Re: MD On Faith

From: Sam Norton (
Date: Wed Oct 27 2004 - 10:24:25 BST

  • Next message: Sam Norton: "Re: MD God and the Republicans, Democrats & Others"

    Hi Mark,

    You said to Erin:

    > It's true that you have direct access to your own experiences, but
    > not to the experiences of others. You know when you are thirsty, but
    > you can't be sure that someone else is thirsty just because they say
    > so. Rational empiricism does not claim that everything anyone SAYS
    > they've experienced must be true. People make mistakes; people are
    > deceived; people lie.

    Wittgenstein argued that it is impossible for deceit to be built into our most fundamental human
    relationships. If, for example, you see someone stagger in from the desert in a state of severe
    dehydration, is it really the case that "you can't be sure that someone else is thirsty just because
    they say so"? It's very much part of the Cartesian mode of understanding to make this sort of thing
    questionable, and radical doubt is, itself, an unreasonable stance.

    Re the resurrection you're making the Humean point that it is more plausible to disbelieve reports
    of a miracle than to accept those reports if they go against your wider experience of the world. But
    that depends upon a certain 'interventionist' understanding of miracle that is (again) closely tied
    in with SOM, and specifically Newtonian mechanics. If you don't understand miracles in that
    'interventionist' sense (as I don't) then the question of rational empiricism drops out.


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