It has been suggested that there exist two types of people: those who believe only what they see, and those believe in what is unseen. If anyone were truly subscribed to either of these positions, however, they would quickly be cast out of society. The true empiricists would not believe in black holes, medieval times, or any of the countries they have not visited, and the true… believers… would believe absolutely anything and everything.

The truth is that everyone believes what they believe because of evidence. They might give undue weight to some of the evidence, have ulterior motives for accepting the evidence, and so forth, but ultimately all belief is derived from the specific evidence for that belief, and all discussions about what to believe are therefore rational discussions that weigh and discriminate between evidence. If there is a point in human belief systems at which an irrational leap of faith must be made, it is nonetheless only by rational thought that one realizes that such a leap must be made, and the understanding of why such irrational leaps are necessary is nonetheless a rational thought.

It may be true that nobody can really justify a worldview from the evidence. But it is also true that everything everyone believes is based entirely on evidence–factual, experiential, shoddy or otherwise.


One Response to “Empiricism”

  1. I just wanted to say I like this post. I was even excited to find that there is a button for that. But apparently I need to be a WordPress account holder for that.

    It’s weird that I would want to press a button instead of just telling you I like your post. And it’s weird that such a button exists, with specific terms and conditions.

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