About Belief LO19943

Malcolm Burson (mburson@mint.net)
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 09:05:16 -0500

Replying to LO19855 --

On 15 Nov 98, at 10:45, Richard Karash wrote:

> Replying to LO19830 --
> The second thread I propose coming out of the recent exchange is about belief.

Rick, I'm surprised that this posting hasn't been much taken up, and I
wouldn't like to see it disappear. Thus, ......

> What can we say about beliefs? What are our beliefs about beliefs? Here
> are some of mine:

> 3. Some beliefs are more valid than others. That is, some beliefs will be
> more widely effective for more people than others. Therefore, I want to be
> conscious of making my own judgments of what beliefs are more valid.

I'm not sure that I concur with your definition above, based in
"effectiveness" for greater numbers of adherents. My Concise Oxford
Dictionary defines valid as

strong, defensible, well-grounded (derived from Latin
"validus" = strong)

Thus, it would seem that a belief meeting this criterion could quite
appropriately be held by only a single person without risking
"invalidity." It could be strong, defensible and well-grounded in the
experience, mental models, etc. of the adherent even if no one else
thought it worthwhile.

So....is the validity of a belief dependent on the number of those who
share it? Which may be another way of asking, "when we talk about
beliefs, to what extent are they dependent on validation from outside the
consciousness of the believer?"

As a starting point, perhaps the further we move toward the "judgment of
the community" (see below), the less we are talking about "belief" and
more about something else, the word for which I invite others to provide.

> 4. But, just *which* are the more valid beliefs? There is no ultimate
> arbiter of #3, so it's left to judgment. In the community, consensus
> rules, but can be short-sighted.

Can anyone take us further?




Malcolm C. Burson Management Solutions Orono, Maine (207) 866-0019 mburson@mint.net

"The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrificie what we are, for what we might become." Charles Dubois

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