Analysis Of Clifford's Essay The Ethics Of Beliefs

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Clifford’s evidentialist argument has lingered for a long time but in writing this essay I hope to prove that non evidentialist philosophers had it right. First I would like to look at Clifford’s argument in support of evidentialist.in his essay “The Ethics of Beliefs”. In the essay he states that “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”[1] To prove himself right he gives an illustration of a ship-owner who sacrifices the expense of making sure that his ship was sea worthy and blindly places his faith on past events that proved that his ship could handle such a voyage. And also dismiss from his mind all ungenerous suspicions about the honesty of builders and contractors thus overcoming his doubt for his own personal gain. He then collects his insurance, when the ship fails to reach its destination and everyone has drowned at sea. In this illustration the ship owner is to blame. He had no right to believe in the soundness of his ship, based merely on his conviction and past experience with the vessel carried out without any incident.
In his second illustration the
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Some may argue that the feel the world through the other senses they have, which is true. Some parts of the world they feel, like the wind, some of it they hear, like music, some of it they touch, like stones, but others they are only told about. Like the sky. They cannot see it, or hear it, or feel it, or even touch it but they have the choice to believe whether or not it is there. This type of faith is what Pascal and James were addressing when they confronted Clifford’s argument. Belief does not go hand in hand with hard facts because something’s cannot be explained. For example the beginning of the universe. Scientist could go as far back as the big bang, but what caused it to happen? This lack of evidence of how we came into existence should have made Clifford question

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