Tag: Kant

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The great philosopher Immanuel Kant has a strategy for making sure our actions are consistent with moral law. It’s called the Categorical Imperative (CI). The moral law (ML) Kant is talking about is universal: A moral law has no exceptions. So the first version of the CI Kant gives us is that the justifications for […]

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Most people know the Golden Rule from Jesus/Yeshua: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, ESV). Another remark from him is closely associated with the Golden Rule: “The second [greatest commandment] is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ […]

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It’s high time I got right down to some of the epistemological basics and explained something important about knowledge: that in order to know anything empirically we have to accept some things on a non-empirical basis. There are certain beliefs that are necessary if we’re going to learn anything about the world from experience, but which are […]

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Knowledge and Faith Can Be the Same Thing

 

F-K VennIt is commonly assumed that an item of knowledge and an article article of faith can never be the same thing. This assumption is mistaken. In this post, I will explain only one point: trust in authority can be a source of knowledge. That’s what faith is: trust. It’s still the first definition of “faith” in the dictionary. Also see the Latin fides and the Greek pistis.

So don’t believe the hype that categorically separates faith from knowledge. This separation ranges from the view William James attributes to a schoolboy (“Faith is when you believe something that you know ain’t true”) to Kant’s more sophisticated idea that “I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith” (in beliefs that might well be true).

We should also reject the hype that says that an argument from authority is necessarily fallacious. The best logic textbook in print will tell you otherwise. It will even tell you that there is such a thing as a valid argument appealing to an infallible authority! (“Valid” is a technical term in logic; be sure to look it up first if you’re inclined to complain that there are no infallible authorities.)

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This is a kind of quatrain & a kind of poem Kipling seems to have enjoyed writing. Here’s John Derbyshire reading it, which should be enough to charm you. I’m not sure he invented it, but I find it hard to believe anyone did it better. See The Conundrum of The Workshops, New lamps for […]

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