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Download e-book for iPad: Belief, Knowledge, and Truth: Readings in the Theory of by Robert R. Ammerman; Marcus G. Singer

By Robert R. Ammerman; Marcus G. Singer

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Extra info for Belief, Knowledge, and Truth: Readings in the Theory of Knowledge

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Every one of them, if he chose to examine himself in foro conscientiae, would know that he had acquired and nourished a belief, when he had no right to believe on such evidence as was before him; and therein he would know that he had done a wrong thing. It may be said, however, that in both of these supposed cases it is not the belief which is judged to be wrong, but the action following upon it. " In the first place, let us admit that, so far as it goes, this view of the case is right and necessary; right, because even when a man's belief is so fixed that he cannot think otherwise, he still has a choice in regard to the action suggested by it, and so cannot escape the duty of investigating on the ground of the strength of his convictions; and necessary, because those who are not yet capable of controlling their feelings and thoughts must have a plain rule dealing with overt acts.

But also we have passed from the field of pure logical apprehension, to that reference to existents which is involved in the alternative conception. It is this alternative, therefore, which I shall take as a more promising starting point; and I shall proceed to inquire what account, if any, can be given of the act of believing regarded as an essential requirement of sur- 28 ARTHUR KENYON ROGERS vival. Along the lines of the English tradition in philosophy, there are two chief suggestions that will furnish a possible line of attack.

I admit that in the next moment I could find myself under a tree or in the bathtub. But this is not to admit that it could be revealed in the next moment that I am now dreaming. For what I admit is that I might be instantaneously transported to the garden, but not that in the next moment I might wake up in the garden. There is nothing that could happen to me in the next moment that I should call "waking up"; and therefore nothing that could happen to me in the next moment would be accepted by me now as proof that I now dream.

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