instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, March 09, 2007

Sure and it's a problem

Veritas features a brief post on the certitude of the anti-certitudians.

Anticertitudianarianism is, or would be if it were a word, the belief that it's necessarily bad to be certain. I have run into a couple of adherents, and they did genuinely seem to believe that it is better to be wrong and think you might be wrong than to be right and not think you might be wrong.

As it happens, the two people I particularly have in mind both brought forth endless words (though in quite different styles). That may not be entirely coincidental. If you can never be certain, if there's always doubt, then there will be no end to your words. There is, literally, no conclusion to reach.

There are some problems with thinking it's necessarily bad to be certain, with preferring the process of reasoning to its purpose. One of the more subtle problems is that it sets up anti-certitudians to be duped by those who profess, "I may be wrong," but don't actually believe it. "He's my kind of people," they may find themselves saying, "no doubt about it."