Mar 31, 2010

Lets talk about beliefs and rationality

Hi everyone,
Its been a long break and I have been quite busy and am sure so were you all. But now its time to brush up our skills of reading-for-understanding, chunking & analysing, brainstorming & finally writing with coherenece and clarity for proving a point. So much to do and so little time ...
So here's the assignment. Read lectures 6 & 7 from the MIT open courseware course on Problems in Philosophy at You may read the previous stuff as well if you like. Hence answer the following by about 3rd of April. Please answer precisely to the question and dont give a lump-sum answer.
  1. How is pragmatism different from evidentialism in the context of beliefs? Which side are you on?
  2. Is explicit ideology inevitably "distorted"? Is there always an "imposed" ideology? Is such imposition "intentional"? Is it possible for individuals to "see through" the distortions of their group's ideology?
  3. What determines the shape and content of a group's ideology? How do we change existing ideologies?
  4. Is science ideological, or is it a route to undistorted understanding?
You may ignore the racism & morality section. You may take further information from Wikipedia or the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.
With this I wish you a very HAPPY BRAIN-BASHING VACATION...
Send me your email ID's here as a comment and I will call you to author the blog. Hence you may write properly and not in the short comment space.


  1. Aswathi

  2. Aakanksha

  3. Kevin J.

  4. Sir
    My ID is

    1. Evidentialism states that we are justified in holding beliefs only if we have sufficient evidence to back them while Pragmatism states that what is important is analyzing the practical consequences of our beliefs. Moreover, Pragmatism says that we are free to choose our beliefs (on the basis of our passions) if the evidence is not compelling.
    I side with none of these as I believe both of them suffer from limitations. Example-
    (a). I believe in aliens.
    Evidentialism would require me to produce some evidence. If I have no evidence, how do I justify my belief? I can argue that my belief in (a) is very unlikely to have any bad consequences and thus Pragmatism comes to my rescue.
    But how do we settle beliefs which present no rational evidence and are likely to have bad consequences (like racism)? If we strengthen the Pragmatic principle to withhold belief until we possess evidence (like evidentialism), then we would miss out on its many advantages.

  5. ketan chskar



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