Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Truth, belief in God and Kant

Could you argue that the fact that 97% of people believe something is true makes it true? What if those 97% of people do not understand why their belief is wrong?

Pre-Copernicus, 97% of people believed that the the Sun revolves around the Earth. Was the geocentric view true and then became false or was it always false?

With regards the existence of God, using coherentism as justification fails because there needs to be some evidence if you are making a scientific claim and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to support them.

The following link sets out some of Plantinga's arguments for the existence of God:

Evolutionary biologists would not contest the view that we are hard-wired to believe in God, it is indeed quite common at our current state of evolutionary development. But this does not make it true, in fact it supports the explanation for why so many of us believe in something which is untrue. Personally, I don't agree with Plantinga's arguments.

Kant has a different take on epistemology, which when you read it is very original and convinving.

Kant's argument for synthetic a priori truths is summarised well in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
"Kant’s answer to the question is complicated, but his conclusion is that a number of synthetic a priori claims, like those from geometry and the natural sciences, are true because of the structure of the mind that knows them. “Every event must have a cause” cannot be proven by experience, but experience is impossible without it because it describes the way the mind must necessarily order its representations. We can understand Kant’s argument again by considering his predecessors. According to the Rationalist and Empiricist traditions, the mind is passive either because it finds itself possessing innate, well-formed ideas ready for analysis, or because it receives ideas of objects into a kind of empty theater, or blank slate. Kant’s crucial insight here is to argue that experience of a world as we have it is only possible if the mind provides a systematic structuring of its representations."

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