Sunday, July 10, 2005

Off-site Essay: The Ethics of Belief

What we should think of a shipowner who has an old ship in need of repairs. The captain, through a variety of rationalizations, manages to sincerely convince himself that the ship is seaworthy and leases her to a group of immigrants who, alas, go down in the ocean. Should we condemn him? Should we have condemned him even if the ship had safely reached it destination?

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you'll have noticed that I have a shameless tendency to inflict philosophy upon the masses.

Let's face it, philosophy has a bad reputation. The impression that people have is that it is dry, dull and, too often, a pointless exercise is sophistry. I don't know if my own amature efforts have done much to dispell this impression. This week, for the offsite essay, I thought that I'd provide a link to a philosophical essay that I believe should.

The essay in question was written by William K. Clifford back in 1877; however, the subject of the essay, which is titled The Ethics of Belief, is, I think, perfectly relevant to modern audiences. The essay is also thoroughly readable and filled with interesting examples.

I hope that you will find it thought-provoking and enjoyable.

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