Belief and Reason: Which Comes First

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Bones-O
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 08:34 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;66181 wrote:
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.


I disagree. Hume spoke of this too. We may believe external objects exist unperceived to avoid the uncormforable dissonance arising from the possibility that they don't. On second reading, I believe this is what the OP is asking: can reason be based on belief rather than vice versa, to which I'd say 'yes'. We may be believe in something as per our passions, then draw reason from that belief.

kennethamy;66181 wrote:
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?


Not really. When I spoke of reasons not being necessary, you pointed out that this does not mean causes aren't necessary. When I confirmed I believe causes are necessary, you point out that this doesn't mean reasons are necessary. I think you confused yourself. Smile
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 12:14 pm
@Bones-O,
Bones-O!;66187 wrote:
I disagree. Hume spoke of this too. We may believe external objects exist unperceived to avoid the uncormforable dissonance arising from the possibility that they don't. On second reading, I believe this is what the OP is asking: can reason be based on belief rather than vice versa, to which I'd say 'yes'. We may be believe in something as per our passions, then draw reason from that belief.



Not really. When I spoke of reasons not being necessary, you pointed out that this does not mean causes aren't necessary. When I confirmed I believe causes are necessary, you point out that this doesn't mean reasons are necessary. I think you confused yourself. Smile


The cause of someone's belief that God exists may not be a reason for his belief that God exists. Suppose the cause of my belief that God exists is that I was raised in a very religious household. But that I was raised in a religious household is not a reason for believing that God exists, is it? Therefore, a cause for a belief need not be a reason for a belief. Therefore, although there is always a cause for a belief, that does not mean that there need be a reason for that belief.
Isn't that right?
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 02:28 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;66203 wrote:
The cause of someone's belief that God exists may not be a reason for his belief that God exists. Suppose the cause of my belief that God exists is that I was raised in a very religious household. But that I was raised in a religious household is not a reason for believing that God exists, is it? Therefore, a cause for a belief need not be a reason for a belief. Therefore, although there is always a cause for a belief, that does not mean that there need be a reason for that belief.
Isn't that right?


Yes, of course. Quickly clarify: what point do you think you're arguing against here, because I'm totally lost. Surprised
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 05:05 pm
@Bones-O,
Bones-O!;66229 wrote:
Yes, of course. Quickly clarify: what point do you think you're arguing against here, because I'm totally lost. Surprised


Oh, as I have already mentioned, there is a distinction between reasons and causes, and that although there is always a cause of a belief, sometimes, there is no reason the believer has for the belief. In the case of religious belief, that kind of belief is often called, "faith". Not very profound, but it is surprising how many people are unaware of the distinction between causes and reasons (for beliefs). In case you don't find this clear, don't hesitate to ask again.

As for what I was arguing against, I don't think I was arguing against anything, in particular, but I was pointing out that you appeared to be confusing reasons for believing, and causes for believing, since you thought tht because every belief has a cause (which I also think) that every belief has a reason, and, of course, that is not true.
 
Nameless 23232
 
Reply Sun 7 Jun, 2009 12:20 pm
@kennethamy,
I don't buy in to the argument that one can believe in something simply because they were introduced to the belief from an early age. Surely there has to be some reasoning behind that decision to hold the belief, if not on the same level as critical reasoning then certainly some degree of reasoning such as rationalization, or else the belief would make no sense. To make sense of something isn't that a form of reasoning?

As for which comes first, it's hard to say, I'm not sure I believe that it's easy to distinguish the two on a sequential basis. I think it really depends on how you are going to define reason, to my knowledge there is not a clear cut definition in philosophical terms.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 8 Jun, 2009 05:57 pm
@Nameless 23232,
Nameless_23232;67165 wrote:
I don't buy in to the argument that one can believe in something simply because they were introduced to the belief from an early age. Surely there has to be some reasoning behind that decision to hold the belief, if not on the same level as critical reasoning then certainly some degree of reasoning such as rationalization, or else the belief would make no sense. To make sense of something isn't that a form of reasoning?

As for which comes first, it's hard to say, I'm not sure I believe that it's easy to distinguish the two on a sequential basis. I think it really depends on how you are going to define reason, to my knowledge there is not a clear cut definition in philosophical terms.


Not so "surely" when the child is 3 years old, and has been brought up as (say) a Muslim since birth. The belief makes perfect sense to the child. In fact, I would doubt that a three year old would even think about it. In fact, many of the adults who surround him do not even think about it. Surely. There are even people who are fanatics. Surely, you have heard about them.
 
Nameless 23232
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 05:35 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;67513 wrote:
Not so "surely" when the child is 3 years old, and has been brought up as (say) a Muslim since birth. The belief makes perfect sense to the child. In fact, I would doubt that a three year old would even think about it. In fact, many of the adults who surround him do not even think about it. Surely. There are even people who are fanatics. Surely, you have heard about them.


Well I think using the child as an example is slightly harsh as he hasn't fully developed yet. But for the fanatic, he has reasoned his belief to be logical, perhaps because he has rationalized what he was brought up on, or perhaps he came to that conclusion independently, but he has reasoned that it is the right position to be in given his situation. Whether it is the right conclusion from the process of reasoning that he went through well that's different.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 9 Jun, 2009 01:48 pm
@Nameless 23232,
Nameless_23232;67634 wrote:
Well I think using the child as an example is slightly harsh as he hasn't fully developed yet. But for the fanatic, he has reasoned his belief to be logical, perhaps because he has rationalized what he was brought up on, or perhaps he came to that conclusion independently, but he has reasoned that it is the right position to be in given his situation. Whether it is the right conclusion from the process of reasoning that he went through well that's different.


Why would you think a fanatic's belief that he will go to heaven if he murders school children is reasoned? It may simply be what someone has told him is true, and he just believes it. Or, maybe, he has just been brought up believing it. How would you know that, "he has reasoned that it is the right position to be in given his situation". Fanatics don't do that. That is why they are called, "fanatics".
 
Nameless 23232
 
Reply Wed 10 Jun, 2009 01:08 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;67750 wrote:
Why would you think a fanatic's belief that he will go to heaven if he murders school children is reasoned? It may simply be what someone has told him is true, and he just believes it. Or, maybe, he has just been brought up believing it. How would you know that, "he has reasoned that it is the right position to be in given his situation". Fanatics don't do that. That is why they are called, "fanatics".



I don't mean to play the devil's advocate, but how do you know that they don't reason it? Is it not an assumption made on your part that they do not, as you cannot imagine yourself doing the same? The very definition of the term fanatic is a person whom deviates from the social norms in place, so by this very definition if his behaviour is relatively common is it correct to label him a fanatic?
Take Palestine as an example with reference to the suicide bombers, this is in comparison to the UK a relatively common act, we would call the act radical, yet would it seem less so if you were in their position? Now with respect to the act of suicide bombing the participant may well reason that he will be achieving something by doing so, his mental process may proceed as follows, 1/ that it will reflect well on him to do so as he will achieve martyrdom and a benefit in the afterlife, 2/ that it will help to achieve a positive outcome for the cause of his peoples whom are suffering, 3/ that his own future is not so promising as to consider that by ending his life he will miss out on more benefits than he would receive by ending his life in this way.
Now you may say that he has been led to this position by what Sartre would call bad-faith and certainly been misled by propaganda, but you couldn't say that he had not reasoned and not just rationalized his own beliefs, because he clearly went through a process of deliberation.
I don't mean to justify the act by any means, I am entirely against it, I merely wish to point out the role of perspectivism.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 07:44 am
@Nameless 23232,
Nameless_23232;68068 wrote:
I don't mean to play the devil's advocate, but how do you know that they don't reason it? Is it not an assumption made on your part that they do not, as you cannot imagine yourself doing the same? The very definition of the term fanatic is a person whom deviates from the social norms in place, so by this very definition if his behaviour is relatively common is it correct to label him a fanatic?
Take Palestine as an example with reference to the suicide bombers, this is in comparison to the UK a relatively common act, we would call the act radical, yet would it seem less so if you were in their position? Now with respect to the act of suicide bombing the participant may well reason that he will be achieving something by doing so, his mental process may proceed as follows, 1/ that it will reflect well on him to do so as he will achieve martyrdom and a benefit in the afterlife, 2/ that it will help to achieve a positive outcome for the cause of his peoples whom are suffering, 3/ that his own future is not so promising as to consider that by ending his life he will miss out on more benefits than he would receive by ending his life in this way.
Now you may say that he has been led to this position by what Sartre would call bad-faith and certainly been misled by propaganda, but you couldn't say that he had not reasoned and not just rationalized his own beliefs, because he clearly went through a process of deliberation.
I don't mean to justify the act by any means, I am entirely against it, I merely wish to point out the role of perspectivism.


Not just "deviates from the social norms". A fanatic will not be influenced by reason.

Fanaticism is an emotion of being filled with excessive, uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause or in some cases sports, or with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby. Philosopher George Santayana defines fanaticism as "redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim"[1]; according to Winston Churchill, "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject". By either description the fanatic displays very strict standards and little tolerance for contrary ideas or opinions.

Wiki
 
Nameless 23232
 
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 10:00 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;68247 wrote:
Not just "deviates from the social norms". A fanatic will not be influenced by reason.

Fanaticism is an emotion of being filled with excessive, uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause or in some cases sports, or with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby. Philosopher George Santayana defines fanaticism as "redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim"[1]; according to Winston Churchill, "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject". By either description the fanatic displays very strict standards and little tolerance for contrary ideas or opinions.

Wiki


If you read the rest of the wiki description you will see what I am getting at, the difference between crank and fanatic.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 10:33 am
@Nameless 23232,
Nameless_23232;68290 wrote:
If you read the rest of the wiki description you will see what I am getting at, the difference between crank and fanatic.


Well, people who are vegans are cranks. I have no real quarrel with them. But suicide bombers who launch themselves at school buses are fanatics. And I think they are nuts.
 
Nameless 23232
 
Reply Thu 11 Jun, 2009 10:50 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;68294 wrote:
Well, people who are vegans are cranks. I have no real quarrel with them. But suicide bombers who launch themselves at school buses are fanatics. And I think they are nuts.


That's just it, that's what I was getting at, you think they are nuts as do I. But does the society they inhabit feel the same and do they feel that what they are doing is not normal, perhaps not. Some would regard Vegans as fanatics if for example they don't explain very well why they choose to be a Vegan, if they cite some dubious religious reason or something like that.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 12:49 am
@Nameless 23232,
Nameless_23232;68298 wrote:
That's just it, that's what I was getting at, you think they are nuts as do I. But does the society they inhabit feel the same and do they feel that what they are doing is not normal, perhaps not. Some would regard Vegans as fanatics if for example they don't explain very well why they choose to be a Vegan, if they cite some dubious religious reason or something like that.



I suppose that some of that society does think those people are (if not nuts) extremists and, fanatics. Maybe more than you think. But, of course, in that culture they might be more sympathetic, and in that sense, "understand" why the suicide-bombers do what they do. But the fact that these people are sympathized with does not make them any the less, fanatics. Their culture is, after all, not the only culture, and certainly not the culture of the world. And, it does not follow that if they receive a sympathetic hearing in the Middle East, that they are not fanatics in the ordinary sense of the term. It is just that fanatics are more accepted in their culture.

Which, incidentally, may tell us more about their culture than about them.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 01:47 am
@Mr Fight the Power,
kennethamy wrote:
It is just that fanatics are more accepted in their culture.


To which culture are you referring?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 09:03 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;68720 wrote:
To which culture are you referring?


Well, in the case we were talking about, the case of suicide-bombers, I was talking about Arab (and perhaps Muslim) culture in the Middle East. Weren't you?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 09:08 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;68781 wrote:
Well, in the case we were talking about, the case of suicide-bombers, I was talking about Arab (and perhaps Muslim) culture in the Middle East. Weren't you?


In which case you would be wrong about your claim regarding their acceptance by the larger culture.

These fanatics, and their supporters, represent a small minority. Far more absurd fanatics have been accepted in other cultures by a larger margin than these suicide bombers. Take, for example, the KKK at the turn of the century in the US.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 09:18 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;68784 wrote:
In which case you would be wrong about your claim regarding their acceptance by the larger culture.

These fanatics, and their supporters, represent a small minority. Far more absurd fanatics have been accepted in other cultures by a larger margin than these suicide bombers. Take, for example, the KKK at the turn of the century in the US.


I am not sure what you mean by "the larger culture" in this case. Poll results, and reports, I recall reading indicated that there was a fairly large measure of support and sympathy extended to suicide-bomber in the Arab and Muslim Middle East. Certainly that is true about 9/11. I don't have enough information to judge your example of the KKK. "Acceptance" is, of course, a very vague term. And there are, obviously, degrees of "acceptance". But I would have thought that there was more acceptance of suicide-bombing among Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East than in the rest of the world. Wouldn't you have?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 09:33 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;68786 wrote:
I am not sure what you mean by "the larger culture" in this case. Poll results, and reports, I recall reading indicated that there was a fairly large measure of support and sympathy extended to suicide-bomber in the Arab and Muslim Middle East.


There is a great deal of sympathy, but support is another issue. Very few view suicide bombing as acceptable, much less productive. Double checking the numbers, it seems you would have been dead on five years ago, but that support has dropped off dramatically.

NPR: Muslim Support for Suicide Bombings Plunges

And this is only "sometimes" justifiable.

kennethamy;68786 wrote:
I don't have enough information to judge your example of the KKK.


You should look into the matter. Cultural acceptance of what we would deem fanaticism is not strange.

kennethamy;68786 wrote:
But I would have thought that there was more acceptance of suicide-bombing among Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East than in the rest of the world. Wouldn't you have?


Well, yes, but that is not the point. The issue regards how acceptable fanaticism is to culture. It seems accurate to conclude that most any culture will readily embrace fanatics given the proper conditions. But it seems we agree on that point.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 13 Jun, 2009 03:00 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;68788 wrote:
There is a great deal of sympathy, but support is another issue. Very few view suicide bombing as acceptable, much less productive. Double checking the numbers, it seems you would have been dead on five years ago, but that support has dropped off dramatically.

NPR: Muslim Support for Suicide Bombings Plunges

And this is only "sometimes" justifiable.



You should look into the matter. Cultural acceptance of what we would deem fanaticism is not strange.



Well, yes, but that is not the point. The issue regards how acceptable fanaticism is to culture. It seems accurate to conclude that most any culture will readily embrace fanatics given the proper conditions. But it seems we agree on that point.


It seems to me that there are cultures, mostly in the East, where fanaticism is a good deal more prevalent, than in the West. It would be peculiar if this were not so, because to the stronger hold that religious fervor has in the West.
 
 

 
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