The Clifford and James philosophies on beliefs have various elements attached to their assertions. The most notable aspect of the ideology is the fact that beliefs exist when there is evidence. The theory emphasizes on the need for justification to support every belief. Numerous words have been used to describe the assertions. The most notable aspect is evidentialism. According to Clifford, a belief that is without evidence is immoral. In addition, Clifford indicated that when a belief lacks evidence it becomes irrational.
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Clifford’s and William’s Arguments
There are different arguments that dispute and contradict Clifford’s theory. William James contends that a belief should not be based on evidence alone. James has acknowledged the criticism leveled against Clifford. However, the theories from the two individuals are closely related.
For James, the aspect of believing in truth is a fact of his theory. In assessing the theory of Clifford, it is clear that Clifford has his theory based on the fear of error. I strongly believe that the theory, which is based on having sufficient evidence to support a belief, is not practical.
Thus, there are situations in which the belief does not require evidence. The Clifford theory seems to have generalized the belief. According to Clifford, beliefs dictate the individual’s behaviors in day-to-day activities. The beliefs of individuals are intertwined with the individual’s actions. From this notion, it is obvious that human beings may not do things depending on their beliefs. In some circumstances, room for doubt dictates that individuals should choose their actions depending on their doubts.
In situations whereby the belief conflicts with a doubt, doubt takes precedence over belief. According to Clifford, a single belief is linked to numerous beliefs. I think that the notion is overstretched and cannot be confirmed. In this case, significance of evidence in supporting a belief is required every time.
There are beliefs that have stood independently. The theory that a belief can be attached to those people who follow it is untrue. People can be living together or socially interacting but have different beliefs. The belief of a person may not affect the character of other people. I maintain that the argument asserting that a belief is held by a person in trust for the public is highly questionable because the public does not have beliefs. There are numerous misconceptions about beliefs as stated by Clifford.
On the other hand, in his literature to support the will to believe, William James noted that living is an option whereby one chooses, and the belief is guided by the option that one takes. He also maintained that there are situations that do not require choice, and a person is forced to make the choices.
I agree with William James’ concept regarding belief. However, there are claims that the person in question has extraordinary positive way of handling life rather than being forced to make decisions. The components he uses to support his ideology can be put together to come up with a clear position.
The notion on the belief by Clifford and James is not based on true evidence. There are types of beliefs that do not require any evidence. The notion that beliefs are interlinked is also not true because there are beliefs that stand independently. Therefore, there is a need to have common beliefs to avoid confusion. Therefore a room should be created to amend beliefs in order to match the prevailing conditions.