Philosophical Argument By Clifford And James Essay

Length: 7 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy Type: Essay Paper: #1170464 Related Topics: Epistemological, Argument, Argumentative, Analogy

Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Ethics of Belief Knowledge, Truth and Belief -- Cphl 550

For a long time, issues of faith and ethics have raised many concerns. In this study, I have used Clifford's argument to elucidate my support for the "ethics of belief." The Ethics of Belief by William Clifford state that it is incorrect for anyone to believe on anything based on insufficient evidence. Clifford mentions that the immorality of belief unsupported by evidence is similar to that of shipowners who forgo overhaul for their ship and overcome their doubts on the ship's sea-worthiness (Clifford 45). The costs and efforts used in monitoring the implementation are sourced from necessary repairs. The depiction shows the play-off beliefs against elements of self-interest. Ship owners overcome their doubts based on self-interest. The management collects the insurance after people dies in his ship at sea because of the proven unseaworthy nature of the vessel.

Clifford generalizes from the narrative on issues belief that lack sufficient evidence. The theory proposes that it is unlawful to work towards stifling doubts. When people report about their busy schedules, it is impossible to convince them of the dire need to focus on course of action that would ensure sustainability in competency and ideal judging of the certain questions. The interpretation allows for increased understanding the scope of arguments. Clifford reacts that everyone has a choice of creating time to verify the information and hence, have a firm grounding of faith. The concept adds that people have the right of believing in various courses of action while supporting evidence is inadequate (Clifford 67).

For example, moral decisions are attained through variation of conflicting values and presentation of choices made between them. The skeptical and scientific suspension by Clifford on belief does not help in similar situations. Religious beliefs are constituted as other examples. While James shows that decisions of life have a deep enunciation, Clifford realizes a globalized mandate in error avoidance. Some issues are dead or alive for persons such as like live or dead electricity wires. Other decisions are avoidable or forced while others are trivial or momentous (Proudfoot 38). As Clifford negates the belief without essence of evidence as a way of avoiding error, he is not in a position of recognizing that various decisions are momentous and forced. Avoidance of making a decision amounts to making a decision in such cases. The lack of options brings about loss of truth and good, which should have been experienced. It is prudent to make decisions in good time by involving the right people.

Religious belief offers a momentous and forced option because it appears similar to getting married. The act of delaying it to an indefinite date because one is not perfectly sure would not translate to a divorce or forfeiture of the goodness of marriage. The analogy is for the goodness surrounding religious beliefs among believers. The beliefs develop realities on their assertions and reference to their existence. Whether or not a person carries warm clothes in the cold morning does not amount to a forced option. The alternative is to remain home that is more trivial as compared to momentous. Whether people have a philosophical belief that the mind has a substantive content or not does not comprise of a forced, momentous, and a lived decision for the society (Clifford 48). However, some decisions are forced, momentous, or lived: suspending a belief due to sufficient evidence becomes impossible. The potential outcomes include bankrupting the heart and lives of the people. The author presents clear-cut and objective analysis. The approach does not advocate ignorance or denial of real evidence.

The approach is also a passionate existence for human beings, who are not able to live under skeptical suspension based on the belief as dictated by Clifford. The heart formulates reasoning that remains hidden to impartial knowledge. Religion offers things such as the best things that are more eternal and overlapping as well as those within the universe that throw prejudicial implications continually (Proudfoot 28). The illustration offers an ideal reflection of categorical error to Clifford's explanation. He also represents issues of ethics due to the epistemological doubt, and belief concepts of avoidance to attainable evidence.

However, Clifford presents controversial views on esthetic poetry, sexuality, and divorce. The inconsistencies ultimately make his polemical essays regarding ethics in Metaphysical Societies to be considered as a major contribution towards evolutionary development of principles. He was certain in articulation of responsibility as compared to other contributors to the area and placed ethics squarely on the science domain (Miller 24). His lectures and writings on the ethics topics are categorized...


The resort of the Scriptural examples includes infuriation of opponents and supporters. However, the tone within his essays does not have a clear-cut inclusion and deviation of through (Clifford 24). Characterization of Jesus as per Clifford provides a critical example. Issues raised include whether he was a true believer that the same Jesus commending blind faith was an immoral person or was deliberately employing hyperbolic rhetorical strategies designed to generate maximum shock.
While particular reasons of doubting the sincerity of such claims alluded to the issues of tone ageist sincerity, there were simpler illustrations of escaped attention and firing at the believers of Christianity. For instance, an individual involved in important political struggles such as in civil rights movements knows from experience that such struggles succeed only where people believe that they can succeed irrespective of the objective evidence. In such a case, James insists that it is permitted morally for a person to believe that such struggles succeed. This is because the belief ensures that there is a higher likelihood of achieving some great good. The outcomes are important elements in evaluating the alternatives of Clifford's case based on the situation (Proudfoot 29). The ignoble desire of becoming free from all forms of worry continues to generate comforting thoughts of success in the long-term. The illustration shows the noble desire towards racial equality and generates a common ground where the movement succeeds. Clifford's case shows credulous and passionate belief involving broader risks and promise of greater benefit. Agnosticism and belief carry such great risk in developing belief of great benefit.

Victorian agnosticism was not atheistical, and the agnostic groups shared among various traditional theists from Victorian Age the concentrations had metaphysical debates with analysis on discussions and limitations faced by human minds. The goal was to comprehend the ultimately unknowable God. The agnostics did not attempt to destroy religion (Clifford 38). Even though the appeal to consequentialist considerations based on the sort Clifford are acceptable, the argument of Clifford is not based on establishing duties that are not believed without sufficient evidence (Miller 49). It appears that Clifford considers apart from the costs involved in believing on insufficient evidence, the gains attached to such belief coupled with the benefits and costs of alternatives are vitiated. The extreme form of doubtful involves a cost-benefit analysis that work out to favor the avoidance of belief on elements of insufficient evidence.

According to James, Clifford demands that people believe things only on issues of sufficient evidence and does not require people to believe the things of conclusive evidence. There are several controversies raised against James' argument and the accompanying terminology. The argument is obscure on what life is about and why there is epistemic relevance. If the options of choice are based on the belief of various propositions, nothing can be forced although such options include judgment suspensions as viable alternatives. The Cliffordian replies that options are not availed in unsettled evidence (Clifford 89). James' argument also dwells on the irreversibility of tension and forceful considerations. A critical way to bring this out is continued deliberation of alternatives of the main decision that are irreversible. However, continued deliberation does not amount to a viable alternative of the forced decision. I find James' argument in the proposal as insufficient. While the components work towards cutting against points that James and Clifford agree, a choice between of the hypotheses can be settled through the evidence such as believing based on evidence. Accepting this point amounts to endorsing the rule of thinking that prevents people from acknowledging certain forms of truth unsupported by available evidence (Proudfoot 29).

The harm caused through the credulity by man cannot be confined based on fostered and credulous characters of other people. There is a need to have consequent support to evaluate false beliefs. According to James, an individual's Willingness to Believe offers defense to religious faith. However, James issues instances suggesting that the views have somewhat broader scope. James concludes that certain cases do not expressly permit the application of one's passion and non-rational nature in determining the subsequent beliefs. James does not make a direct appeal to the people's concern in terms of future happiness even though such arguments have various affinities. An option is categorized as living in case it is a constituent of a live hypothesis (Proudfoot 49).

Options are considered to be forced in case one requires choosing one or another hypothesis.…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Clifford, William. The Ethics of Belief and Other Essays. New York: Prometheus Books, 2008. Print

Proudfoot, Wayne. William James and a Science of Religions: Reexperiencing The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Print

Miller, Richard. Terror, Religion, and Liberal Thought. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010. Print

Cite this Document:

"Philosophical Argument By Clifford And James" (2014, November 14) Retrieved September 27, 2023, from

"Philosophical Argument By Clifford And James" 14 November 2014. Web.27 September. 2023. <>

"Philosophical Argument By Clifford And James", 14 November 2014, Accessed.27 September. 2023,

Related Documents
Kelly James Clark One of
Words: 2373 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 13351998

He states that "there is never, within Scripture itself, an attempt to prove the existence of God; if proving God's existence were demanded of all believers; one might expect to find at least one of the believers in the Bible discussing theistic arguments." (Clark, unknown). However, Clark does acknowledge that Scripture contains many examples of God proving that He, rather than the false Gods worshipped by people during biblical

Job Rhetorical Reading of Book
Words: 4960 Length: 10 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 33044964

The two notions are not comprised in one definition, contrary to what is thought by all those who are confused, and there is nothing in common between the two except the name alone. The author relates this view to the realization that the goal of human existence is the attainment of the knowledge of God. It is through this knowledge that the secular and social world becomes to a great

Epicurus on the Fear of
Words: 1887 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Death and Dying  (general) Paper #: 60235995

Religion was also something that stood in the way of people's happiness in life because religion inflicted people with the fear of gods and of the afterlife. If one could only get over his or her own fear of death, then there was nothing that could stand in the way of pleasure in life. Individuals could achieve peace of mind, according to Epicurus, simply by maximizing their enjoyment while they