(855) 4-ESSAYS

Type a new keyword(s) and press Enter to search

Ethics of Belief--Clifford

            In "The Ethics of Belief," William Clifford claims it is "wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence." This claim shows that Clifford feels that beliefs should only be formed if there is absolute evidence in favor of this belief. He is expressing an attitude toward forming beliefs that forces the belief to not only be true but to be found in the proper way. Only when beliefs are "honestly earned by patient inquiring," rather than "stolen by listening to the voice of prejudice and passion" is the possession of these beliefs right and meaningful in any way. .
             Clifford uses examples to show this. In one of his examples, he speaks of a shipowner whose ship is in poor condition, yet the owner fools himself into believing that since the ship has made many voyages, it will complete this one. The emigrant ship went down and the owner collected his insurance money, thinking nothing else of it. Clifford says this man is very guilty for the death of those men on the ship, even though he truly believed the ship would complete the voyage. He formed this belief on nothing. He had no evidence to base a belief on; he only stifled his doubts. Clifford explains that even if the ship would not have sunk, the shipowner would still be just as guilty because he still made the choice to form a belief with insufficient evidence. .
             To again show this, Clifford points to an island where inhabitants teach some strange religious doctrine. A commission of those who do not believe in this religious doctrine investigate the others on charges of stealing children and forcing them to practice this religion. Clifford first says that these "agitators" in the commission could not get enough evidence to prove the accused were guilty and the rest of that country looked at these agitators as dishonorable and untrustworthy because they had nothing to base their beliefs of guilt on.

Essays Related to Ethics of Belief--Clifford

Got a writing question? Ask our professional writer!
Submit My Question