Presuming to know

Philosophical discourse is not as it seems to the onlooker. Outwardly it appears to revolve around versions of belief; but in reality the whole point is to get beyond belief, which is why beliefs are seen to feature so prominently.

In fact it is impossible to progress philosophically until belief is examined by tackling the presumptions underlying what we think and know, ultimately by facing up to the extent of our presumptions behind everything – thereby to discover something paradoxical – that we can know nothing about the world that does not depend on making presumptions, but that we prefer to think otherwise, to believe in certainties for the sake of ‘making progress’.

Meanwhile, for those who believe that knowing is a matter of what they know, the unexamined life, or the version examined by others, remains their preferred choice.

Mike Laidler

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