Belief and Reason: Which Comes First

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Ultracrepidarian
 
Reply Fri 8 May, 2009 12:10 pm
@the wise one phil,
For the idea about whether or not you can have a belief which contradicts what you know :

I say sometimes that I lie to myself. Is it possible to lie to oneself? If that makes sense, what does it mean?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 8 May, 2009 05:47 pm
@Ultracrepidarian,
Ultracrepidarian wrote:
For the idea about whether or not you can have a belief which contradicts what you know :

I say sometimes that I lie to myself. Is it possible to lie to oneself? If that makes sense, what does it mean?


If I lie to myself, that would not mean I have a belief that contradicts what I know. It would mean that I have a different belief that contradicts what I also believe. I have two beliefs that contradict one another.
 
William
 
Reply Fri 8 May, 2009 07:07 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power wrote:
I am looking to challenge the standard notion of the relationship between our beliefs and our reasons.

It is generally accepted that all beliefs have a reason behind them. When someone says they believe something, they usually can immediately provide some reason for their belief.

It would seem to me an almost universal understanding that the reason is the causal force behind a belief: people say "I believe because of this reason". This can be informally reworded: "I observed this (or some other manner in which we gain knowledge), from which I derived this belief."

This view of the matter seems far to blunt at best, completely backwards at worst. Unfortunately, my own view of it is hardly fleshed out, and so I wish to play the role of devil's advocate.

If you accept this common notion, defend it, advocate it, convince me. If you don't accept this notion, please clear my thinking and enlighten me.


Hello FTP,
IMO, belief's can be rational or irrational; true or perceived. Of course if they are rational and true, the are not longer beliefs, they are facts. Belief is something that fits into a persons individual perspective regardless if it is true or false. To the individual who believes it doesn't matter, that belief fits in with that which gives his life purpose, whether it is good or evil. If we believe something, we will seek any corroborating knowledge and the company of others. or just plain common sense that support's that belief or we will rationalize one of our own that gives us reason to believe it. I guess it all depends on how deep seeded the belief is will determine what lengths we will go to defend it. IMO. I hope this is on track with what you meant.
William
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 9 May, 2009 01:18 am
@William,
William wrote:
Hello FTP,
IMO, belief's can be rational or irrational; true or perceived. Of course if they are rational and true, the are not longer beliefs, they are facts. Belief is something that fits into a persons individual perspective regardless if it is true or false. To the individual who believes it doesn't matter, that belief fits in with that which gives his life purpose, whether it is good or evil. If we believe something, we will seek any corroborating knowledge and the company of others. or just plain common sense that support's that belief or we will rationalize one of our own that gives us reason to believe it. I guess it all depends on how deep seeded the belief is will determine what lengths we will go to defend it. IMO. I hope this is on track with what you meant.
William


If you ask me whether I believe that London is the capital of the United Kingdom, I will certainly say that I do. And if you ask be whether it is a fact that London is the capital of the United Kingdom, I will certainly say that it is a fact. In fact, that is why I believe that London is the capital of the United Kingdom. I believe it because I believe it is a fact. If I did not believe it was a fact, then I would not believe it in the first place.
 
the wise one phil
 
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 06:28 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;62147 wrote:
If you ask me whether I believe that London is the capital of the United Kingdom, I will certainly say that I do. And if you ask be whether it is a fact that London is the capital of the United Kingdom, I will certainly say that it is a fact. In fact, that is why I believe that London is the capital of the United Kingdom. I believe it because I believe it is a fact. If I did not believe it was a fact, then I would not believe it in the first place.



A fact is a principle that govern life, belief is a thought that we believe. religion is back by belief and faith, there belief lack reason but in philosohy, the philosophier belief is backed by reason

philosophy have more strength than religion because the belief of philosophers is backed by reason but relgion belief is backed by faith, any belief that lack reason to back it is weak, it is reason that give strength to our belief

london is a fact because it is a place we can go and see i can travel to london to see the city of london i have not seen london city my friend told me that there is a place call london i don,t believe london exist my fiend give a visa and took me to london he prove to me that london exist we both travel to london and we tour the city of london my friend believe that there is a place call london because he have seen the city of london and he have gone there seeing is believeing seeing also give strength to our belief when our belief is backed by faith our belief is weak but when it is backed by reason and fact our belief is strong.

a belief that lack reason is a wish, a fairy tale a belief backed by reason is a dream that can come true reason guide our human belief into the realm of truth and reality.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 07:05 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
I'm going to have to reason this one out before I believe it...
 
Yogi DMT
 
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 08:47 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
This is a hard question to answer. You could find belief within reason and then reason within belief. This all comes to down whether we made our conclusions (beliefs) after observation or if we needed to explain our belief. Personally i tend to go with beliefs from reason because that seems more rational. If we needed to give reason for a certain belief we would be reasoning using information gathered previously, to conclude a belief. With observation comes to information we need to form opinions and beliefs. I can't see it the other way around unless the belief was totally sporadic, in which case in hard to classify.
 
raja phil
 
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 10:50 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
Mr. Fight the Power;49817 wrote:
I am looking to challenge the standard notion of the relationship between our beliefs and our reasons.

It is generally accepted that all beliefs have a reason behind them. When someone says they believe something, they usually can immediately provide some reason for their belief.

It would seem to me an almost universal understanding that the reason is the causal force behind a belief: people say "I believe because of this reason". This can be informally reworded: "I observed this (or some other manner in which we gain knowledge), from which I derived this belief."

This view of the matter seems far to blunt at best, completely backwards at worst. Unfortunately, my own view of it is hardly fleshed out, and so I wish to play the role of devil's advocate.

If you accept this common notion, defend it, advocate it, convince me. If you don't accept this notion, please clear my thinking and enlighten me.

I can say that belief is the first thing.Then the reason follows.Belief started first in our life when we were young.First kid believs his/her mom without any reason.Its natural.As adults we start reasoning as why the kid believes his/her mom.
 
click here
 
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 12:34 am
@Ultracrepidarian,
It seems obvious to me that a belief must ALWAYS come before a reason. A reason must only be called a reason if you presuppose a belief that it can be used for reasoning and has authority.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 10:18 am
@click here,
click here;65788 wrote:
It seems obvious to me that a belief must ALWAYS come before a reason. A reason must only be called a reason if you presuppose a belief that it can be used for reasoning and has authority.


I can believe things for a reason. But I can also believe things for no reason. So, I may have a belief whether or not I have a reason for the belief. But, I think that all beliefs have causes, don't you? So, if there is a belief, then there has to be a cause of that belief. So, I may or may not have a reason for a belief, but I don't see how the belief would have no cause. Everything that happens has some cause.
 
click here
 
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 04:21 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;65832 wrote:
I can believe things for a reason. But I can also believe things for no reason. So, I may have a belief whether or not I have a reason for the belief. But, I think that all beliefs have causes, don't you? So, if there is a belief, then there has to be a cause of that belief. So, I may or may not have a reason for a belief, but I don't see how the belief would have no cause. Everything that happens has some cause.


Can you give me an example of you believing in something for no reason?
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 05:04 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
If I recall, Hume held that beliefs were driven more by imagination than reason. HIs feeling seemed to be that reason might extinguish, rather than cause, belief. Any Hume experts here to validate/correct this, and perhaps shed light on its reception?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 05:31 pm
@Bones-O,
Bones-O!;65881 wrote:
If I recall, Hume held that beliefs were driven more by imagination than reason. HIs feeling seemed to be that reason might extinguish, rather than cause, belief. Any Hume experts here to validate/correct this, and perhaps shed light on its reception?


Hume did not think that having a belief was something voluntary, something you could choose to do. But he thought we could have reasons for our beliefs, and that those reasons could cause us to have those beliefs. It is, after all, a matter of common experience, that a reason can cause us to believe something. I am sure that some people, for instance, have been caused to believe in God because of some argument for God they heard. Indeed, Bertrand Russell relates in his Autobiography how one day, when coming home after buying a can of tobacco for his brother, he was thinking about the Ontological argument for God, and he threw the can up into the air, and exclaimed, "By God, it is sound!". His belief did not last long, but it was caused by a reason.
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 05:33 pm
@Mr Fight the Power,
On this, I don't have the Treatise itself but found a not-very-helpful but perhaps guiding comment in an essay by PJE Kail on Part IV:

Kail wrote:

A running theme is that reason and the senses cannot be sources for fundamental beliefs like that of an external world or an enduring self. The imagination is responsible for much of our cognitive lives, and reason operating alone would all but extinguish beliefs.


Even got the word "extinguish" right! Moreover:

Kail wrote:

... Hume draws a distinction in the imagination, between the "permanent, irresistable, and universal" principles and the "changeable, weak and irregular". The former seem to be candidates for reason, but without the latter all belief would be extinguished.


By "candidates for reason" I'm of the mind he means candidates for subjects of reason, rather than candidates for the nature of reason. Anyway... it's not much but it might ring bells with those familiar with the Treatise.

EDIT: Above posted before Ken's response read. It still seems to be Hume is arguing that reason alone cannot cause belief. Further, the former type of imagination seems in line with what Ken says, while the latter seems something else. More reading required. Back in a jiffy!
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 05:58 pm
@Bones-O,
Bones-O!;65885 wrote:


EDIT: Above posted before Ken's response read. It still seems to be Hume is arguing that reason alone cannot cause belief. Further, the former type of imagination seems in line with what Ken says, while the latter seems something else. More reading required. Back in a jiffy!


Well, of course, you must desire to believe what it is reasonable to believe. Some people, I suppose do not. So to believe something because it is reasonable to believe it, you also have to want to do so. That certainly is what Hume thought. And so do I.
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 06:23 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;65889 wrote:
Well, of course, you must desire to believe what it is reasonable to believe. Some people, I suppose do not. So to believe something because it is reasonable to believe it, you also have to want to do so. That certainly is what Hume thought. And so do I.


Yes, I've just read the text online. He speaks of beliefs being driven by passions. But he also does seem to hold that beliefs are subject to an infinite regression of doubt that reason cannot sustain, and in fact would destroy. But this doesn't answer the OP, which asks can we have a belief without a reason, not are our reasons solid.

Ah well. Nowt to gain there. Thanks.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 09:35 pm
@Bones-O,
Bones-O!;65894 wrote:
Yes, I've just read the text online. He speaks of beliefs being driven by passions. But he also does seem to hold that beliefs are subject to an infinite regression of doubt that reason cannot sustain, and in fact would destroy. But this doesn't answer the OP, which asks can we have a belief without a reason, not are our reasons solid.

Ah well. Nowt to gain there. Thanks.


But there are clearly people who believe not only without reason, but contrary to reason. Some people talk about faith, and faith is a kind of belief (a strong belief) for which there is not justification (reason). Tertullian, 1 12th century priest held that he believed that Christ rose from the dead just because it was unreasonable to believe such a thing. His words were, "Credo, quia absurdum est" (I believe because it is absurd). So his reason for believing that Christ rose from the dead was that the belief was absurd, (i.e. contrary to reason). In other words, what caused Tertullian to believe as he did was that what he believed was unreasonable. So, we don't need Hume to tell us whether there are beliefs without reason. Clearly there are. But there are no beliefs without causes, since everything has a cause. It is important to distinguish between causes and reasons. Otherwise, you may think that if a belief does not have a reason, it does not have a cause. But that, of course, would be a mistake.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 09:55 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;61684 wrote:
I wonder what would make you think, then, that he knew he had the problem? (People do say things like, "I know that so-and-so is dead, but I don't believe it". But they don't mean it literally. They can be paraphrased as saying something like, "I know so-and-so is dead, but I cannot reconcile myself to it", or, "I keep feeling he is still around", or even, "I miss him so much").


Hence the term denial. A person might admit to having an alcohol problem, recognize the problem's severity yet deny responsibility, or a person might admit to having an alcohol problem yet deny the seriousness of the problem.

Cognitive dissonance is the broader term. It has been clinically demonstrated that people can hold contradictory ideas simultaneously.

Remember your Whitman!

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well, I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes)"

I think I got the quote right.
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 06:05 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;65915 wrote:
But there are clearly people who believe not only without reason, but contrary to reason. Some people talk about faith, and faith is a kind of belief (a strong belief) for which there is not justification (reason). Tertullian, 1 12th century priest held that he believed that Christ rose from the dead just because it was unreasonable to believe such a thing. His words were, "Credo, quia absurdum est" (I believe because it is absurd). So his reason for believing that Christ rose from the dead was that the belief was absurd, (i.e. contrary to reason). In other words, what caused Tertullian to believe as he did was that what he believed was unreasonable. So, we don't need Hume to tell us whether there are beliefs without reason. Clearly there are. But there are no beliefs without causes, since everything has a cause. It is important to distinguish between causes and reasons. Otherwise, you may think that if a belief does not have a reason, it does not have a cause. But that, of course, would be a mistake.


Sure, that's what I meant by the belief being contradicted by reason (rational thinking) while still being a reason (cause). It is fortunate there are no more definitions of the word 'reason' to make this more convoluted.

A reason may be a response (I believe X because of Y) or a purpose (I believe X for Y). My beliefs seem to fall into one or both categories, at least upon analysis (and I can't analyse them all). I believe in the continuity of objects beyond my perception of them because a) it is the simplest explanation for concurrence of repeated perceptions (a response to apparent continuity) and b) it is more useful to believe it than otherwise (for instance in communication - "Where are the keys?" "On the coffee table!" - less useful is "I don't know, for I do not perceive them.").

From a top-down perspective, I can't conceive of a belief that does not have a reason. a priori I can't conceive of one either, but then one of my beliefs is causality, so...
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 08:14 am
@Bones-O,
Bones-O!;66175 wrote:
Sure, that's what I meant by the belief being contradicted by reason (rational thinking) while still being a reason (cause). It is fortunate there are no more definitions of the word 'reason' to make this more convoluted.

A reason may be a response (I believe X because of Y) or a purpose (I believe X for Y). My beliefs seem to fall into one or both categories, at least upon analysis (and I can't analyse them all). I believe in the continuity of objects beyond my perception of them because a) it is the simplest explanation for concurrence of repeated perceptions (a response to apparent continuity) and b) it is more useful to believe it than otherwise (for instance in communication - "Where are the keys?" "On the coffee table!" - less useful is "I don't know, for I do not perceive them.").

From a top-down perspective, I can't conceive of a belief that does not have a reason. a priori I can't conceive of one either, but then one of my beliefs is causality, so...


I don't think I know what you mean by a reason being "a purpose". Maybe you are talking about a reason for doing something. For example, "I went across the street in order to speak to my friend who was there". But, of course, that is not a reason for a belief. It is a reason for an action.

But, many believers in God have said they had no reason for believing in God, but that it is a matter of faith. Luther was one. Another was Kierkegaard. In fact, I thought that was what religious faith was. Belief without evidence or any kind of support. I believe that all beliefs have causes. Of course. But that does not mean that all beliefs have reasons. Sometimes a reason is a cause of a belief, but not all the time. Sometimes a person may believe something for no reason at all. Of course, that does not mean his belief has no cause. It just means that the cause of his belief is not a reason for his belief. You may be confusing causes with reasons. Don't you think so? For example, the cause of my belief in God may be that I was brought up in a very religious home. But that surely cannot be my reason (justification) for believing in God. I cannot say that I believe that God exists because I was brought up in a very religious home. That is no justification (reason) for believing in God, is it?
 
 

 
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