and metaphysical axioms)
could be stated as one’s belief is guaranteed to be true by the subject’s grounds for it. Although some of the paradigmatically certain beliefs are necessarily true in a metaphysical or broadly logical impossibility otherwise way, many others are not. But this opens up two further problems for this conception of certainty. First, if the truth of the belief is guaranteed by the subject’s grounds for holding it, then it looks as though the certainty of the belief ought to be attributed to those grounds as well. That is to say, the belief would be certain, not in virtue of the fact that it is guaranteed to be true, but rather in virtue of its relation to the grounds that make that guarantee possible. This would be so because the grounds would provide a deeper explanation for the certainty of the belief than would the fact that the belief is guaranteed to be true. Ref
*In a general way a Methodism Conception of Certainty (logical and metaphysical axioms) could be stated as one’s belief is guaranteed to be true
begins with criteria for knowledge and justification and then attempts to ascertain whether, on these criteria, we actually have any knowledge or justified beliefs. Ref
*In a general way a Justificationism Conception of Certainty (“warrant-evaluating” sense of certainty)
could be stated as one’s belief is guaranteed to be true when it is justified in the highest degree. This is what Firth calls the “warrant-evaluating” sense of certainty. Thus, Bertrand Russell says that “A proposition is certain when it has the highest degree of credibility, either intrinsically or as a result of argument”. There are various ways to understand what it means for a belief to be credible or justified in the highest degree. It could mean simply that the belief in question is justified as highly as any belief the subject happens to hold. But, in cases where the subject does not have any beliefs that are highly justified, this will imply that even a belief with relatively low justification is epistemically certain. Perhaps we could say instead that a belief is justified to the highest degree when it is justified as highly as any belief that anyone
happens to hold. But this, too, leaves open the possibility that a belief with relatively low justification is epistemically certain: if all the subjects in existence are in a condition of universal ignorance, all of their beliefs—including the best of them—will have only a low level of justification. Perhaps, then, we should say that a belief is justified in the highest degree when it has the highest level of justification possible
. But even this account is unsatisfactory. Suppose that global skepticism is necessarily true: it is a necessary truth that no subject is capable of having much justification for any of her beliefs; although it may seem to us as though a significant degree of justification is possible, this in fact is incorrect. It would then be intuitively correct to say that every belief falls far short of certainty, though this would not be permitted by the account of certainty under consideration. We may of course doubt that skepticism of this strong variety is correct; nevertheless, it should not be simply ruled out as a matter of definition. Ref
*In a general way a Particularism Conception of Certainty (“Self-presenting/Self-evident”)
could be stated as one’s belief is guaranteed to be true when we use particular instances of knowledge and justification as our guide in formulating an epistemology or the accompanying beliefs or claims of knowledge. In this the concept of certainty is illustrated by propositions about what he calls “self-presenting” mental states and by some logical and metaphysical axioms. Although this particularist approach probably is the way in which most philosophers think of certainty, it faces several difficulties. One is that the epistemology of the a priori
is far from clear. Given that we do not, apparently, causally interact with necessary truths, it is hard to see how our minds can have access to them. A second difficulty has to do with knowledge of our own mental states—sometimes referred to as knowledge by acquaintance
. According to the “speckled hen” problem, there are aspects of our mental states, such as the rich detail of one’s present visual experience, that we are not capable of knowing—e.g., if one is looking at a speckled hen, there will be a determinate number of speckles in one’s visual experience, which one will not be able to know just in virtue of having the experience. But those aspects we cannot know merely by being conscious of them are part of our conscious experience in just the same way as those aspects we are
supposed to be able to know; the difficulty is specifying a principled difference between the two. Much more could be said about the first two problems, but they lie beyond the scope of this article. A third difficulty is that, at least prima facie
, knowledge of one’s mental states seems to be of a fairly different kind from knowledge of necessary truths. It is not clear, at the outset, that we are warranted in taking them to be paradigmatic instances of a genuine epistemological kind. Ref
*In a general way a Fallibilistic Conception of Certainty (“Self-presenting/Self-evident”) could be stated as one’s belief is guaranteed to be true when attempting to provide an account of fallibilistic knowledge (i.e., knowledge that is less than certain). According to the standard account, the subject has fallibilistic knowledge that a proposition is true when she knows that a proposition is true on the basis of some justification, and yet the subject’s belief could have been false while still held on the basis of their justification offered. Alternatively, the subject knows that a proposition is true on the basis of some justification offered, but that justification offered does not entail the truth that a proposition is true. The problem with the standard account, in either version, is that it does not allow for fallibilistic knowledge of necessary truths. If it is necessarily true that a proposition is true, then the subject’s belief that a proposition is true could not have been false, regardless of what their justification for it may be like. And, if it is necessarily true that a proposition is true, then everything—including the subject’s justification for their belief—will entail or guarantee that a proposition is true. Our attempt to account for certainty encounters the opposite problem: it does not allow for a subject to have a belief regarding a necessary truth that does not count as certain. If the belief is necessarily true, it cannot be false—even when the subject has come to hold the belief for a very bad reason (say, as the result of guessing or wishful thinking). And, given that the beliefs are necessarily true, even these bad grounds for holding the belief will entail or guarantee that it is true. The best way to solve the problem for the analysis of fallibilistic knowledge is to focus, not on the entailment relation, but rather on the probabilistic relation holding between the subject’s justification and the proposition believed. When the subject knows that a proposition is true (claims) on the basis of justification from an offered justification is less than required for full confirmation, the subject’s knowledge is fallibilistic. (Although epistemologists will disagree about what the appropriate conception of probability is, here is a crude example of how probability may figure in a fallibilistic epistemology. Ref
*In a general way a Reliabilistic Conception of Certainty (“Self-presenting/Self-evident”)
could be stated as one’s belief is guaranteed to be true when a belief is justified after being produced by a process that has yielded a preponderance of true beliefs. So, if the process has yielded a true belief, say, 90% of the time, the probability that the next belief will be true is 90%; this is so even if the belief in question is necessarily true and has been logically deduced from a set of beliefs, each of which is necessarily true.) Adapting this solution to the problem for certainty, we can say that the subject is certain that a proposition is true
when an offered justification
has valid and reliable reason and evidence as the justification or grounds for the belief. However, in order for an offered justification
to impart a probability of valid and reliable to a proposition is true
, it must also be the case that a proposition is true and it’s offered justification
= valid and reliable reason and evidence. That is to say, an offered justification
must be certain for the subject before it can make anything else certain. But, if we are to explain the certainty that a proposition is true
by appeal to the certainty that an offered justification
, we fall into a vicious regress. The only way to stop it is to allow that some beliefs may have an intrinsic probability of imparting a validity and reliability to a proposition being assessed as true
. It is, however, difficult to see how intrinsic probability of this sort is possible (barring, of course, a subjectivist account of probability, which could, in any case, capture only psychological certainty). Ref
*In a general way a Falsificationism Conception of Certainty (“Self-presenting/Self-evident”) could be stated as one’s belief is guaranteed to be true (if falsifiable, ie. testable) if it is possible to conceive of an observation or an argument which could negate them, thus synonymous to testability. Statements, hypotheses, or theories have falsifiability or refutability if there is the inherent possibility that they can be proven false. They are falsifiable if it is possible to conceive of an observation or an argument which could negate them. In this sense, falsify is synonymous with nullify, meaning to invalidate or “show to be false”. For example, by the problem of induction, no number of confirming observations can verify a universal generalization, such as All swans are white, since it is logically possible to falsify it by observing a single black swan. Thus, the term falsifiability is sometimes synonymous to testability. Some statements, such as It will be raining here in one million years, are falsifiable in principle, but not in practice. The concern with falsifiability gained attention by way of philosopher of scienceKarl Popper‘s scientific epistemology “falsificationism“. Popper stresses the problem of demarcation—distinguishing the scientific from the unscientific—and makes falsifiability the demarcation criterion, such that what is unfalsifiable is classified as unscientific, and the practice of declaring an unfalsifiable theory to be scientifically true is pseudoscience. Ref
*In a general way a Indubitabilitic (doubt immune to doubt)
could be stated as one’s belief is guaranteed to be true has been done in a variety of ways but n general many believe that certainty is often explicated in terms of indubitability
doubt immune to doubt. One prominent account of certainty is suggested by Descartes’s presentation of his famous Archimedean point, the cogito
(I am thinking, therefore I exist). In the Second Meditation, Descartes reviews the extensive doubts of the First Meditation before saying that even if “there is a deceiver of supreme power and cunning who is deliberately and constantly deceiving me,” still “he will never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I am something”. Descartes then concludes that the proposition that he himself exists is true whenever he considers it. It is often thought that the cogito
has a unique epistemic status in virtue of its ability to resist even the “hyperbolic” doubts raised in the First Meditation. However, even if Descartes took this view of the certainty of that one’s existence is demonstrated by the fact that one thinks, he did not accept the general claim that certainty is grounded in indubitability. In the Third Meditation, Descartes says that he is certain that he is a thinking thing, and he explains the certainty of this “first item of knowledge” (it is unclear whether he regards it as distinct from the certainty of that one’s existence is demonstrated by the fact that one thinks as resulting from the fact that it is a clear and distinct perception. (Matters are complicated, however, by the fact that Descartes also says in the Third Meditation that certainty depends on knowing that God exists and is not a deceiver.) Ludwig Wittgenstein also seems to connect certainty with indubitability. He says that “If you tried to doubt everything you would not get as far as doubting anything. The game of doubting itself presupposes certainty”. What makes possible doubting is “the fact that some propositions are exempt from doubt, are as it were like hinges on which those turn”. Although Wittgenstein’s view is sometimes taken to be—or to provide the basis for—an epistemically satisfying response to skepticism, it is hard to see the kind of certainty he has characterized as being epistemic, rather than merely psychological, in nature. Thus, when Wittgenstein says, “The difficulty is to realize the groundlessness of our believing” it seems clear that the so-called hinge propositions are ones that we are psychologically incapable of calling into question. This is, of course, compatible with their being false. In general, every indubitability account of certainty will face a similar problem. The problem may be posed as a dilemma: when the subject finds herself incapable of doubting one of her beliefs, either she has good reasons for being incapable of doubting it, or she does not. If she does not have good reasons for being unable to doubt the belief, the type of certainty in question can be only psychological, not epistemic, in nature. On the other hand, if the subject does have good reasons for being unable to doubt the belief, the belief may be epistemically certain. But, in this case, what grounds the certainty of the belief will be the subject’s reasons for holding it, and not the fact that the belief is indubitable. Ref
Epistemically Rational Beliefs
Which is more epistemically rational, believing that which by lack of evidence could be false or disbelieving that which by insufficient evidence could be true?
Incapable of making a decision on if there is or not a god?
Bigfoots, Unicorns, and Gods?
“Epistemic rationality is part of rationality involving, achieving accurate beliefs about the world. It involves updating on receiving new evidence, mitigating cognitive biases, and examining why you believe what you believe.” Ref
Knowledge without Belief? Justified beliefs or disbeliefs worthy of Knowledge?
Justifying Judgments: Possibility and Epistemic Utility theory
To me the choice is to use the “Ethics of Belief” and thus the more rational approach one would be more motivated is to disbelieve, rather than “Believing that which by lack of evidence could be false”, otherwise you would accept any statement or claim as true no matter how at odds with other verified facts. The ethics of belief refers to a cluster of related issues that focus on standards of rational belief, intellectual excellence, and conscientious belief-formation as well as norms of some sort governing our habits of belief-formation, belief-maintenance, and belief-relinquishment. Contemporary discussions of the ethics of belief stem largely from a famous nineteenth-century exchange between the British mathematician and philosopher W. K. Clifford and the American philosopher William James. . In 1877 Clifford published an article titled “The Ethics of Belief” in a journal called Contemporary Review. There Clifford argued for a strict form of evidentialism that he summed up in a famous dictum: “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence.” As Clifford saw it, people have intellectual as well as moral duties, and both are extremely demanding. People who base their beliefs on wishful thinking, self-interest, blind faith, or other such unreliable grounds are not merely intellectually slovenly; they are immoral. Such bad intellectual habits harm both themselves and society. We sin grievously against our moral and intellectual duty when we form beliefs on insufficient evidence, or ignore or dismiss evidence that is relevant to our beliefs. 1, 2
Philosophical Skepticism, Solipsism and the Denial of Reality or Certainty
I want to clarify that I am an an Ignostic, Axiological Atheist and Rationalist who uses methodological skepticism. I hold that there is valid and reliable reason and evidence to warrant justified true belief in the knowledge of the reality of external world and even if some think we don’t we do have axiological and ethical reasons to believe or act as if so.
Thinking is occurring and it is both accessible as well as guided by what feels like me; thus, it is rational to assume I have a thinking mind, so, I exist.
But, some skeptics challenge reality or certainty (although are themselves appealing to reason or rationality that it self they seem to accept almost a priori themselves to me). Brain in a vat or jar, Evil Demon in your mind, Matrix world as your mind, & Hologram world as your reality are some arguments in the denial or challenge of reality or certainty.
The use of “Brain in a vat” type thought experiment scenarios are common as an argument for philosophical skepticism and solipsism, against rationalism and empiricism or any belief in the external world’s existence.
Such thought experiment arguments do have a value are with the positive intent to draw out certain features or remove unreasoned certainty in our ideas of knowledge, reality, truth, mind, and meaning. However, these are only valuable as though challenges to remember the need to employ Disciplined-Rationality and the ethics of belief, not to take these thought experiment arguments as actual reality. Brain in a vat/jar, Evil Demon, Matrix world, and Hologram world are logical fallacies if assumed as a reality representations.
First is the problem that they make is a challenge (alternative hypotheses) thus requiring their own burden of proof if they are to be seen as real.
Second is the problem that they make in the act of presupposition in that they presuppose the reality of a real world with factual tangible things like Brains and that such real things as human brains have actual cognition and that there are real world things like vats or jars and computers invented by human beings with human real-world intelligence and will to create them and use them for intellectually meaningful purposes.
Third is the problem of valid and reliable slandered as doubt is an intellectual professes needing to offer a valid and reliable slandered to who, what, why, and how they are proposing Philosophical Skepticism, Solipsism and the Denial of Reality or Certainty. Though one cannot on one had say I doubt everything and not doubt even that. One cannot say nothing can be known for certain, as they violate this very thought, as they are certain there is no certainty. The ability to think of reasonable doubt (methodological Skepticism) counteracts the thinking of unreasonable doubt (Philosophical Skepticism’s external world doubt and Solipsism). Philosophical skepticism is a method of reasoning which questions the possibility of knowledge is different than methodological skepticism is a method of reasoning, which questions knowledge claims with the goal finding what has warrant, justification to validate the truth or false status of beliefs or propositions.
Fourth is the problem that external world doubt and Solipsism creates issues of reproducibility, details and extravagancy. Reproducibility such as seen in experiments, observation and real world evidence, scientific knowledge, scientific laws, and scientific theories. Details such as the extent of information to be contained in one mind such as trillions of facts and definable data and/or evidence. And extravagancy such as seen in the unreasonable amount of details in general and how that also brings the added strain to reproducibility and memorability. Extravagancy in the unreasonable amount of details also interacts with axiological and ethical reasoning such as why if there is no real world would you create rape, torture, or suffering of almost unlimited variations. Why not just rape but child rape not just torture but that of innocent children who would add that and the thousands of ways it can and does happen in the external world. Extravagancy is unreasonable, why a massive of cancers and infectious things, millions of ways to be harmed, suffer and die etc. There is a massive amount of extravagancy in infectious agents if the external world was make-believe because of infectious agents come in an unbelievable variety of shapes, sizes and types like bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and parasites. Therefore, the various types of pleasure and pain both seem an unreasonable extravagancy in a fake external world therefore the most reasonable conclusion is the external world is a justified true belief.
Fifth is the problem that axiological or ethical thinking would say we only have what we understand and must curtail behavior ethically to such understanding. Think of ability to give consent having that reasoning ability brings with it the requirement of being responsible for our behaviors. If one believes the external world is not real, they remove any value (axiology) in people, places or things and if the external world is not real there is no behavior or things to interact with (ethics) so nothing can be helped or harmed by actions as there is no actions or ones acting them or having them acting for or against. In addition, if we do not know is we are actually existing or behaving in the real world we also are not certain we are not either, demanding that we must act as if it is real (pragmatically) do to ethical and axiological concerns which could be true. Because if we do act ethically and the reality of the external world is untrue we have done nothing but if we act unethical as if the reality of the external world is untrue and it is in fact real we have done something to violate ethics. Then the only right way to navigate the ethics of belief in such matters would say one should behave as though the external world is real. In addition, axiological or ethical thinking and the cost-benefit analysis of belief in the existence of the external world support and highly favors belief in the external world’s existence.
Solipsism (from Latin solus, meaning “alone”, and ipse, meaning “self”) is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist. To me, solipsism is trying to limit itself to rationalism only to, of, or by itself. Everyone, including a Solipsist, as the mind to which all possible knowledge flows; consider this, if you think you can reject rational thinking as the base of everything, what other standard can you champion that does not at its core return to the process of mind as we do classify people by intelligence. If you cannot use rationalism what does this mean, irrationalism? A Solipsist, is appealing to rationalism as we only have our mind or the minds of others to help navigate the world accurately as possible.
I wish to follow and inspire in others a desire or value in or for epistemology, axiology, and rationality. I want to strive for a corresponding and coherent value assessment along with a epistemological rationally, rational epistemology, as well as an accurate or at least a methodological rationally connecting to a epistemic value of the epistemology state of things or ideas.
What is it to be Rational?
To be “rational” is generally considered to mean employing logical consistency and deriving appropriate conclusions from acceptable assumptions.
Epistemic value is a kind of value which attaches to cognitive successes such as true beliefs, justified beliefs, knowledge, and understanding. These kinds of cognitive success do of course often have practical value. True beliefs about local geography help us get to work on time; knowledge of mechanics allows us to build vehicles; understanding of general annual weather patterns helps us to plant our fields at the right time of year to ensure a good harvest.
By contrast, false beliefs about the existence of weapons of mass destruction can lead nations to fight hugely expensive wars that are ultimately both destructive and useless. It is fairly uncontroversial that we tend to care about having various cognitive or epistemic goods, at least for their practical value, and perhaps also for their own sakes as cognitive successes.Ref
There is not just one type of rationalism or use of rationally.
Epistemic rationality: believing, and updating on evidence, so as to systematically improve the correspondence between your map and the territory. The art of obtaining beliefs that correspond to reality as closely as possible. This correspondence is commonly termed “truth” or “accuracy”, and we’re happy to call it that.
Instrumental rationality: achieving your values. Not necessarily “your values” in the sense of being selfish values or unshared values: “your values” means anything you care about. The art of choosing actions that steer the future toward outcomes ranked higher in your preferences. On LW we sometimes refer to this as “winning”. Ref
Pragmatic theory of truth, Coherence theory of truth, and Correspondence theory of truth
To me, there are three main approaches to truth (ontology of truth) from the very subjective (Pragmatic theory of truth), subjective (Coherence theory of truth), or to the objective (Correspondence theory of truth).
*Pragmatic theory of truth: very subjective
“our ideas are true if they work to solve problems, are useful”
A common feature is a reliance on the pragmatic maxim as a means of clarifying the meanings of difficult concepts such as truth; and an emphasis on the fact that belief, certainty, knowledge, or truth is the result of an inquiry. The pragmatic maxim is a normative recommendation or a regulative principle in the normative science of logic, its function is to guide the conduct of thought toward the achievement of its purpose, advising on an optimal way of “attaining clearness of apprehension”. Ref Ref
*Coherence theory of truth: subjective/objective
“our ideas are true if they are internally consistent not contradictory”
A common thinking is to regard truth as coherence within some specified set of sentences, propositions or beliefs. There is no single set of such “logical universes”, but rather an assortment of perspectives that are commonly discussed under this title. A positive tenet is the idea that truth is a property of whole systems of propositions and can be ascribed to individual propositions only derivatively according to their coherence with the whole. While modern coherence theorists hold that there are many possible systems to which the determination of truth may be based upon coherence, others, particularly those with strong religious beliefs hold that the such truth only applies to a single absolute system. In general, then, truth requires a proper fit of elements within the whole system. Very often, though, coherence is taken to imply something more than simple formal coherence. Ref
*Correspondence theory of truth: objective
“our ideas are true if they accurately correspond to reality and its facts”
A common thinking 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. There is a sense in which that which is truth depends on the world it can be demonstrated in, similar to the scientific methods presupposition of methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism is not a “doctrine” but an essential aspect of the methodology of science, the study of the natural universe. If one believes that natural laws and theories based on them will not suffice to solve the problems attacked by scientists – that supernatural and thus nonscientific principles must be invoked from time to time – then one cannot have the confidence in scientific methodology that is prerequisite to doing science. The spectacular successes over four centuries of science based on methodological naturalism cannot be denied. Correspondence theories claim that true beliefs and true statements correspond to the actual state of affairs. Bertrand Russell theorized that a statement, to be true, must have a structural isomorphism with the state of affairs in the world that makes it true.The truth predicate of interest in a typical correspondence theory of truth tells of a relation between representations and objective states of affairs, and is therefore expressed, for the most part, by a dyadic predicate. In general terms, one says that a representation is true of an objective situation, more briefly, that a sign is true of an object. The nature of the correspondence may vary from theory to theory in this family. The correspondence can be fairly arbitrary or it can take on the character of an analogy, an icon, or a morphism, whereby a representation is rendered true of its object by the existence of corresponding elements and a similar structure. Historically, most advocates of correspondence theories have been ontological realists; that is, they believe that there is a world external to the minds of all humans. Ref Ref Ref
Actually I think the difference between them is not either or but which one is applicable to the amount or qualities of valid and reliable reason and or evidence. One theory the pragmatic theory of truth where you don’t have much or almost no evidence but it seems the most reasonable to assume something like “I am typing on a Facebook post and I am not in a matrix simulation, then I increase the perceived truth if what is being communicated is what most likely is true because the expression of what it could be is at least coherent to what is said and how it’s said not holding an internal inconsistency, which is the coherence theory of truth. And most trusted of all and the main one science is pretty much using most often is the correspondence theory of truth.
ps. In my opinion, people don’t realize there presuppositions, truth is one of the big ones, as already we likely believed a certain persuasion of viewing the thing truth can be (ontology thinking) about the ontology status of truth (often not fully realized or actualized either. whew we often have confusion around or about truth is because we often just jump to the epistemology of truth, but how can we establish truth characteristics (epistemology thinking)
“Ontology and epistemology are both important elements of the philosophy of knowledge. If they often overlap, they have clear distinction : epistemology is about the way we know things when ontology is about what things are. Ontology is the study of what there is. Epistemology is the study of what you know and how you know it. The two are intimately related. Any statement of ontology (e.g. “Bees are a kind of insect”) is intended to be a statement of “truth”, and epistemology is trying to figure out what it means to be “true”. But the notion of “truth” is inherently grounded in our idea that there’s some kind of world out there for which the distinction between “truth” and “not-truth” is relevant.” Ref
What I am saying is one cannot say “truth is…” (epistemology thinking) until they have the (ontology thinking) of the “thingness” of truth (ontology: the nature of being, becoming, existence or reality as well as the basic categories of being and their relations). The part “truth is…” wishes to explain (epistemology thinking) nature of a “thing” or its “thingness” (ontology thinking). So, the “is” part (epistemology thinking) means the attached characteristics of the “thing” called truth (ontology) when the epistemological question is offered without acknowledging or establishing the thing being call truth (ontology thinking).
So, ontology is about what is this thing true or what true is and epistemology then is about methods of figuring out those truths. Ref