Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I believe that everything I believe is true. So do you, else by definition you would not believe it, for if you held some doubt about something being true, you therefore could not be said to believe it.

At the same time, I know that there are some things I believe to be true which are false, or only true sometimes, or are only partially true. I just don't know which is which.

And that is not to say that because I believe something, for me it is true. No, if I believe something which is not true, then I am wrong and require instruction.

John Stuart Mill, in his marvelous essay On Liberty, noted that most true things are only mostly true, being our best approximation to Truth. We accept them as true because they work, or nothing else we believe to be true conflicts with them. Then something comes along to test our belief, and we must either reject our own view, accept the new one, or reconcile them somehow.

Most things we believe to be true (aside from purely mathematical or logical constructs) are true with caveats and exceptions. The contrary opinions held by those who disagree with us are obviously false, but they generally hold some spark of truth, some tiny bit of correction which can be gleaned.

Communism, for instance, built an entire world view on the inequity of rich and poor. Some even today believe it to be a better way to organize society than capitalism, the trouble being that communism rejects human freedom and is thus doomed to failure.

But we need to be reminded of the truth of our own beliefs, and the reasons for those beliefs, or some new communism will come along and we will be unprepared to properly reject it, and even more, to reconcile the bit of rightness it contains, and the bit of wrongness it points out in our own belief.

It is therefore our duty, if we seek Truth, to encourage those of a generally contrary opinion to our own to voice that opinion.

And that is why I blog.

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1 comment:

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 04/08/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

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