culture philosophy

arrogance, agnosticism & holding a view

It is not arrogant to think that you are right and that someone else is wrong; in other words, to hold a view.  Arrogance comes not from holding a view (neither from holding it strongly!), but from holding it with a posture of self-importance and (to coin a term) ‘from-on-high-ness’.

I think I’m right about this, too!

After all, we all think we’re right, don’t we?  I mean, who holds a view that they know to be wrong!?  If you knew you were wrong, you’d either change your mind, or refrain from holding any particular view.

And (without delving too far [for me at least] into epistemology!) it is not ‘agnostic’ to merely refrain from holding a view.  Indeed, it could be precisely because of some knowledge ‘x’, which you take as pretty trustworthy, that you refrain from holding view ‘y’.

  • There is the  lower-case ‘agnosticism’ (that all humans necessarily have about at least some things) which says “I don’t know…”
  • …and there is the upper-case ‘Agnosticism’ (which few, if any in my view [!!], can sustain without stumbling upon something they think they know) which says “Nobody can know…”

So when it comes to conversations about various topical topics, if someone has a view and the other is ‘agnostic’, they are not automatically humble, patient and peaceful and the other arrogant, impatient and divisive.  One can be a very arrogant, impatient and divisive brand of agnostic.  I know some.  And one can hold a view with great conviction while still being humble, patient and peaceful.  I try (and fail often) to do this with any strong views I hold.

philosophy science

science thought…

Whether one likes it or not, and whether one considers it anti-science or not (I insist it’s not anti-science in the least in my mind), it occurs to me that the scientific project is inexhaustible.  Depending on one’s view of how valuable scientific knowledge is, one will either feel discouraged or like the proverbial kid in a candy store – I prefer the latter.  The world, stuff, ‘nature’, etc. is just that interesting.