I had an online discussion yesterday about how we go about deciding what to believe – the person to whom I was speaking believed that evidence was the only factor. Years ago, I would have agreed with him completely. But I’ve been forced to admit that there are a great many things in life that we just don’t have any way of knowing – yet still have to make a call.
The logical response for this idea that evidence is the only factor (it is properly called Evidentialism, hence my title) is that it is self-contradictory.
The idea itself is not evidenced, and therefore fails on its own terms. For most, of course, the practical issue is the bigger matter.
As much as it makes one feel like a champion of rationality to demand evidence for things, I’m realizing that humans aren’t logic machines. We should be as clear in our thinking as possible, but really do have to start with basic ideas taken as given.
Some would call this “faith”, others “axioms”. Either way, I’m trying to really work out what core assumptions are: to make them few in number and consistent with one another.