Faith - Theory and practice of argumentation


Intuition is close to faith - a deep, sincere, emotionally charged belief in the validity of some position or concept.

Faith forces you to take some positions for authentic and proven without criticism and discussion. Like intuition, faith is subjective. In different epochs, the object of sincere faith was diametrically opposed views: what everyone once believed was sacred, after a time the majority seemed to be a naive prejudice. Faith affects not only the mind, but emotions; it often captures the whole soul and means not only intellectual conviction, but also psychological disposition. Unlike faith, intuition, even when it is visually meaningful, affects only the mind. If intuition is the direct discretion of truth and good, then faith is an immediate attraction to what is true or good.

Faith is the opposite of doubt and is different from knowledge. If a person believes in any statement, he believes it to be true on the basis of considerations that seem sufficient to him.

Depending on the manner in which faith is justified, one distinguishes rational belief, which presupposes some grounds for its adoption, and an irrational faith that serves as an excuse itself : the very fact of faith is considered sufficient to justify it.

Self-sufficient faith is sometimes called the "blind". For example, a religious belief in a miracle does not require any justification for a miracle apart from the very act of believing in it.

Neither rational, nor even irrational faith guarantees truth. For example, if someone firmly believes that there is life on Mars, then it does not follow from this that it is really so.

Sometimes knowledge is defined as justified, true faith: a person knows some statement if he believes in a given statement and it is true regardless of his belief in it. By this definition, knowledge is reduced to faith and truth, but it hardly makes the concept of knowledge more clear.

There is an opinion that faith, first of all religious faith, has nothing to do with knowledge, since faith and knowledge belong to complementary, but not comparable, sides of reality.

For example, the physicist M. Planck was convinced that religion is therefore connected with natural science, that they relate to completely different aspects of reality. V. Heisenberg testifies to this in his memoirs.

Natural science deals with the objective material world. It sets the task of formulating correct statements about objective reality and understanding the connections existing in it. Religion is concerned with the world of values ​​and is talking about what should be. In natural science it is said about the verb and the unfaithful; in religion - about good and evil, about value and not of value. Natural science is the basis of a technically expedient action, religion is the basis of ethics. Therefore, it seems that the conflict between these two spheres, which began in the eighteenth century, rests on a misunderstanding that arises when we interpret the images and comparisons of religion as natural-science statements, which, of course, is meaningless. Natural science in a certain sense is the way we approach the objective side of reality, as we understand it. On the contrary, religious faith is an expression of a subjective decision in which we establish values ​​for ourselves, ordering our own behavior in accordance with them.

W. Heisenberg himself, on the occasion of this distinction between objective and subjective, truth and values, observes: "... I am not at ease with this division. I doubt that human societies can live with such a clear distinction between knowledge and faith for a long time. "

This view is shared by the physicist V. Pauli: "The complete separation between knowledge and faith is, undoubtedly, only a palliative for a short time. For example, in the Western cultural sphere, in the not so distant future, a moment may come when the comparisons and images of the former religion will cease to possess convincingness even for the common people; I'm afraid that then in the shortest possible time, the old ethics will collapse and so terrible things will happen that we can not even imagine them now. So I do not see much sense in Planck's philosophy, even if it is logically sustained and even if I respect the resulting life-setting. "

The correlation of knowledge and faith is largely unclear. It is obvious only that they are essentially intertwined, they often support each other and their separation and referring to different sides of reality that are not in contact with each other can only be temporary and conditional.

Knowledge is always reinforced by the intellectual sense of the subject. Assumptions do not become part of science until those who do not express them and make them believe.

Like any intellectual action, a sincere statement always carries an emotional load, too, writes M. Polani. "With his help, we try to convince, convince those to whom we address our speech."

Faith is not only for individual statements, but for holistic concepts or theories. This is especially evident when we move from the old theory to the new one. The main difficulties of their comparison and choice between them are associated with different belief systems behind them.

Different belief systems use concepts between which it is impossible to establish common logical relationships (inclusion, exclusion, intersection); force their supporters to see things in many ways in different ways, dictate different perceptions; include different methods of substantiation and assessment of the proposed provisions.

It is precisely these features that characterize the relationship between the old theory and the new theory that comes to replace it, so that the transition from recognizing one theory to recognizing another is analogous to the "act of treatment" in a new faith and can not be carried out step by step on the basis of logic and neutral experience. As the history of science shows, this transition occurs either immediately, although not necessarily in one step, or does not happen at all during the life of contemporaries.

The Copernican doctrine acquired only a few supporters for almost a century after the death of N. Copernicus. The work of I. Newton did not receive universal recognition, especially in continental countries

Europe, for more than 50 years after the appearance of "Started". Priestley never accepted the oxygen theory of combustion, just as Lord Kelvin did not accept the electromagnetic theory, etc.

M. Planck noted that "the new scientific truth paves the way for triumph not by convincing opponents and forcing them to see the world in a new light, but rather because its opponents sooner or later die and grow a new generation that is used to it."

Here are some words about the "appeals to the new theory" that Charles Darwin wrote at the end of the book "The Origin of Species": "Although I am fully convinced of the truth of the views set forth in this book in the form of a brief review, I do not in any way hope to convince experienced naturalists whose minds are full of a lot of facts that they have been considering for many years from the point of view directly opposite mine ... But I look with confidence for the future, for a young emerging generation of naturalists who will be impartial weigh both sides of the issue. "

Supporters of competing theories conduct their research in different worlds. Therefore, "two groups of scientists see things in different ways, although they observe them from the same position and look in the same direction," writes T. Kuhn. "At the same time, we can not say that they can see what they want." Both groups look at the world, and what they look at does not change. But in some areas they see different things, and see them in different relationships to each other. That is why a law that one group of scientists can not even detect is sometimes sometimes intuitively clear to another. "

From the standpoint of existing methodological standards, the new theory usually seems worse than the old: it does not fully correspond to most of the facts, solves fewer problems, its technical apparatus is less developed, its concepts are less precise, etc. To develop its potential capabilities, you need a determination to accept it and begin to develop, but a decision of this type can be based only on faith.

So, the transition from the old theory to the new one is associated with a change in the belief system. However, this does not mean that scientists can not be convinced of the need to change their way of thinking. Argumentation is present here, but it is not only not demonstrative, but it does not even have a uniform and unified form.

A certain system of beliefs is at the basis of not only a separate theory, but the science itself as a whole. This system sets the preconditions for scientific theorizing and determines what distinguishes scientific thinking from ideological, utopian or artistic thinking. The totality of the intellectual prerequisites of science is blurred, much of it is of the character of "implicit knowledge." This primarily explains the fact that it is difficult for science to unequivocally distinguish from what is not science, and to define the scientific method by an exhaustive list of rules.

The premise, based on implicit, blurred beliefs is the thinking of the whole historical era. The totality of these beliefs determines the style of thinking of this era , its intellectual consensus. The style of thinking is almost not realized by the era in which it dominates, and is subjected to a certain amount of comprehension and criticism only in subsequent epochs. The transition from the style of thinking of one era to the style of thinking of the other is a spontaneous historical process that takes a rather long period.

The possibilities of argumentation are limited even in the spider, especially during periods of crisis of old theories and the emergence of new ones. These opportunities become even when trying to separate scientific, theoretical thinking from practical or artistic. Argumentation becomes almost powerless when an era tries to determine those general beliefs that determine the appearance of its thinking, its worldview and worldview.

The reference to firm faith, a strong conviction of the correctness of any provision, can be used as an argument in favor of adopting this provision. However, the argument for faith seems convincing and powerful, as a rule, only to those who share this faith or are inclined to accept it. Another argument from the faith may seem subjective or almost empty: you can believe in the most ridiculous statements.

Nevertheless, as L. Wittgenstein observes, it is possible that the argument to faith is almost the only one. This is the situation of radical dissent, irreconcilable "riots". In this case, it is impossible to turn a dissident by reasonable arguments and it remains only to hold fast to his faith and declare contradictory views as heretical, insane, etc. Where reasoning and argument are powerless, the expression of a firm, persistent conviction may eventually play a role. If the argument to the faith will force the dissenter to join the opposite beliefs, this will not mean, of course, that these beliefs on some intersubjective grounds are preferable.

The argument for faith in rare cases appears explicitly. Usually it is implied, and only the weakness or indistinctness of the directly cited arguments indirectly shows that they are followed by an implicit argument to the faith.

For example, the medieval commentator Dionysius of Carthusian so reveals the idea that darkness is the innermost essence of God: "The more the spirit is approaching the super-visible divine Light, the more fully revealed to it your inaccessibility and inscrutability, and when it enters into darkness, then soon and completely disappear all the names and all knowledge. But in fact it is for the spirit to know You: to behold the unseen; and the more clearly he sees it, the more luminous he sees you. To be able to become this super-light darkness - we pray for You, O blessed Trinity, and that through invisibility and ignorance we can see and know You, for you are beyond all appearance and all knowledge. And the eyes of those only are, which, all tangible and all conceivable, and all created, as well as oneself, having overcome and rejected, entered into darkness, in it you truly abide. "

Here, only one clear argument, understandable to a medieval audience, is a reference to authority. The Bible says: "And he made darkness his covering." Another, implicit argument is the argument to belief: to someone who already believes that God is unrepresentable and ineffable, the light turning into darkness ("darker darkness") and refusal of any knowledge ("perception and knowledge through invisibility and ignorance ").

Sometimes the argument to faith is masked specifically to create the impression that the credibility of the argument depends only on itself, and not on the beliefs of the audience.

Here are two examples.

Thomas Aquinas tried to strictly separate what can be proved with the help of reason, and what requires for its proof the authority of Holy Scripture. B. Russell reproaches St. Foma in insincerity: the conclusion to which he must come is determined by him in advance.

"Let's take, for example, the question of the indissolubility of marriage. The indissolubility of marriage is defended by St. Foma on the basis of the fact that the father is necessary in the upbringing of children: (a) because he is more intelligent than the mother, (b) because, with more power, he will better cope with the task of physical punishment. To this the modern teacher could object that (a) there is no reason to consider men as a whole more reasonable than women, (b) that punishments requiring great physical strength are generally undesirable in upbringing. A modern educator could go even further and point out that in the modern world, fathers generally do not take any part in the upbringing of children. "

However, notes B. Russell, these arguments are unlikely to convince St. Thomas or his followers: "No follower of St. Thomas will not refuse on this basis from the belief in lifelong monogamy, because the actual foundations of this faith are not at all those referred to in its justification. "

Another example is the arguments by which Aquinas proves the existence of God. All of them, except for the reference to teleology, found in inanimate nature, rest on the alleged impossibility of the existence of a series that does not have the first term.

But any mathematician knows that this is by no means impossible; an example refuting the premise of St. Foma, is a series of negative integers, ending with the number "minus one". "But in this case too," Russell concludes, "it is unlikely that there will be a Catholic who leaves faith in God, even if he is convinced of the inadequacy of the argument of St. Foma; he will come up with new arguments or find refuge in Revelation ".

In both examples, the main argument is a hidden appeal to the audience's strong faith.

Therefore, the argument to faith is not so rare and not as reprehensible as it may seem. He meets in science, especially during periods of its crises. It is inevitable in discussing many common issues, for example, the question of the future of mankind or the question of the prerequisites for theoretical thinking. The argument for faith is common in communicating people who adhere to some common belief system. Like all contextual arguments, he needs a certain audience, sympathetically perceiving it. In another audience, it can be not only unconvincing, but also simply inappropriate.

The argument for faith in its time was thoroughly compromised by the opposition of faith, primarily religious faith, to reason: "concrete reality" faith was placed above the "abstract truths of speculation". "I believe, in order to understand," declared Blessed Augustine and Anselm of Canterbury in the Middle Ages. Christian theologian Tertullian strength of faith measured precisely by its incommensurability with reason: it is easy to believe in what is confirmed by reasoning; but a particularly strong faith is needed to believe in what is opposing and contrary to reason. According to Tertullian, only faith is able to make a logically unprovable and ridiculous: "The Son of God is crucified; we are not ashamed, for we should be ashamed. And the Son of God died; this is quite reliable, because it is not appropriate. And after the burial He rose again; it is certain, for it is impossible & quot ;. But already at the beginning of the XII century. philosopher and theologian P. Abelard set the mind and the understanding based on it before faith. "Maxim's maxim" I understand, to believe - the key to interpreting the relationship of mind and faith.

Unsubstantiated belief is an antipode of knowledge, to which it usually refers with distrust, and often with dislike. Those who advocate such a faith see its advantage in that it is strong and active, for it comes from the depths of the soul, embraces and expresses it all, while the theorizing mind is one-sided, superficial and unstable. But this argument is unconvincing. First of all, the most reliable truths, like the truths of mathematics and physics, are discovered precisely by reason, not by faith; we should not confuse faith, which requires, say, the recognition of miracles, with faith as a deep conviction that is the result of historical or life experience.

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