Hi, I’m Kelly Schiffman.
嗨 我是Kelly Schiffman
I’m a PhD student in Yale University.
Today, I want to talk about justification.
A large part of thinking critically
involves asking oneself whether one’s beliefs and actions
are justified or not
But what is it for a belief or action to be justified?
What counts as a justification?
A full answer to this question involves
a lot of philosophical complexities.
But without going into those,
we can at least set out a few useful guidelines.
First of all,
examining whether one’s beliefs or actions are justified
involves stepping back,reflecting on them
and examining whether they are good,defensible reasons for taking that action
of holding that belief.
Such reasons are drawn from your experience of the world.
as well as your other beliefs.
Imagine, for example,
that I’m contemplating going to bed now
rather than staying up for an hour so that
I can talk to my mom on the phone as I promised I would
I ask myself whether I have good reason to do this.
I recognize that I’m really tired,
and I take that to be a consideration in favor of going to bed now.
But I also recognize that going to bed now would
involve breaking a promise and disappointing my mom,
both of which considerations give me even greater reason to stay up.
I therefore decide that I don’t have sufficient reason
or justification, to go to bed now.
In fact, I have decisive reason to
stay up for another hour and keep my promise.
A second useful thing to bear in mind
is that generally when we take someone’s belief or action to be justified,
we do not criticize her for having that belief
or for doing that action.
Consider, for example, someone who breaks into a house
to steal some jewelry just for the fun of it.
Here, we don’t think that the person’s joy justifies their doing this activity,
so we do criticize them for doing it.
with someone who’s lost in the middle
of a snow storm and needs to break into someone’s cabin
to get food and warmth for her and her family.
Otherwise they’ll die.
Here, the action seems justified.
She’s got good reason to do that.
We might think that
she owes the cabin owner compensation
but we therefore won’t criticize her for doing what she did.
I’ll leave you with one final thought regarding the
difference between justification and explanation.
Imagine I ask you why you believe in, say, karma.
假设我问你为什么相信 比如 因果报应
You say, “Well, “
“I believe in it because that’s what my parents taught me to believe in.”
Now, that’s an explanation for your belief.That explains why you have it.
But that fact doesn’t justify your belief in Karma.
It doesn’t provide a compelling reason for believing in it.
There are thus two ways
to understand my question
“Why do you believe in Karma?”
One way of reading it
is to think that I’m asking for an explanation of your belief.
Another way, though, is to read it as
asking for a justification for the belief.
It’s this latter sense we have in mind mostly
when reflecting critically on our beliefs
to see if they are justified or not.
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Hi, I’m Kelly Schiffman.