, in regards to my examples from the original post, you say that the mother and wife may be optimistic about their relatives based on past experience with them
. But like a defense attorney using character witnesses or a prosecutor using prior events (i.e. showing the the accused has a history of committing similar acts), that would be evidence. In which case the wife/mother's optimistic belief would be based on evidence rather than faith. You go on to say that maybe the hold the optimistic belief because they have so much to lose if the relatives are actually untrustworthy
, but that would be a wishful thinking fallacy on the part of the wife/mother, and to knowingly base a belief on such a fallacy would be self-delusion; would it not? Perhaps, that's your point since you mention a way that "trust in god" is based on "naive optimism." I take naive optimism
to be another way of saying wishful thinking
, you claim that all or at least most of our beliefs are delusional. I would agree only to the existent most of "our beliefs" are based merely on faith as opposed to evidence. If a belief is based on evidence, then I do not see how it can be delusional let alone self-delusional, since delusion is more than simply believing a proposition that happens to be false. In contrast, if a proposition is believed by one despite the evidence indicating the opposite, then one is believing it out of faith. Moreover, we both indeed agree that that is an instance of self-delusion.
, can you please explain the definitional difference between 'non-blind faith' and 'blind faith' as you mean the terms in post #4
, in regard to your example, you say you may believe your friend didn't steal based on your knowledge of his personal integrity
, but your knowledge of his personal integrity is evidence, so you would be basing your beliefs on evidence not on faith. Indeed, you wouldn't be delusional but would be making a reasonable guess based on the evidence available to you at time; a belief you would change if you became aware of enough contrary evidence. You go on to say, "if I express faith in X when there's no evidence for it and compelling evidence against it then I may be thought to be self-delusional..." That is my position and answers the question I asked in the OP.
Zettel_ wrote:Also, "to have faith in" is sometimes closely related to "to hope that".
, you seem to me to be contending that a person can only self-delusional when they believe something that has been proven
false. Am I understanding you correctly? If so, then I have to flat out disagree. Consider my examples in the OP, there is neither proof that the faithful mother or proof that the faithful wife are wrong, but are they not self-delusional considering all the evidence that both their respective beliefs are wrong and the utter lack of evidence that either of their respective beliefs is true? Consider a schizophrenic believes she won the lottery, but I secretly slip a winning lottery ticket into her pocket, is she not delusional simply because her non-evidence-based belief happens to be true? Does diagnosing her as delusional really depend on proving she hasn't won the lottery or merely demonstrating that her belief is in grave contrast to all available evidence albeit evidence that is slightly short of proof?
, I appreciate your comments, but do you have any arguments or evidence to backup your assertions?
Zettel_ wrote:In any case, I think this whole discussion is hamstrung by the vagueness of the concept of "having faith".
I thought my OP was clear in distinguishing the two concepts of 'believing something because of the evidence' as opposed to 'believing something in spite of the evidence and defending the belief by calling it faith
.' I'm sorry if that wasn't clear enough to provide the context to avoid equivocating the word faith. To clear that up, let me say I am using this definition of faith taken from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
: "Faith: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence." That is the only definition from that dictionary that seems to apply in the epistemological context
of this discussion.
Spectrum wrote:If she sees the husband naked with the another woman in a room, and insist he is not cheating, it may not be delusional if her intuition and other experiences are strong. It may turned out the husband was kidnap and place there for a blackmail plot.
Firstly, if her belief is based on 'other experiences' it may indeed be based on evidence. Again, I would compare this to the use of character witnesses and prior conduct in court trials, e.g. the fact that a person accused of committing a robbery in 2010 is known to have committed a robbery in 2009 and a couple robberies in 2008 could be evidence (albeit very weak evidence on its own) that he is guilty of the accused crime.
Secondly, if we are judging whether a person is reasonable or unreasonable or delusional or not delusional, I don't think it matters what turns out to be true or what we know to be true based on the evidence available to us. Rather it depends on how much their belief makes sense based on the evidence available to them at the time. A nutty unreasonable conspiracy theorist's crazy claim may turn out to be true, but that doesn't mean he is reasonable or that the process that caused him to believe the conspiracy theory was reasonable. A schizophrenic may hallucinate a murder occurring and call the police, if it turns out as a a one-in-a-billion coincidence an almost identical murder occurred at the same time nearby that doesn't mean the schizophrenic isn't schizophrenic or his hallucination wasn't a hallucination.
, you claim that "not in all cases is faith self-delusion." Can you give me some examples of cases in which one believes something not based on the evidence but based on what they call faith that is not self-delusional?
, you say faith is more synonymous with optimism than delusion. I'll assume you do not intend to create a false dichotomy, i.e. obviously there is a such a thing as optimistic delusion or delusional optimism. This is heavily related to the wishful thinking fallacy. Although, I wouldn't say someone is basing a belief on faith as opposed to evidence when the person accidentally
commits a fallacy such as the wishful thinking fallacy. Nor would I call such a person delusional. In contrast, if the person knows they are committing a fallacy or otherwise if the person realizes the evidence is to the contrary of their optimistic belief but still chooses
to believe the optimistic thing despite a lack of evidence for it and/or the presence of strong evidence against, then is that not self-delusion and is that self-delusion not what a person is referring to when he or she explains a belief by saying something like, 'I realize there is no evidence for it and that there is evidence to the contrary, but I just have [optimistic] faith'
, I am interested in your assertion that self-delusion is the externalization of a internal faith in one's own memory. I am particularly interested in the issue of comparing brain firings as you mentioned. Can you please post some sources?
Do you know of any particular passages by Kierkegaard that address the issue of delusion?
I'm not sure what your comments about theists or "anti-theists" have to do with this discussion. The OP does not deal with religion or religious belief. Even the examples in the OP of faith do not deal with anything religious, but rather with infidelity and job interviews. Your quoting of definitions, that don't seem to me to apply in the context of the OP or almost any particularly epistemological context, hasn't helped me answer the questions asked in the OP such as: "If someone claims to believe something merely out of faith, is that person simply admitting to being in denial? If a person believes a proposition because the person believes the personally known evidence indicates that the proposition is true, then the person does not believe it out of faith but rather because of the evidence. [...] when a person genuinely admits that they do not have enough evidence to support their position, what is that? We may call it faith, but is it not self-delusional?"
Incidentally, I think this definition from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
fits best in a epistemological context: "Faith: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence."
Meleagar wrote:Since it seems that the point (and the point of other posts here) was to equate "faith" with "belief in god"...
What about the OP made you think that?
rainchild wrote:Since I don't have a working crystal ball, I do not know[...]
But believing something without knowing it is not necessarily faith. (That is in the epistemological sense of the word faith which I think is adequately defined by The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
as "Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.") There can be a lot of evidence that something is true but not proof; thus one can believe something based on the evidence as opposed to on faith but still without knowing and absolutely proving that thing. Consider OJ Simpson's trial. There was quite a lot of evidence given that he was guilty, but the jury believed it still wasn't enough evidence to amount to proof. Yet many people believe OJ was guilty, not out of faith, but because of the evidence.
rainchild wrote:The woman who discovers strange woman's underwear in the master bedroom may have evidence that her husband is cheating on her, but what if her faith in her husband is later vindicated by the revelation that he cross-dresses?
As I told the others who made the point regarding later vindication
, I do not think that that really matters as to whether a person is reasonable or unreasonable or not and whether a belief is delusional, reasonable, unreasonable, etc. Consider this example: You buy a lottery ticket for $1 and then I say I have faith you will probably win even though the available evidence indicates you have about a 1 in a billion chance of winning; you say to me well if you think this lottery ticket is going to probably win millions of dollars then you wouldn't mind paying me $100 for it. Say I do pay you $100. And say you pull this same scam on a thousand other people. Now say out of sheer coincidence the ticket you sold me actually wins. Does that mean I made a smart or reasonable decision? Does that mean I was smarter than the other 1,000 people who fell for the same scam but didn't get unusually lucky and win by coincidence? Does that mean I am less delusional then those other fools because I got lucky after the fact? No of course not. Whether a person's belief or decision is reasonable or not reasonable or delusional or delusional depends on the evidence available to that person at that time, not on evidence or proof we find out after the fact or known to some other observer.