Monday, March 22, 2004

Thanks for Simon Blackburn for the Following

In like manner, if I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery. -- William K. Clifford, The Ethics of Belief
I will grudgingly admit that this argument uses the slippery slope fallacy. Perhaps Clifford should have concluded with "The danger to society is that it should believe wrong things."


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