The Ethics Of Belief Clifford Analysis

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Philosophy In the short essay, “The Ethics of Belief,” by William K. Clifford, he gives guidelines for cases in which one should not believe what someone else tells them. Clifford believes that it is wrong to believe without sufficient evidence. Clifford infers that one believes what a person says based on how much people admire them. Clifford used the example of the prophet Mohammad, and the spiritual teacher, Buddha, to back up his argument. With the example of Gods prophet Mohammad, he believed that there is one God only. And if everyone believes in that God, they will always be happy, and if not, they would live in misery. His teachings were so admirable, and his rules were so accepted and obeyed, that it was hard to doubt this man who was so noble and great. On the other hand, Buddha claims…show more content…
One or the other had to have been delusional about their teachings. Clifford questions who was delusional, or if they both were. There is no evidence that Mohammad or Buddha knew what the truth was, and how does one know that Mohammad was not dreaming or hallucinating about the angel Gabriel appearing to him, and that his visit to paradise was not only a dream. Based on this, Clifford concludes that the greatness of someone should not give us reason to believe their truths. Clifford uses another example about the prophet to support his argument. Clifford places himself in Mohammad’s place. Suppose he receives information from a higher being, just as Muhammad had, which found to be correct. He will not know if he was hallucinating about the visitor, or if the visitor was actually real. But if it was an actual real visitor giving information that is found to be truthful, then this would be grounds for believing him in the future “as to such matters as fall within human powers of verification.” Though, this would not be grounds for believing his testimony on any other
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