It is my fundamental belief that fundamental beliefs do not need justification.

Note the consistency of this belief.  If it were otherwise, I would have to justify this belief.  The statement would still be true, but I would not be able to call this belief “fundamental“.

My fundamental beliefs may be different from fundamental beliefs of other people.  According to my fundamental belief, I cannot say or show anything to convince other people that my fundamental belief is true.  So, when someone asks me to show evidence for my fundamental beliefs, it simply tells me that the person does not understand what he is asking.  I don’t either.

When someone tells me that my fundamental beliefs have no evidence, proof, and such — I readily agree.  “It is as you say.”  There is no burden of proof.  There would be if I tried to convince anyone, but that would contradict my fundamental belief.

 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. — Matthew 27:11

In this blog, I would like to discuss beliefs — not to convince anyone, but to understand.  What do we believe?  Why?  How do we know what we know?  What about evidence and reason?  What about falsifiability and other attributes of science?  Feel free to agree or disagree and thanks for reading.

Daily prompt: Reason to believe

9 thoughts on “About

  1. You write well for someone who could be exhausted from soothing infants, overseeing teeth brushing and homework, fixing flat tires, and going to Costco 😉

    It is my fundamental belief that love is bigger. Than anything. Even my sleep deprived thoughts. Even Costco 🙂

  2. Fundamental beliefs are troubling to me, but the only way I see getting around it is to believe there is an infinite regress of justification for our beliefs (which seems bizarre) or to be a coherentist believing that we can build a set of beliefs that all justify each other in a coherent fashion kind of like a spider’s web. But coherentism is bizarre and disturbing as well given that we all see the difficulties involved with circular reasoning.

    I have a gut feel that most of us are some combination of foundationalist and coherentist.

    • This issue cannot be resolved. None of the options in the Munchhausen trilemma are satisfactory. I thought about this a lot. Here is another post on this same topic. It does not bother me anymore. I just accepted the reality – that this is one of the many paradoxes and inconsistencies that life presents to us.

      Moreover, I find the same problem with many other natural and social phenomena – some process starts as a random and very trivial event of a very small scale and then snowballs feeding on itself. Hurricanes, avalanches, even the universe itself seem to follow this path. Consider trust. When I think if I can trust money to a stranger, I need to base my decision on a previous experience with this stranger. But to have experience with a stranger, I need to trust him in something small first. Same problem in computer science. I once installed Linux From Scratch system on my computer. The idea is to compile all the software on my own machine. But how do you install a compiler? So, a lot of things in this world are bootstrapped. So, the fact that I have to bootstrap my own beliefs is not surprising to me.

      I think, once someone finds that his reasoning goes in circles, one should stop reasoning. Which, pretty much, amounts to accepting some axioms without further definitions and justifications. So, axiomatic and circular arguments play well with each other. The regressive argument, in my opinion, is a special case of circular argument – the circle is simply too large for us to notice.

      • Yeah, I agree that the 3 horns are unsatisfactory. I’ve learned to live with it but can’t say I wouldn’t like a resolution. Never thought of the regressive argument being circular – perhaps another paradox exists in that thought. 😉

        • It’s a geometrical analogy. The earth appears flat because it is too large for us to notice the curvature. A straight line is a circle with an infinite radius. Most of the natural processes are described by either exponential or cyclical harmonic functions which are closely related. Harmonic functions can be expressed using exponents of complex variables. So, discovering a circularity at the foundation of a belief system is not surprising to me.

  3. Oh, I see. I thought you were merging the 2 options together, but looks like you’re just saying that the infinitist option could theoretically end up being an illusion and end up being circular without us realizing it. The infinitist option is still a separate option though I guess, in the same way that numbers are infinite and not an illusion of circularity. Of course then I’m sure you’ll lead us down the numbers don’t exist path, but I’m getting a headache at this point. 😉

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