Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ramifications of my personal ineptitude 1: Absolute belief

I have been accused of wishy-washiness for not having conviction, for not having the strength of absolute belief in things like apple pie or America (Fuck, yeah!). This has always struck me as horribly unfair so allow me to set the record straight.

I believe absolutely and without reservation that (drumroll, please) I have at least one belief that is not correct. Obviously, the idea that I could be wrong about a belief I have because I have no beliefs about which I could be incorrect, or because I am incorrect about whether I hold this belief, beggars belief (pun intended). To not be correct about this particular belief because I am correct in all my beliefs is absurd.

Those who know me probably now think I am both wishy-washy and a pedant, but I think this belief is a better starting place for argument than Descarte's famous "Cogito ergo sum", "I think therefore I am." Descarte fails to rule out solipsism because there is no object to which he relates himself; no attribute that distinguishes Descarte from anything else in the universe. Presumably Descarte thought thoughts but his statement specifies no relationship between the thinker and the thought, so without saying something about what "I am," the statement "I exist" is meaningless

My absolute belief defines me as a believer in relationship to my beliefs any of which may not be correct according to a standard independent of me, and it further establishes that I and my beliefs are proper objects of belief. Not much, but it's a start.

¿Credo ergo erro?

No comments: