A limit of hypothetical reasoning

Hypotheses require detachment.

Not all beliefs allow detachment.

Not every belief can be a hypothesis.

Detachment is the ability to be indifferent about the truth of something, to adopt a “wait and see” approach, to collect evidence on both sides of a question.

Example 1:

Religion and irreligion to not allow for detachment. If I’m detached from the truth of Islam then I am ipso facto an infidel. There’s a whole zoo of Infidels: openminded, seeking, hostile, lukewarm, irenic, indifferent (as one of these infidels I’m not quite sure how to describe myself, though certainly not “seeking”) but for all our variety there is still not the possibility of detachment from the truth of Islam since, so long as one is weighing the evidence between Islam and the infidels he is himself an infidel. Obviously this is true of Catholicism, Agnosticism, or Atheism understood as the absence of belief.

More Generally:

What’s true of religion is true of other things too.  I can’t very well tell my wife that I’m presently considering whether to continue our marriage vows or break them since to adopt such a stance already violates my vows. The same goes for anything you take a vow to, like a nation or the military.  Wherever your relation to another is a matter of fidelity: God, secular ideals, country, ideology, spouse, sexual freedom, children, equality, military service, Anti-Ancien régime humanism… in none of these is one allowed the detachment required for hypothesis or opinion.

So the general axiom is detachment is not possible in matters of fidelity. As a consequence we can’t have opinions or frame hypotheses about these things. If openmindedness is adopting a hypothetical stance, not all our beliefs allow for openmindedness.

So we hit again the question of the relation of faith (i.e. fidelity) and reason. In the relation of philosophy and theology much of this border was pretty well defined in the middle ages, but in our own time the relation between theology and history looks like the wild west.

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