-“You can never prove that___”. Really? We could never develop some insight or set of insights so that ____ followed?

-Argumentative proof is the development of insight by things like formal structures, analogies, experiments, meditation, commentary, etc. No, not “etc.” but ad infinitum. 

-Arguments have many more applications than to convince others, but even when we view them in this restricted sense, we wouldn’t want our best arguments to convince people on a first hearing. One would have to be pretty shallow to change his life every time he became convinced of something.

-The guy on the street complaining about what can be proven tends to be playing out social taboos. All the usual ways of proving we should be skeptical about things (widespread disagreement, intractability of objections, the varieties of belief over history etc.) are too broad and prove that we should be skeptical not just about religious truths but about human equality, the rigor of science, the greatness of ones own nation, etc. We think we have insight here but intractable problems there when in fact we have nothing but taboos which, from the point of view of actual evidence, are applied randomly.

-I’ve written contradictory things about the value of taboos. This much is clear: they can never be separated from what is considered rational in concrete fact. We would prefer to figure out what is reasonable from some non-taboo viewpoint and then enforce the taboos from there, but this assumes some mind that is capable of coming to the truth without the taboos.



  1. October 15, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I would say that “all the usual ways of proving that we should be skeptical about things,” are not too broad, but that they do indeed prove we should be skeptical in all of those matters, namely in the sense that if we want to believe the truth about them, we need to be much more careful than people are on average.

  2. thenyssan said,

    October 15, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    I love harping on your love-hate with taboos.

    They seem to be a permanent feature of The World, and share the same strengths (theophanous) and weaknesses (sin) that would imply. Taboo might be more World than just about anything else.

    Not sure what a redeemed one would look like though.

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