Thursday, March 31, 2011

Belief and Assumptions, part 2

Well, my previous post caused quite a Facebook debate! I was certainly hoping to start discussion, but I hadn't planned on that much! Now that I have a bit of time, it's time for some more ramblings. I'm not nearly finished yet.

So: last time, I argued that no one's worldview is free of assumptions. There are some basic ones that we either make or act by that are essential for functioning in society, and beyond that peoples' diverse assumptions shape their passions, their politics, and their religion. That was the first part of the point I was trying to make, but I neglected to bring out the second: that holding these assumptions is not necessarily a bad thing, or something we should try to sweep under the rug. Rather, I think they should be brought out and discussed; it would likely be more productive than the endless debating of the ramifications of these assumptions that we get instead.

I think this second point proceeds pretty easily from the first. If there is a way to logically derive every part of a complete worldview, no one is anywhere close to finding it. These assumptions have to be made. Often we don't even think about it. And since we all do it, it doesn't really make any sense to look down on someone for holding assumptions if they are brought into the open. Whether these assumptions are true is another story.

Of course, if one of your assumptions is that truth is relative (in its more logically sound form as stated last time), then this doesn't matter. But if you hold this belief, then what anyone else believes doesn't matter, and I haven't met anyone who doesn't care at all what other people believe.

That's about all for now. Next I'll think about why people hold some of the assumptions they do.

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