William K. Clifford

Originally published in Contemporary Review, 1877. Reprinted in Lectures and Essays (1879). Presently in print in The Ethics of Belief and Other Essays (Prometheus Books, 1999).


To sum up:—

We may believe what goes beyond our experience, only when it is inferred from that experience by the assumption that what we do not know is like what we know.

We may believe the statement of another person, when there is reasonable ground for supposing that he knows the matter of which he speaks, and that he is speaking the truth so far as he knows it.

It is wrong in all cases to believe on insufficient evidence; and where it is presumption to doubt and to investigate, there it is worse than presumption to believe.

Read the essay at the link below:

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks, Steph, for this lead to William Clifford.  I included it on my Amazon wish list and will look for other quotes by him to make sure I want to buy it. It looks very promising so far. It appears to be a good add to my research on ethics. 

Thank you Joan - I am always enjoying learning new things. I am glad I could help you.


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