Single Idea 6587

[catalogued under 13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 3. Evidentialism / b. Evidentialism]

Full Idea

It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.

Gist of Idea

It is always wrong to believe things on insufficient evidence


William K. Clifford (works [1870]), quoted by Robert Fogelin - Walking the Tightrope of Reason Ch.4

Book Reference

Fogelin,Robert: 'Walking the Tightrope of Reason' [OUP 2004], p.98

A Reaction

This is a famous remark, but is in danger of being tautological unless one gives some account of what 'insufficient' means. If Clifford means the evidence must be conclusive, this is nonsense. 'Never believe if there is no evidence' is better.

Related Ideas

Idea 17770 Clifford's dictum seems to block our beliefs in morality, politics and philosophy [Bayne]

Idea 19517 Believing without a reason may just be love of your own fantasies [Locke]