Faith: another category to be vindicated

My new post at the Orthosphere:  Faith is honesty in doubt

One Response

  1. Bonald wrote, “[E]veryone is forced to proceed on faith.”

    Take a simple example.

    Sometimes, when they can’t find something, one hears people say, “It can’t have simply vanished.” It is something they take for granted.

    But how do they know this? It is not a logical impossibility that things should simply vanish; we can quite easily imagine something just disappearing and re-appearing, like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland.

    This suggests “things don’t simply vanish” is an empirical or scientific proposition, an hypothesis that needs to be tested. But there is an obvious difficulty here; accepting even the possibility of things “simply vanishing” has all sorts of implications for what would count as testing, proving, how we interpret evidence and our whole system of verification.

    The solution is simple enough: “things don’t simply vanish” is a rule, a practice, a regulative principle for the way we judge and act, from the most rigorous scientific enquires to the most ordinary everyday activities.

    This does not make it, as the Post-Modernist sceptic claims, a groundless assertion. As Wittgenstein explains, “Regarding such statements as absolutely solid is part of our method of doubt and enquiry.” He adds that “I do not explicitly learn the propositions that stand fast for me. I can discover them subsequently like the axis around which a body rotates. This axis is not fixed in the sense that anything holds it fast, but the movement around it determines its immobility.”

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