The next meeting of Talking Allowed in Leeds is on Monday, September 10th at 1.45pm in Veritas Ale and Wine Bar.
Last month we discussed the argument put forward by W.K. Clifford that our beliefs must be backed up by reason and evidence. It is not enough, he says, to rely on inner certainty, dogma or received wisdom.
For September’s meeting we will continue the discussion by looking at the other parts of Clifford’s text: how do we judge the views of experts and authorities, and is it acceptable to use inference to back up our beliefs.
Gifford summarises his views as follows:-
- We may believe what goes beyond our experience, only when it is inferred from that experience by the assumption that what we do not know is like what we know.
- We may believe the statement of another person, when there is reasonable ground for supposing that he knows the matter of which he speaks, and that he is speaking the truth so far as he knows it.
- It is wrong in all cases to believe on insufficient evidence; and where it is presumption to doubt and to investigate, there it is worse than presumption to believe.
The full text of “The Ethics of Belief” can be found here: