SSH Chapter 4 Lecture notes.docx

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Social Sciences and Humanities
SSH 105
Joseph Zboralski

SSH Chapter 4 Reasons for belief and doubt 1. When claims conflict 2. Experts and evidence 3. Personal experience 4. Fooling ourselves Reasons for belief and doubt - if we care about our beliefs are true or reliable, then we must care about the reasons accepting those beliefs 1 When claims conflict - When two claims conflict they simply cannot both be true - If a new claim conflicts with other claims we have good reason to accept, we have good grounds for doubting the new claim. - With conflicting claims you are not justified in believing either one of them until you resolve the conflict Two types of conflict: (in chapter 7) 2 statements can be inconsistent (can’t both be true, but could both be false) (eg. Today is Monday” and “today is Wednesday” are inconsistent 2 statements can be contradictories can’t both be true but also can’t both be false (eg. There is a video of Rob Ford” and “there is no video of Rob Ford” are contradictories Another type of conflict Conflict with background information Sometimes, rather than two conflicting claims, we see a conflict between a claim and your “background info” Background info includes: - Facts about everyday things (eg. Sky is bad) - Beliefs based on very good evidence - Justified beliefs Principle here: claim conflicts with our background info, we have good reason to doubt it. Saying its false? No but it’s a reason to explore further more. How much more? Its depends on how important the claim is to you The more background info the claim conflicts with, the more reason we have to doubt it Always possible that a conflicting claim is true and some background info is unfounded “Common sense isn’t always right” Many believe: - -Shark attacks - flying airplane - SUVs safer All false Belief and Evidence - We should proportion our belief to evidence Our degree of belief should vary according to the evidence - The more evidence a claim has in favour, the stronger our belief in it should be. - Its not reasonable to believe a claim when there is no good reason for doing so. Believing shouldn’t be your default setting --- 2. Experts and Evidence When an unsupported claim doesn’t conflict with what we already know, we are often justified in believing it because it comes from experts. In other words: - If an expert makes a claim then we are
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